How Track Athletes Compare to Church Members

In the spirit of the olympics, here are some thoughts about different types of track athletes and church members.  Back in the old days, I used to run hurdles and the 400 meter, so I really love track.  I have noticed some common traits and characteristics from the different track events.

In Track:  These are the prima donna’s of the sport.   Have you seen how cocky and arrogant they have been in these Olympics?  Although they talk big, they constantly struggle with injuries and with living up to the expectations.   They are able to go incredibly fast for very short periods of time, and then they love to talk about what they did to anybody and everybody.  Forgot about them working as part of a team.  Just look to the relays as an example this year.  They’re in it for themselves.

In Church:  These are the members who constantly remind you how valuable they are to your church.  They talk big, but when it comes down to actually helping, they often have an excuse for why they can’t be there.  When they do help, they show that they have the ablity to really make a difference, but then they spend the next month reminding everyone of what they just did.  These people typically won’t help unless they are the one in charge.  Forget working as a team, other people just slow them down.

In Track:  Hurdlers are analytical.  They constantly watch their technique looking for little things to improve.  They’re fast, but they are also precise.  They are also not afraid to practice and do things over and over again.  They are typically quiet as well.  They let their actions speak louder than words.

In Church:  These are the people who are constantly looking for ways to improve.  They notice when the floors need sweeping.  They notice when the words aren’t syncronized between the screen and what you are singing.  They even notice when you start a minute late.  But they want to do things with excellence and they aren’t afraid to improve.  When mistakes happen, they believe that practice and meetings should be scheduled to keep the mistakes from happening in the future.  They don’t boast about what they do, but they love to plan and lead.

In Track:  These middle distance runners have a great balance of speed and endurance.  They have to run a smart race and not get caught up in the pack, and they have to finish with a strong kick.  They work together to get in the right position and they are great teammates.   Because of their intense training, they have the ability to run almost any race from sprints to marathons.

In Church:  These are your dependable, fill in the gap volunteers.  They love serving and aren’t afraid to jump in wherever they are needed.  They are the backbone of the local church.  Whenever a church has a large number of people who work well together and aren’t afraid to dedicate time to training and preparation, you will see a church that does amazing things for God. 

In Track:  The long distance runners are methodical.  They are able to run and run and run and never get tired.  They run every day until running becomes second nature.  They keep an incredible pace for an incredible distance.   They also compete because of their love for the sport, nothing else could motivate them for the pain that they endure.

In Church:  These are the people that you have to constantly ask to slow down. They keep an amazing pace, but they do it because of their love for God.  You do have to make sure that their family is not neglected because of the time spent serving, but they would do anything you ask. 


I am a former design engineer who now pastors Cornerstone Community Church in Galax, Virginia. I'm passionate about following Jesus and I love technology. I've been married to Jennifer for 28 years, and we have three adult children.

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