Last week news resounded throughout college basketball that the University of Louisville had self-imposed a one year ban on postseason play. Instead of entering the NCAA tournament as a sleeper Final Four pick, the season will end without much fanfare on a March afternoon in Charlottesville Virginia. There have been teams who've self-imposed bans before (Syracuse basketball and Miami football most recently), but those teams lacked the potential that this year's Cardinals team did. At the center of the story were two fifth-year graduate transfers, Damion Lee & Trey Lewis. They joined the team to get the chance to hear One Shining Moment, and to hear their name called on a tournament court. And when the team heard the news, reports from the locker room focused on how crushed these two were. Because they had been named team captains and had carried themselves with class the whole season, they were made available to the media that evening. This is what that scene looked like.
They were surrounded by every. single. member. of. the. team. If that's not team chemistry, I don't know what is. On what could have been a day everyone mailed it in, the entire team stood by their teammates who just had the worst day of their lives. Chemistry is so important to teams, and it can be the difference between an OK team and a great team. Who knows what this team could have done? I don't know if the program will be hit with more sanctions beyond this. But for a moment, we saw what chemistry is and how important it can be to maintain a team.
This chemistry displayed itself through friendship, unity, and trust. The players all season displayed more than a shared uniform, they shared life. They laughed together, hung out together, and truly liked each other. They were also unified, and that comes from the culture that emphasized the name on the front of the jersey rather than the back. They played hard, dug in on defense, and looked to find the open player. Lastly, they trusted each other. It's a beautiful picture to know that during your worst moment, someone has your back. The scandal may impact the program for years, but these guys did nothing wrong and proved they lived out the mantra of being a "Louisville man."
Chemistry in ministry is important because ministry is personal, the body connects and intersects, and ministry is hard! These kinds of crisis moments can be a time where chemistry is forged among a team, if there is intentionality among the team to bond together as a "Band of Brothers" to get through those difficult times. Unfortunately, if there hasn't been much work done before the crisis to build a foundation for that chemistry, crisis moments can often prove divisive. So what are you doing to develop chemistry in your ministry? I dedicated an entire chapter to how important chemistry is in ministry in my book Dream Teams, available on Amazon. Pick up a copy and see if it doesn't change the way your ministry operates.
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.