You. Play. Nice.

Vineyard Canada didn’t exist back in 1993. So, the first pastors conference I attended was held at the Vineyard flagship in Anaheim, CA. I had a great time, and met a lot of fellow Vineyardian leaders by wandering the campus and striking up conversations with anyone who seemed approachable. Truth be told, I kinda miss that early dynamic (no shade on V-Canada).

John Wimber shared the following fatherly analogy with about 1200 pastors that week. Disclaimer: I couldn’t find a verbatim transcript anywhere, so this is taken from the vault of my memory. Any errors are inexcusably mine.

Wimber spoke from an armchair in the middle of the platform. His recent cancer treatments had taken a toll, and standing was too difficult. His words were no less powerful.

“I feel like a father, sending my kids off to play football in a local schoolyard. I tell my kids, listen – some of the other kids are going to play by the rules, respect you, and watch out for you. And other kids … well, they won’t. They’ll cheat, lie, give you cheap shots, and if you call them on it, they’ll turn around and blame you. But no matter what, you play nice.”

He shifted forward in his seat, planting one elbow on an armrest and pointing a fatherly forefinger at us. “Some churches play by the rules. Some don’t. Some will treat you with honor and respect. Others won’t. Some pastors will speak well of you and join with you in Kingdom ministry. Others will misrepresent you, lie about you, talk about you behind your back, and falsely accuse you of all kinds of nonsense.”

He leaned so far forward that we feared he might tip out of his chair. “But no matter what … You. Play. Nice.”

Timely words, then and now. Of all the things Ive heard or read from John Wimber, this nugget is never out of season.

Popular Posts