Category Archives: Uncategorized

Chick-fil-A and the Silliness of “Tolerance”

If you have your finger on the pulse on social news lately you’re no doubt aware the those mean and nasty homophobic people at Chick-fil-A have been at it again.

It seems that President Dan Cathy was being interviewed on a radio show, probably sitting in his backyard in shirt sleeves just shooting the breeze. While discussing fatherhood Cathy commented that he supported the Biblical view of marriage being between a man and a woman and further stated, “I think we are inviting God’s judgement on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes marriage’.”

No surprises there. The Cathy’s are well known and outspoken about having founded and continuing to run their company on Christian principles. You’d think it would be more of a surprise if Dan had said anything different.

Apparently though the “tolerance minded” mayors of both Boston and Chicago have taken it upon themselves to be quite intolerant of Dan’s position.

It seems now that in Chicago at least the claim by the city government is that Chick-fil-A’s values are “not reflective of their (our) city” and both cities are telling Chick-fil-A that at a minimum they don’t want them doing business there and at a maximum they will actively try to block them from expanding there.

And here’s the silly part…they’ll block them because they claim Chick-fil-A is intolerant!!! I should note that “silly” was not my first choice for word or phrase there but I wanted the post to stay away from profanity so I chose to go with it.

I wonder if the mayors of Chicago and Boston are also ready to condemn and kick out the Catholic church from within their city limits. Will they stop the Salvation Army from ringing bells at Christmas too? Will the Chicago city government go after Moody Bible Institute as well and give them the boot? All of these organizations share a similar perspective on marriage.

Truth is they probably won’t because, after all, their stance is not consistent, like Chick-fil-A’s is, it is political.

I love the fact that the ACLU has come out in defense of Chick-fil-A on this one. While they don’t in any way agree with Cathy’s position they do defend his right to have an opinion, and to openly speak it, without fear of being prejudiced against. Interesting twist there eh? Good on ’em though for being consistent!

According to Webster’s:
TOLERANCE: Willingness to recognize and respect the beliefs or practices of others.

So let’s be clear. Dan Cathy did NOT disrespect the beliefs or practices of the LGBT community. He simply commented that he didn’t think it was wise to disagree with God regarding marriage.

On the other hand Dan’s beliefs and practices have ABSOLUTELY been disrespected. and there are really only two responses that anyone who wants to defend that kind of attitude can make:

“Yeah, well I don’t care he’s bad.”
or
“Those beliefs aren’t worth respecting.

Both quite intolerant statements.

So what can we learn from Dan’s faux pas?

1. The “Tolerance” movement has ceased being about tolerance and its adherents have started more openly arguing that anyone who doesn’t agree with them is a bigot. Which is quite bigoted really.

2. The person with the biggest microphone usually wins so be careful what you say in public. For those keeping score at home conservatives in general have smaller microphones these days.

3. The Christian perspective, while once mainstream in this country, is no longer even remotely fashionable and is leaning towards becoming quite unfashionable. That means Cristian folks don’t enjoy the same freedom of receptivity they once did. Get used to it and adjust.

Kudos to Dan for staying consistent. Kudos the the ACLU…never thought I’d say that…for doing likewise. Silly laughter in the direction of the mayors of Chicago and Boston while they publicly display their cranial rectal impaction.

Just to be clear I am not now, nor have I ever been a Chick-fil-A employee. (Although several attempts have been made.) I have, however, worked pretty extensively with CfA people and have found them to be excellent folks across the board. Believe me when I say they are not prejudiced, they’ll sell chicken to anyone!

All of this leads me to this question:
In today’s increasingly polarized political climate is true tolerance even possible?

Managing Customer Experience: Two Perspectives

There is quite a lot being said, and written, about Customer Experience Management these days and it can easily be overlooked as something that only applies to a small number of specific industries: retail, services, CPG etc.

