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Malcolm Gladwell’s 12 Reasons to “Pull the Goalie” at Your Church

Malcolm Gladwell’s 12 Rules of Life center around a simple edict: Pull the Goalie!

I listened to Gladwell’s podcast. It was entertaining, circuitous, provocative.

When a hockey team is trailing by a goal with a minute left in the game, all the fans expect the goalie to be pulled. Swapped for extra offense…to even the score.

Simply continuing to do the same thing and surrendering the game? Not an option!

Gladwell actually argues that statistically, the goalie should be pulled much sooner. But the defensive risk could mean losing big!

No one does it. He says they settle for the “easy and agreeable thing.” They “preserve honor.”  They find statistics to defend doing the same thing the same way.

Gladwell’s “Pull the Goalie” caused me to think.

Ask a group of your leaders: “If nothing changes in our congregation…our church body…our organization…where will it be in ten years? 20 Years??

Gladwell would say: Pull the goalie!

Jesus would say:  Push out to the deep water.
Let down your nets on the other side.
Go out, two by two.

Because, the harvest is already ready!

To be honest, when things aren’t “working” for me…especially in the seasons when folks need to make me their scapegoat…or the critics are eager to critique…or, I’m persisting doing the same things better, faster, even more strategically… I don’t know how to stop and think and change and…pull the goalie.

It’s worst for me when…

  • I’m in the pit. I feel incompetent. Confidence is gone.
  • I’m trying to navigate change in an institutional reality that refuses change.
  • I’m feeling that I’ve been trained for a world that no longer exists.

Sooner or later there are leaders–gifted, courageous leaders with integrity–that need to lead, need to multiply. So, what if you and the leaders at your church stopped playing for respectable decline and you pulled the goalie for some added missionary offense? And…

  • You invested in yourself? Stopped trying to lead yourself by yourself.
  • You invested in a couple of 1,000 Young Leaders? Prepared them to be indigenous missionary disciples where they live, work and play?
  • You grabbed a couple of disappointed and bored baby boomers? Bolstered faith and added some skills and sent them into the game?

Contact Raechel or the 1,000 Young Leaders team and learn more about how PLI can help.

It just might be time to pull the goalie and skate for the win!

3 Responses

  1. love your weekly blog spot, Jock and Gail…read today’s (Gladwell, pull that goalie) and smiled…loved everything from “Jesus said,” down, but i really don’t think Gladwell has a clue on this one…i understand the analogy to setting out into the deep, but if a soccer team pulls the goalie with 5 minutes to play (switching sports; don’t like hockey) it will spell disaster; there is a difference between urgency and foolishness, perhaps…ANYWAY, THANK YOU BOTH FOR YOUR MINISTRY TO JESUS’ CHURCH AND A BLESSED CHRISTMAS. Kevin

  2. I love the idea of going all in rather than playing it safe. Reminds me of way to many basketball games where started playing not to lose instead of playing to win… and it would cost the game. When you stop playing to win you lose your passion, your urgency, and your focus… but it is easier to play it safe… May God give us the courage to risk it all trusting in him. After all “You will never go broke risking it all on God.” Which podcast is Malcolm Gladwell’s? Is it the Revisionist History one?

  3. Aaron Boerst says:

    Love it when we dream big. Our churches need to do it more. What would we do if we knew we could not fail?!

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