Gary Neville has been sacked by Valencia. This now seems inevitable: football, like church, is a results game, and failure to perform cannot continue for ever.
Questions are being asked about whether he can return as a pundit for Sky TV and how he is going to talk about tactics, having failed in Spain.
In the English Premier League, Aston Villa have been terrible this year and have just sacked their manager. But even if they had a world class manager like José Mourinho, Pep Guardiola or Neil Warnock, they would still be going down, because of bad decisions made again and again over many years. Villa could play 4-4-2, 4-5-1 or even a Double Diamond formation with Catenaccio and a false number 9, yet because their players just aren’t good enough, there would be no difference.
I’ve spoken before about how if the Mainstream Church was a football team, there would be people outside singing “Sack the Board” because of the relegation standard performance over many years. But should they want to sack the manager/preacher?
There’s a similar idea that if you just get a new person in, they’ll be able to fix what the previous one couldn’t. If you just get the right person, then everything else will follow. Unfortunately it isn’t true, especially if there are fundamental underlying problems which need to be confronted.
Today a friend of mine posted the text below on her wall.
It is a standard Protestant idea, that if the preaching is right, everything else will follow. Just Preach the Gospel is all you need to do. The corollary to this, is that if the church is declining, then there must be something wrong with the preaching.
I’ve preached in growing churches and declining churches, and I can assure you, I used the same sermons.
There are some congregations who would listen impassively, even if Billy Graham was their minister.
Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge the cognitive dissonance which inoculates against the gospel, and to admit that the new person might not be able to fix the unfixable. Perhaps we should try a different approach? It might not work, but it could hardly be worse……..