The truth is that the thought process around managing customer experiences applies to just about ANY interaction between an organization and the people who use the goods or services of that organization.

  • Non-profits like to think of these people as donors of constituents, but they ARE customers.
  • Churches like to think of these people as members but they ARE customers.
  • Youth sports organizations like to think of these people as players but they ARE customers.

I think you get the idea.

When thinking about managing a customer experience it is important to remember that there are two distinct perspectives involved, each with their own set of drivers.

Perspective #1: Inside Looking Out
This is the easy one to think through because it is the perspective of the organization that has customers.

The inside looking out perspective is generally guided by four questions that drive ever deepening levels of engagement with customers. The answers to these questions help shape the experience from the inside looking out point of view:

  • What do we Know? (General customer demographic info)
  • What do we Do? (Segmentation and campaigns)
  • What do we Suggest? (Loyalty and engagement)
  • What do we Create? (The set of experiences that drive movement)

Obviously a lot more could be said here but these four question provide the framework for developing progressively more robust customer experiences.  Using one of our less obvious “industry” choices from above:

  • Churches first need to know who is attending, even basic name address and phone number helps, but learning more about their family is even better information: kids? ages? interests?
  • Then they need to target communication that is pertinent to the attender. You wouldn’t want to send a new visitor who is a 65 yr old retiree information about nursery services on Sunday morning.
  • Once they get to know the person and their family suggesting ways to get involved, ways to feel plugged in, that are specific to them becomes important in terms of creating stickiness.
  • Thinking through how you then keep the new family coming based on multiple anchor points is important. How many churches have had the discussion about having services for everything from pre-school through high school on the same night mid-week in order to create “family time”?

Perspective #2: Outside Looking In

This perspective is often the forgotten point of view. Customers are the one “having the experience” so it is crucial to remember they are looking at it through a different set of questions:

  • Should I Explore? (Deciding if they want to know more about you)
  • Should I Buy? (Deciding if they will buy)
  • Should I Promote? (Deciding if they’ll recommend you to friends)

How about a youth soccer program this time:

  • Parents know about clubs other than the ones their kids are involved in and have to make a decision about whether or not to explore a competitors policies, costs, teams, and coaches.
  • Once they becomes educated the next decision is whether or not to have their child play for that club.
  • If the experience is a good one they can become a significant recruiting source based on what they tell other parents.

I’ll write more about how to manage these two perspectives in days to come but for now it is important to remember that they both exist and they’re both driven by different sets of questions. Understanding how your customers move through their own questions is key to bringing these two perspectives into alignment.

What do you provide that helps your customers make their three decision to explore, buy, and promote?

When Should You Delight Customers?

Perhaps it seems like a bit of an obvious question. “You ought to delight customers ALL of the time!”

Funny thing is the research seems to go against that. You see, there are times when customers just want things to be easy. Hence, the rise in the idea of customer effort.

But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. While most folks still see customer delight as a problem solving, customer service approach, as I discussed in Customer Delight Revisited, there are plenty of opportunities to delight customers outside of trying to make up for a mistake.

But if customers want to be left alone sometimes and delighted at other times how do you know when to delight them and when to let them be?

Let me suggest a possible perspective, in terms of a siple mathmatical analogy, that you can use to determine when you ought to delight customers. If we think of customer delight as a multiplier we can start to look across any product or service offering and start to make educated guesses about where to apply effort in delighting customers. It all starts with the customers expectations.

ALL customers come to the table with a set of expectations, even if they can’t clearly articulate them. Let’s view those expectations as being characterized by four levels of effort:

  • Level 0: I expect this part of my experience to be seemless, the provider should make it effortless.
  • Level 1: I’m willing to expend some effort here
  • Level 2: I expect I will have to exert a moderate amount of effort to accomplish these kinds of tasks.
  • Level 3: I expect some faily significant effort

By way of example, paying my cell phone bill ought to be seemless. I want NO effort in interacting with the provider, however; when it comes time to configure my cell phone service I expect that I am going to exert a moderate amount of effort in determining which plan is best for me.

