What Ohio State did was beyond impressive over the past two weeks. They won a national championship with their third string quarterback. That doesn’t happen! The Arizona Cardinals limped into the NFL playoffs with their third string quarterback and were quickly dispatched by a sub-500 team in the first round of the postseason. Ohio State took their third string quarterback and knocked off the number one and two teams in the nation. That’s unheard of.
So for the first time since 2002, Ohio State is the college football champion. You can easily dissect numerous strategies, personnel matchups and play executions to find a reason they were triumphant, but I’ve got a simpler explanation: the reason Ohio State won the championship last night was because they had the chance to do so. Under the old BCS system, it would have been Florida State vs Alabama in the championship game, the two teams that lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Two and a half years ago, in the summer of 2012, the group of NCAA presidents approved this sweeping change to the college playoff format. It was new. It was controversial. It was change. The old system had brought in millions of dollars to the universities. And yet they changed it. They changed the number of teams, they changed the formula that chose the playoff teams, they changed the structure of postseason college football.The results have been incredible to say the least. The college football world was transfixed throughout the season, and a red-hot Ohio State rose up to win the championship in a convincing fashion. And they had the opportunity to do so because a group of leaders were willing to change.
Now I don’t even have to move an inch to make application for the church today. A church that refuses to change is a church that will fade into obscurity. Now you know and I know that I’m not talking about changing the Bible or changing the gospel. That stays the same. What I’m talking about is the courage to embrace the change that brings a church out of the 1950s into the millennium in which we now live. It’s the courage to redirect energies and funnel finances to relentlessly reach the next generation. It’s the courage stop propping up legacy programs that lost their effectiveness decades ago and try new things until you find something that works. That church, the church with the courage to change, that’s the church that will win championships in the years to come.