I’m not a big fan of referees. Yes, I have a couple of friends that are (or have been) referees, but I’m still not a fan. They’re kind of a necessary-evil at ballgames, because you have to have them to keep things running smoothly. It’s a hard job to be a referee, but think for a second about what referees do:

  • Referees don’t play the game. They are only there to point out everyone’s mistakes.
  • Referees punish for mistakes and never reward for a job well done. (I’m still waiting for a ref to stop the basketball game and say, “Great pass kid, here take two free throws for that.”)
  • Referees simply walk away when the game is over.
  • No one cheers for the referees, nor do you hear, “Those refs were awesome tonight.”
  • When the referees are gone, no one really misses them.
While referees might be necessary at our kids ballgames, the last place we need referees are in the church. Sadly, our churches are full of them. Yes, every church has problems, but the LAST thing a church needs is are “self-appointed” refs running around blowing their whistle and pointing out all the mistakes. Church referees think it’s their talent or gift from God to be critical and complain. But let me tell you … if you think criticism and complaining is your talent, then I suggest going out and burying that talent in a hole.
Just like real referees, church referees focus on mistakes and never give praise for a job well done.
Instead of being a church referee, try being someone who’s willing to get involved “in the game.” Instead of pointing out faults, mistakes and being critical, try jumping in and helping with some of the problems. Instead of just pointing out people’s problems, try providing some support and solutions.
When ballgames are over, no one ever misses the referees. Sadly, when church refs leave, no one misses them either.
So get involved in the game. Be someone who looks for solutions when problems arise. AND, try giving some praise for a job well done. That’s what our churches need.

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
13 Comments Post a Comment
  1. L.C.T. says:

    Really like this analogy.

  2. Flame says:

    I was a high school basketball referee. Before I started, I was not a big fan of refs either. But the are really not there to point out players "mistakes", but to try and make sure everyone abides by the rules. So, the church does have a type of referee….an Elder. They are to lead the flock, and in a way, ensure the members abide by God's rules.

  3. Marc T says:

    Trey, thanks for the thoughts. Self appointed refs – they are everywhere aren't they. I was amazed when we came to work in Honduras how some believe they need to point something they don't like about – well, just about everything. In the past I took it very personal – now, I just smile and tell them "if you would like to help me get this done, I would be happy to have more hands" Blessings.

  4. Stoogelover says:

    I was a high school basketball official for nearly 20 years. Our job was to enforce the rules with impartiality. Actually, I have been told on many occasions (by fans of both winning and losing teams) that we did a good job. I've also been told some things that I dare not print on your blog!!

    That said, I agree with your premise. I read somewhere, "No one ever built a statue to honor a critic." The critics I've known (and there have been MANY) never seem to see themselves in that light. They are more the protectors of the faith once and for all delivered to the saints. For the most part, they are a pain in the backside.

  5. TREY MORGAN says:

    Greg I knew you and Flame might take offense. Really didn't mean to beat up on refs as much as I did "self appointed" refs.

    Flame – Elders are in the job of leading sheep … and yes there are times they might have to point out problems. But most the time they're going to be building up and encouraging. Again, it's the self-appointed refs that are hard on our churches.

  6. Anonymous says:

    As a football official, I would just mention that we don't need praise,thank yous,and being missed. Most do it for the love of the game,and enforce the rules. Certainly not for the money. As for just walking off,why would you want to talk to someone that screams at you all night?

    Enjoy your blog Trey…..but let's show them Ref's a little love man. Most of us care about the kids on the field just like everyone else does.

  7. Flame says:

    No offense taken…..just sticking up for my referee buddies!

  8. TREY MORGAN says:

    Never knew I had so many readers who were referees. :) I think I just got a flagrant foul for this post.

    I was trying to make a point about "self appointed" church referees … not blast real ones. I obviously didn't do a very good job. LOL

  9. Anonymous says:

    It's all good Trey…Great post. You did a Good Job.

  10. luckycharm says:

    great post…the analogy was great…for those of us who arent refs (lol) it was a great reminder about getting in the game!!!

  11. Jojo Agot says:

    Trey, I've had my share of dealing with self appointed referees in my last church. One person particularly stood out, the one who confronted me for "allowing people to laugh" while I preach and for quoting pop culture and current events in my sermons.

  12. Ramiro Zamora Godínez Jr. says:

    Nice post bro! Really liked it. It really encouraged me to help out more in the church, with its struggles and mistakes and get involved to help carry those burdens. God really is working through you bro. Miss you man, to your fam I say hi. God bless you all.

  13. Brienne says:

    Helpful etiquette tip: regardless of one's frustration level with a church referee, standing up to yell "Sit down, bus driver!" during services is still considered poor form.

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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