If you have been in a cave for the past four weeks, then you have not heard but Lebron James is a basketball player. In fact, he is the most sought after player in a long time. He played for his home team, the Cleveland Cavs, for seven years and his contract expired. As a free agent, he had several offers from all around the league. It was quite the hoopla. While the World Cup was going on (the most watched sporting event in the world) I could not get highlights on ESPN because everyone was speculating "where will Lebron go?"
This 'drama' reached it's apex last Thursday when on an hour long special James declared that he would be leaving his beloved Cavs and head to the Miami Heat.
People reacted as they do.
I was thinking about all this and how it hit me was how much the decision feels like what I am in conversation with my young clergy peers about.
Let me explain.
"King James", as he is called by media and fans, turned down more money and even better teams to play with the Heat. Let me rephrase that, Lebron turned down money to play with friends.
The NBA is a league built around individuals. Jordan. Shaq. Dirk. Kobe. It is known as the "superstar" model. That is, get a "superstar" and your team will go far. Because lets face it one superstar on a team of 5 makes a HUGE difference. So teams go after these superstars. The NBA markets the stars. Show me a time which you saw a team picture of an NBA team other than when they just won the championship and I will show you a picture of the year 1951 and all the players are Anglo.
Lebron moved directly counter to the entire leagues push get a "superstar" to lead a team to the championship and joined up with a team of stars. Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade and Lebron James are all friends. They all wanted to play basketball together. They all were willing to forgo the whole 'superstar' thing and take a pay cut in order to work on a team.
Many of my young clergy peers are tired to churches pushing the superstar model. Olsteen. Moore. Jakes. Graham. Warren. I would be interested to know if most people know what the name of the church (team) these people are connected to. They are superstars and people like superstars.
However, many of my friends in ministry are tired of super-stardom. We, like Lebron, desire to work on a team. We want not only other clergy to let their egos die but also for laity to be willing to take the lead at times. We desire a team of stars not superstars.
It is my hope that the Heat have success and fun as they work together to accomplish tier goal.
I have the same Hope for the Church.