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Nine men in: Modelling church on a ball team by ProQuest

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I wasn't sure what to expect after the first few months. I was the only person who wasn't already close friends with at least one other player, I almost never knew who they were talking about in their post-game storytelling and reminiscing, and my weak play definitely hindered the team. Still, I was accepted around that beer cooler just like everyone else.Recognizing the grace I had received, I once thanked them for being so welcoming. They laughed it off, saying how cool it was that I even wanted to hang out with them. They knew I was a pastor, I didn't drink, swear or condone pre-marital sex, and they had never seen me lose my temper with an opponent or an umpire. Knowing thati they assumed that I wouldn't want to associate with them. Their experience of church had taught them that this would probably be the case.Our team has room for aging veterans and green-horned rookies, star performers and athletic failures, and everyone shares playing time. The coaching responsibilities are shared, and we all respect the decisions made by our peers. Around the post-game cooler, the circle is expanded every time another person shows up. Since everyone contributes equally, there is always enough to share. Players' contributions on the field don't change their status off the field.

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