My Texas Tech Red Raiders just hired Kliff Kingsbury as their head football coach. Just last week Kingsbury was the offensive coordinator for The Texas A&M program, where freshman quarterback “Johnny Football” received the Heisman Trophy. A few eyes were raised regarding Kingsbury’s age. Serving as Tech’s head coach at age 33 will indeed be a challenge.
A quote from Coach Kingsbury in today’s edition of
Lubbock’s Avalanche Journal caught my attention: “I love the people of West Texas. I’ve lived in a bunch of different cities, and some of the finest people I’ve ever met in my life are out here, and some of the best relationships that I still have today were formed out here, so I’m thrilled to be back.” I know precisely what he means about the people of West Texas. But there is an even deeper meaning lingering in his words…
A university can hire the most competent football coach that exists, but if he does not like the people that he is called to serve the relationship will not be successful for the long term. The likeability factor goes both ways. A coach must endear himself to players, coaching staff, and fans. But I think of even greater importance the people he serves need to sense that he truly likes them.
West Texas is a unique place. It has its own culture. It is not for everyone. But based on Kingsbury’s comments he has a deep appreciation for the good people that live on the South Plains.
I needed to read those comments today. It reminded me that it is important for me as a minister to like the people I serve. I need to like living in Granbury, because I am called to serve the community. If I am unwilling to embrace the entire community in a spirit of love and concern, I will ultimately be ineffective. People can sense it when a minister is using them for a stepping stone to something bigger and better. They can also sense it when that same minister would rather be living in
than in Granbury. I too serve fine people. I have created great memories right where I am planted. I wish Kliff Kingsbury the very best in his new venture, but in particular I am grateful that he values the people where I spent a good part of my formative years. Oregon