Every year, I like to read a couple of fun, non-ministry related books. I just finished Feeding the Monster by Seth Mnookin. The book chronicles the recent history of the Red Sox, focusing on 2001 to the present. The book is about the people that got together and brought in the right people to eventually lead the Red Sox to their first World Series victory in 86 years.
After reading this, I walked away reflecting on 3 values that the team sees as part of its’ success:
#1 – Promote from Within – Growing up in Boston, the Red Sox were notorious for paying top dollar for aging players that ended up being a bust. The philosophy the new ownership and management of the Red Sox transitioned the team to one that promotes through their farm system.
It brought a few question to my mind: What’s my farm system? Who are the Triple-A up and coming leaders that are ready to hit the big leagues? Who are the next 4 or 5 people that God is raising up to join our staff? Thankfully, every member of our staff (Including me), started out as a volunteer in our church. They understood our philosophy, mission, and vision long before they came on paid staff. It saved me a lot of headaches and made each of our staff effective from day one.
#2 – Trust is Essential – The 2005 season was riddled with distrust and ultimately led to the Red Sox failing to reach the World Series. The front office was divided and thus lost sight of the goal. When people don’t trust each other, they become selfish and petty.
#3 – Narrow your focus – After 3 years of constant expansion, the ownership of the Sox decided to create an “86” list. This was the list of stuff they were going to stop doing. We did this about 18 months ago and it was one of the best decisions we have ever made. We even cut stuff that we wanted to do, but weren’t doing well. We narrowed the focus and started doing the basics with excellence. Now we feel comfortable to expand a bit and add a few ministries that we can start doing well from the get-go.
Anyway, if you’re a baseball fan and a Red Sox fan in general, the book is an easy, fun read. I highly recommend it…