If we think of delight as a multiplier then where is the best opportunity for delighting the customer? Certainly not in the bill paying, the mathmatical equation, where D= delight,  would be D x 0 = 0. On the other hand if we try to delight them in the configuring service scenario we get D x 2 which yields some significant gains.

In this simple example we start to see that where a customer anticipates no effort I need to leave them alone, customer effort IS king. But, when the customer expects to do some level of work I can look for ways to surprise and delight them that will provide some pretty good returns. Some examples of the different levels of customer expectations might look something like this:

  • Level 0: bill paying, continuing service, renewing service, basic troubleshooting.
  • Level 1: Adding a service, purchasing complementary products, upsell or cross sell of products, locating a vendor web site OR locating a brick and mortar location from that web site.
  • Level 2: Configuring service, choosing from multiple product options, bundling, creating re-order templates, troubles hooting
  • Level 3: Customizing a product or service, complex configuration, design

In order to discover the best opportunities to delight your customers you can take three simple steps:

  1. Begin by mapping their experience in interacting with you from discovery to purchase, to service.
  2. Assign each step in that experience an expected level of effort. Not YOUR expectation, the customer’s expectation.
  3. Focus your efforts on the higher levels.

What ARE the steps a customers goes through in moving from discovery, through purchase, to service with your organization? Where are your highest multipliers based on expected effort?

Innovation = Invention+Problem+Connection=Solution

I’m currently traveling in Australia for work so I really have no idead when this post will…post. It is entirely possible that I will post it Monday night for publishing Monday morning.

As part of our endeavor to connect our body clocks to our wrist watches today we had an interesting conversation about innovation and connections. The example we used was weaponry and the simple challenge of putting a hole in a man.

The progression went something like this: rock – knife – sword – spear – lance – bow – gun – drone.

Each step recalls not onthe the original problem but it makes a connection between that first problem and the evolution of the next level problem.

  •  A rock will put a hole in a man but it takes a lot of effort
  • To use less effort put a point on it, you get a knife
  • But you still have to really close, so create a longer knife, sword, or strap a knife to a stick, spear.
  • But as armor evolves the sword or spear needs more thrust.
  • To get more thrust ride a horse and use a lance.
  • But what if you could start the same distance away and NOT have to ride at the man? You get a bow.

You see how it works? The innovation is really just evolution in response to a specific problem.

Too often people sit down to “be creative” and come up with something “innovative” and completely miss the key ingredient…the problem they are trying to solve.

This little exercise/conversation leads to a set of simple steps for innovating.

Step 1: Capture the original challenge: In the case above, how to put a hole in a man. We’re not creating something from scratch here, we’re looking at a next generation innovation.

Step 2: Identify the problem to solve: Above it is how to put a hole in a man from a greater distance. So you don’t wind up leaping to a new thing, you put a small amount of distance into the equation.

Step 3: Solve the step-wise problem: To often people kill the sword idea, no pun intended, as being “not far ENOUGH away” but it DOES solve the problem. You might choose to jump to the spear as a kind of “yes/and…” to the sword.

The key is to remember that all three ingredients are equally important. If you leave out step one you may drift too far from the original problem/solution match. If you leave out step 2 you risk getting into the creative weeds or go the wrong direction again. If you leave out step 3 you don’t land on anything.

Where are you trying to innovate? What is the original problem and what is the connected problem?

Elements of a Good Corporate Story

My Family tree has it’s roots somewhere back in Scotland, or so we’ve come to believe. The Scottish clans, way back in the day, were not only identified by their tartans, those color full patterns seen on their kilts, but also by there clan motto.

The Fletcher clan, at least the branch to which I belong , has as it’s motto: Alta Pete which is translated as “Aim at High Things.”

Good words for folks who made arrows for a living. But a little lean in terms of a story.

