IN.

Joe Maddon is in his fifth year managing the Chicago Cubs. When he was hired, one of his priorities was to change the culture of the club. One of the ways he has done that is every year in spring training he has unveiled a slogan for players at all levels, whether they were on the major league squad or Low-A ball. His slogan for 2015 was “Respect 90.” It’s 90 feet from home plate to first base and Joe wanted his players to run hard after making contact. But it was another way of saying that respect begins at home, and not just in baseball. The result? The Cubs learned to respect 90 and played deep into the postseason before finally losing to the New York Mets.

That winter, the Cubs made a big splash in the trade market with some impressive signings, and as early as February, the Cubs were favored to win the World Series. Joe’s slogan? “Embrace the Target.” And they did, winning game seven of the 2016 World Series. Sniff. Sniff. Excuse me. I still get choked up at the memories of that season! I mean, come on! When else has a 17-minute rain delay erased a 108-year drought? But I digress.

Joe’s slogan for 2017 was, “That’s Cub.” Meh. But I loved his slogan for 2018: “Everybody In.” It suggested that every player—from the easily recognized superstars to the less familiar bench players and relief pitchers were all contributors to the success of the team. Even the minor league players had a stake in the success of the team because they might be called up to fill a need in the event of an injury. Indeed, when the 2016 team won the World Series, rings were awarded to all the Minor League players.

But “Everybody In” doesn’t stop there. It also incorporates the coaching staff, the scouts, the grounds crew, the analysts, the statisticians, the trainers, the office staff and any number of behind-the-scenes people.

Then, as part of the “Everybody In” campaign, Cubs merchandisers reached out to their fan base, selling blue T-shirts with big white letters that said simply, “IN.” Wearing it was a way of saying, “I’m IN!” And I’m sure the shirts were especially popular in Indiana.

“Everybody In” has had some staying power. When you log onto Cubs.com, you are greeted by an “Everybody’s In” pop-up.

It’s not only a great slogan for a ball club; it’s also a great message for a church. The success of the church cannot depend on a single person such as a pastor; the success of the church has to depend on the entire congregation. When you joined Orion United Methodist Church, you promised to “faithfully participate in its ministries by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your service and your witness.” Each one of us must do his or her part for Orion United Methodist Church to grow and succeed as a local expression of the Kingdom of God. In other words: Everybody In. That’s what 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 is all about.

Are you IN?

Yours for the Mission,

Pastor Dave

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