Jim Mora was the popular coach of the New Orleans Saints NFL team. On one occasion, as he and I shared an elevator, I introduced myself. I said, “Preachers can appreciate what coaches have to put up with. We both work hard all week and everything comes down to a couple of hours on Sunday. It’ll make or break you.”
He flashed that smile that charmed every fan, calmed many a sportswriter, and drove a few referees nuts. “But,” he said, “they don’t call radio stations the next week criticizing every little decision you made, do they?”
No, I guess not. A friend said, “If they’d pay me the zillion bucks these guys get, I could stand that.”
Now, football coaches and pastors probably have more that differentiates us than we have in common. A coach tends a small flock, usually no more than 50 players and a few assistants. At the upper echelon, he gets paid astronomical bucks, is answerable only to one or two bosses, and his season lasts just a few months. The typical pastor may have a flock numbering in the hundreds and receive a salary barely sufficient to keep the house heated and the children clothed and fed. The pastors are answerable to everyone and his brother, and work year round with no letup.
The coach’s job description can be summed up in a sentence or two: Win games and try not to embarrass the company. But pastors, God bless ’em, labor under multiple layers of expectations and demands and requirements.