Corporate mission statements and marketing tag lines are similar to clan mottoes. They look good on a letterhead but they can fall a little short in terms of really identifying, and differentiating, a company.

In my last post I looked at some reasons why it is important for any corporate entity, and by corporate I mean any group, too understand and articulate its story. Today I want to suggest three of elements that make up a good corporate story.

Southwest Airlines is a model company having maintained profitability and growth consistently for more than 30 years. Their mission statement, boiled down to it’s simplest form is “We’re the low cost carrier.” But, go a step further and look at how they expand that statement into a kind of story:

“If you get your passengers to their destinations when they want to get there, on time, at the lowest possible fares, and make darn sure they have a good time doing it, people will fly your airline”

Not THAT starts to have meat on the bones.

Michael Hyatt, who is the chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers…and all round good guy, was kind enough to send me a link to a piece of the Thomas Nelson story.  If you read the article you’ll find mention a kind of vision statement originally articulated by their founder:

“honor God and serve people.”

Go a little further back though and you’ll find a sentence that, in a very short story, puts meat on those bones as well:

Unlike other publishers who catered to the wealthy, Thomas Nelson had a vision to make the world’s greatest books affordable to “common folk.”

These two example, and there are hundreds more, provide some insight into the make up of a solid corporate story.

1. It needs to tap into why you exist. 
This sounds simple enough really but too often the story starts off muddy. For example a company that claims they are the “leading provider of enterprise software” isn’t really telling a story so much a providing a descriptor. Words like “leading” and “enterprise” and fine but they lack personality.

Thomas Nelson’s version of the same type of statement might have been something like: “We’re the people who make the classics available to the common folks”. There already seems to be a story in the making there.

2. It needs to have a customer focused element.
Both the Nelson example and the Southwest example are clearly pointed in the direction of their customers. It is this customer element that makes the corporate story start to tick as a differentiator.  This is where you are able to begin setting customer expectations.

What would you have expected from Thomas Nelson? Affordable classic literature. What would you expect from Southwest Airlines? Affordable FUN travel.

(Point to note here, your story doesn’t ALWAYS have to include “affordable” Apple has a great story but “affordable” isn’t a part of it!)

3. It must be something that influences decisions
Southwest can always bump new ideas against the question: How does this make us the low cost carrier? Thomas Nelson can run new ideas up against: How does this honor God or serve people?

Your corporate story, the story of your committee, company, church, or clan helps set you apart. It helps defines you. It helps people understand what to expect from you. It helps guide decisions and influences direction.

Stories help us interpret the world around us and your corporate story helps you create the space in which you fit rather than allowing others to fit you into the place they want you to be.

Think about your team at work. Your running group. Your family. What is the story that defines your purpose, focuses externally, and helps guide decisions?

Stress Reduction in Three Movements

I’m late in posting today. I woke up this morning and bolted upright when I realized it was Friday. I typically write in the evening, even try to get ahead sometimes but it has been a bit of a stressful week.

Not an “oh my gosh I’m going insane” stressful week but just one of those “the list seems to be piling up and I can’t keep track of it all” stressful weeks. You know, those weeks where everything seems to only be half-way finished because you’re waiting on something or someone else for information or effort and so the list just grows?

My gears tend to grind to a halt.

Speaking of grinding to a halt my computer froze and went to a black screen shortly after typing that period. It shut down long enough that I started writing again on my laptop and got through a new introduction just in time for this computer to come back on!

Chuckling, shaking my head, but happy to have it back I plugged in my iPhone to download a quick picture to add to this post. And of course iTunes tells me I need to install the latest version first.  YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN ABOUT HALF FINISHED?!?!?!  Sheesh, one of those weeks.

So in the interest of coming to the aid of those of you who find yourselves mired in the midst of a similarly mind grinding week allow me to compose for you a symphony of stress reduction, in three movements.

