I was a cheerleader for 13 years of my life. I was never the best tumbler or flyer, but I had a passion and a heart for cheerleading. In fact, my nickname, Taz, was printed on my senior jersey because I looked like the Tasmanian Devil (if you remember that cartoon) coming out of a full down that I could never master!
However, that year I did receive the coach’s award because of my heart and passion for the sport – yes, it’s a sport. I’m not even going to go there. Moving on.
I recently discovered how my time spent as a cheerleader and my short time spent as a believer are quite similar. If you’ll follow along with me, I’d love to share my discovery with you.
Throughout the years, community and friendships were built through cheerleading. The bond only got stronger if you were with the same teammates year after year. This happened because we spent so much time together, but it wasn’t always fun and games.
We had our share of hardships. I remember we were falling apart so much that our coach had to make us stop and reevaluate in the middle of practice, and sometimes, we were even sent home early.
We bonded over the good times and we bonded over the hard times. Both had to happen for true bonding and unity to take place.
Trusting Each Other
We all had the same goal in mind: to win first place. To make that goal a reality, we had to trust one another. Trust came through spending time with one another and having so.many.practices (I’m seeing a trend here).
- As a flyer, you trusted your bases and spotters were going to catch you.
- As a base or spotter, you trusted everyone was on the same count.
- As a team, you trusted everyone was in their right spot at the right time.
Trust is what bonds people. In cheerleading, I’m trusting you because you didn’t let me get hurt. However, if there’s no trust or bond, that’s when things fall apart. When you stop trusting your teammate, it all comes falling down…literally!
Correcting When Needed
Sometimes working through the hard stuff to accomplish the final goal meant correcting one another. We had the same goal in mind, so we listened to one another’s suggestions rather than resist correction. We saw it like this: if one of us struggled, we all struggled.
We’d correct one another on an as-needed basis, but sometimes our coach, or an outside coach, would have to work with us. They could see things we couldn’t. We only had an inside perspective whereas they had a different perspective.
What Does Cheerleading Have To Do With The Church?
The answer to this question: everything. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we should all have one goal in mind: to glorify God. Pointing people to Jesus, making Him our main goal. To make that happen as The Church, we have to work together.
Proverbs 14:4 says, “Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.”
My bible has a great explanation of this verse: “Where there is no progress, there are no problems. Some disturbance is necessary for growth and accomplishment to occur.”
We had to work through the hard stuff in cheerleading to accomplish our goal.
Within the context of the church, we have to work through the hard stuff in order to glorify Christ because let’s be honest, it’s sinner serving sinner. No one is perfect. There are going to be problems.
So it’s not a matter of if the problems come, it’s a matter of how you deal with those problems.
The Ultimate Betrayal
You also have to trust your fellow believers within the church. If you can’t trust those closest to you, it’s all going to come crashing down. But ultimately as believers, we trust God!
Sometimes we can put too much trust in others and not enough trust in God.
Jesus had someone within His ministry that He couldn’t trust: Judas. But Jesus didn’t treat him any differently. If He did, then the disciples would’ve known who Jesus was talking about when He said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” (Mark 14:18)
Instead, all the disciples began to be sorrowful and each said “Is it I?”. Think about it: if Jesus treated his betrayer, the one He knew He couldn’t trust, any different then surely the others would have suspected Judas right off the bat.
“Oh, yeah. He kind of gives Judas the cold shoulder. He talks differently to him than he does to us. Surely He’s talking about Judas.” But that never happened. Sometimes when someone betrays you, it will be difficult to NOT treat them differently. But remember, keep the main goal in mind!
I’m sure at some point or another someone has betrayed you in some way, but how you respond reveals your character.
I’ve been betrayed, but what I have to remember is that I’ve ultimately betrayed God. I can’t stay focused on someone else’s betrayal when I have my own betrayal. I betray Him when I put anything before Him, and sadly I do this more often than I’d like to admit.
I have to keep running and turning back to Him and He welcomes me with open arms (Luke 15:11-32). So if someone betrays me, if someone betrays you, welcome them back with open arms.
Putting The Pieces Together
Just like there are different roles within the cheerleading team, there are different roles within the church (1 Cor. 12:12-31). One role is no more important than the other. Each part has to work and move together. We are one body, the body of Christ.
We also have to accept correction as-needed — either by other believers or the Holy Spirit — to accomplish our main goal: glorify God.
Keeping The Main Goal The Main Goal
If you have a passion and a heart for Jesus, keep the main goal the main goal. As The Church, we’re all cheering for the same team: Team Jesus!
We also need to focus on strengthening our bond with Jesus, trusting Him with our every need, and taking course correction from Him as-needed.
The early church in Acts 2 shows us what it is to model a healthy church:
“…Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:44-47)
At the end of practice, we’d always have a huddle. I’d love to huddle in with you right now, but let’s huddle in with God and tell Him some things:
- What is the main goal in (of) your life?
- What are some ways you can bond with your brothers and sisters in Christ?
- Do you have trust issues within the church? If so, what is a healthy, biblical way to deal with it? How are you trusting God?
- What areas of your life need correcting?