Movement #1
The Inconvenient Truth

When the list starts to stretch out and the stress starts to pile up you need look around and determine if your environment is a contributing factor. Hint: It nearly always is.

At the left is a picture of my desk taken moments ago.  Is it any wonder I’m feeling a bit of tension sitting behind this chaos?

We tend to overlook the obvious on this one. We don’t clean it up because we have too much to do but the too much to do feels like a whole lot bigger pile when we’re sitting in a big pile. So…

If you find yourself on hold, halfway through projects waiting for input from others, clean your room. When the desk is clear the mind is too.

Movement #2
More Nike and Less McDonalds

When the list gets long we tend towards, escape, wanting to take a break, after all, we deserve one! “If I just take a minute to rest/watch a favorite show/play a video game I’ll be more relaxed and then I can get stuff done.”

Sorry, wrong move.

The problem with this approach is that the relaxation isn’t truly relaxing because the stress is still playing in the background like environmental music. Get a couple items off the list first, Just do it, THEN pause for breath.

One of my old roommates in grad school days was the consummate example of this. Vance just did things when they needed doing. If I came home from a long day and my car needed an oil change I’d ALWAYS take a break first. “I’ve been at it all day. I need a minute.” Four days later I’d be driving to work, stressed, because my car needed an oil change!

Vance on the other hand would come home from an even longer day and almost without pause change the oil in his car. The guy was ALWAYS relaxed because he ALWAYS did stuff when it needed doing.

Movement #3
Go Big or Go Home

This one is a little counter intuitive. When we have a long list of things to do that is producing stress we typically try to pick off a couple little ones to start. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing particularly if you just need to get started, however; when we start with the little things the big things loom out there like Chernabog looming over the wizard’s apprentice in Disney’s Fantasia.

Have you ever been hiking up a difficult trail and thought you were getting to the top only to find you’d reached a false summit? working our way upward through the little things can be a lot like that. It makes the task of list reduction a lot like an uphill hike.

Instead why not get a little thing done then nail a big one! JUST DO IT remember? Starting by getting a couple boulders out of the way makes the whole thing feel more like a downhill run then an uphill slog through the heat of the day.

Check your environment, pick something off the list a just do it, and if at all possible start with one of you E ticket items and you’l find your stress dropping off drastically in no time.

What others tips do you have for reducing stress? What would you add to the symphony?

 

 

Sopa Pipa isn’t just a Mexican Dessert Anymore

 If you’ve not yet encountered the terms SOPA and PIPA they refer to legislation pending before congress that would affect how we access information on the internet.

You’ll find several of your favorite sites blackout today in protest.

Rather than completely blacking out I’m providing a link to a post by Google’s Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond. Not only because I think it is an excellent post, but also because I played football with him at Santa Clara University. He’s a really good guy!

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/dont-censor-web.html

Take a minute, read Dave’s post, and decide what action you might be able to take to let your representative know that while you don’t support illegal web activity neither do you support censorship as the solution.

What would life be like with a censored web?

 

Where do YOU stand on: The Tebow Phenomena

This past Monday I asked does God care about sports?  If you’ve not read that post my conclusion was roughly that God DOES care about sports when He can use it to advance the kingdom and care for his people.  Now, let’s have a show of hands, how many people paid any attention to the wild stats flying around on Monday?

If you missed them let me fill you in:
* Tebow threw for 316 yards
* He set an NFL playoff record by averaging 31.6 yards per completion
* The ratings for the game reportedly peaked at  31.6
* John 3:16 was the top Google search on Monday
Incidentally ESPN also listed Tebow as the most popular athlete in America at the moment.

If you think ALL of that is mere coincidence then, I am sorry, you’re an idiot.

But the question of whether or not Tim has God on his side is not what baffles me most. What truly baffles me in the response of some people to the Tim phenomena.

Sally Jenkins, columnist for the Washington Post, wrote a BRILLIANT piece back on December 30th that asks the question: Why are so so many offended by the quarterback’s faith?  If you have time it is well worth the read. In the article she quotes a tweet from political speculator Bill Maher who wrote, on Christmas Eve:

“Wow, Jesus just [expletive] Tim Tebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is Tebowing, saying to Hitler, ‘Hey, Buffalo’s killing them.’ ”

I really don’t get it. Why all the vitriolic hatred?  Tim isn’t cocky like LeBron or aloof like Tiger or a problem like a boy named Suh. He just plays, and quite often he plays not good! But he wins and he gives credit to God and somehow that pisses people off.  Which is funny if you think about it since most of those people that get angry don’t believe God exists, or so they claim.

You think they’d be that angry if Tim grabbed his belly and laughed like Santa when he scored? Or maybe if he hopped around like the Easter Bunny? Not sure the tooth fairy would work out too well but hey why not?

I can certainly understand venting one’s spleen in the general direction of the media who won’t seem to let it all alone. (Yes, I suppose you may now lump this blog into the fringes of that category.) But that would be more on the level of an eye-roll couple by a silent OMG or WTFNA.

So help me out here, where does all the anger come from?
(Answer that BEFORE you read Jenkins’ article)

And, just for grins, (and for the Python fans in the group) my salute to Tim from the pinnacle of the win streak:

 

Are you in the right job?

There is a question that I ask everyone who reports to me at one time or another: If you could do anything in the world to make a living, no limitations or restrictions, you could be older, younger, live in the past, live in the future, what would you do?

Would it surprise you to know that fewer than 2% of the people I ask that question ever answer with the job they’re in?  To be fair I don’t know that I have yet answered that way either.  Let’s quadruple my experience though. Let’s guess that 8% of the people you know are in the job that is their perfect fit. Really?!? 8%? That’s horrible. How is it that so few people are really in a job that is what they’d think of as a perfect fit?

The job we land in is typically dictated by a significant number of factors: pay, location, schedule, opportunity for advancement, experiential fit, prestige. If we’re lucky a few of those factors come together and land near what we’d call our perfect job.

I think the trouble, for most of us, is that we never actually interrogate our answer to the question, if you could do anything what would you do? Why never actually ask ourselves why?

For years my answer to that question was that I would either play professional football or act. I played football all the way through college, even a season after college, loved it, miss playing, but I’m way too old now…even by Brett Favre standards. I’ve done some local acting around the edges. Loved it. But I have a family to support and there aren’t a ton of high paying acting gigs in Colorado Springs.

So I guess I’m stuck right? Wrong.

You see when I finally took the time to ask myself why I would pick one of those two professions, and did a little digging, I realized that what those two options had in common was what I call spectacle. They each are imbued  with opportunity to take people out of the course of daily routine and provide them with an emotional experience that is outside their norm.  I LOVE being able to create those moments for people.

For me the word “spectacle” encompasses what I want to be involved in creating. Now, here’s the interesting bit, the rest of that job stuff? Title, location, particular company, prestige etc. etc. all starts to take a back seat. Pay is still important because I have a wife and three kids after all, but as long as what I do has an element of spectacle to it I’m good to go!

So in order to figure out if YOU are in the right job you need to explore the answer to three questions:

  1. If you could do anything to make a living, no restrictions, (the age excuse on football falls out here), what would you do?
  2. What are the elements of your answer to #1 that most inspire you, in other words, why did you pick that?
  3. How much of your answer to #2 is present in your current job?

To be fair you may need someone to help you dig a bit. By way of example my little brother hated question #1, got tired of people asking him about his passion.  He just knew he wasn’t happy in his job and would rather be “doing adventures”.  But you can’t support a family just doing adventures so he’d given up.  Would it surprise you to learn that with some probing and digging we landed on corporate tax accounting as a potential career change? On the surface that seems CRAZY, but once we’d answered the “why” and found the elements he was after HE even agreed that it sounded cool.

Put titles and labels aside. Ask yourself the questions. Get someone to help you dig for the real “why” and you may surprise yourself with where you land.

Are you in the right job? Why do you think you just answered the way you did?

 

Does God care about sports?

Did you SEE the game yesterday?!? *SPOILER ALERT*  the Broncos beat the Steelers !!

It was really amusing, even more so now, to hear the “experts” looking ahead to the Steelers / Patriots game all week. The Broncos were already an afterthought. The “magic is over” they said after Denver had lost three straight games to finish the regular season.  Tebow-time was a passing amusement but his time was done.

Whoops!

Tebow has been the target of unrelenting scrutiny this season because of his faith and probably more specifically his expression of that faith. Mocked, attacked, abused, berated by most of those commentating on his performance. People have wondered openly, even in the press, if God is a Tim Tebow fan because, they said, he really is bad. From the spectacular series of games he has won, and lost, it would appear that there could be a case.

But what about all the other guys in the NFL who openly proclaim faith in God? The guys who lead prayer with their teams and give God the credit when they win, doesn’t God support them too? At the end of the day does God really care about sports at all?

The “theological answer” is probably no. God doesn’t have a fantasy team, (now THERE’S a picture for you) nor does He watch the over / under on who should win, nor does He send angels to knock balls out of receivers hands. If He did then it would be plausible that one team could out-pray their opponent to a win every week. No, most scholars would say God doesn’t care about sports.

Let me suggest a different answer though. I think God DOES care about sports…when it is the right time for Him to care about sports. What do I mean by that you ask? Sounds kinda fickle doesn’t it?

I think God cares about His people.
I think that God cares about His name being glorified.
I think God cares about people coming to know Him.
I think God cares about honoring those who honor Him.

That being said I think the situation surrounding Tim Tebow this season has created a set of conditions where God DOES care about sports. Now, I’m not saying He is handing the Broncos wins. (Though if they win the Super Bowl I WILL go that far) What I am saying is that the press frenzy around Tim Tebow brought God into the game. I think God is sticking up for Tim.

Is God completing passes and breaking tackles? No, but is He perhaps giving Tebow and extra does of calm and a sense of His presence that allows Tim to perform at max potential? Maybe so, and why not? The press attacked God’s representative, not His only rep but certainly the one in the spotlight, so why wouldn’t God have Tim’s back? If the press had NOT gone after him like they did I wonder if the Broncos season would already be done.

I think God cares about sports when circumstances come together in such a way that there is opportunity for His kingdom to be advanced. It would not surprise me if someday we find out that God even played a direct hand in wins and losses. Not always, but when the time was right for kingdom advancement.

Now before you get all up in theologically offended arms consider this: If God cares about His people and His kingdom infinitely more than He cares about the outcome of a football game then the outcome of a football game is incredibly trivial in the grand scheme of things and thus God’s intervention is a non-issue.

I remember an at bat in a softball game some fifteen years ago. I often would offer up a small prayer on my way to the plate asking God to help me play to the full potential He’d given me. On this occasion though I was conflicted. You see, I was a youth pastor and I had a BUNCH of my kids in the stands at this particular game.

Was stopping to pray before stepping into the batters box just for show? No, I didn’t think so but would it look fake?  Should I just say it in my head without pausing? I wrestled with all these conflicting thoughts as I stepped one foot in the batters box.

Then I heard a voice in my head: If you honor Me I will honor you.

I took a step back and said a quick prayer, didn’t even cover it up by kicking dust. I stepped back into the batters box and quietly ripped a three run homer into right center field on the first pitch. I rounded the bases chuckling. I crossed home plate, looked up at my students in the stands cheering, winked and pointed to the sky. I told them the whole story after the game.

Does God care about sports? He does when sports suit His greater purposes. In ways we’ll never fully comprehend.

What if God did have a fantasy team? Who do you think He’d pick?