The 1-0 Concept

The #1-0 concept is our 2023 John Wesley Church staff and leadership theme.  

In the great state of Texas, high school football is king.  Friday night lights are a part of the fabric of every small and big town. Every team starts the year out intending to become 1-0. The next goal would be 10-0 at the end of the regular season, or at least have more wins than losses. The next goal after that would be to make the Texas High School Football Playoffs. And the ultimate goal is to reach the state championship game and become champions of their respective divisions. To be 10-0, a team must start the season 1-0. To continue in the playoffs each week, a team must go 1-0. The playoffs are sudden death which means winners move on and losers go home. The state championship game will be reached by going 1-0 weekly for six weeks. Therefore, it is essential to have a 1-0 mindset. The 1-0 mindset is a mindset of taking one week at a time. The 1-0 mindset reminds you never to rest on your laurels. Last week's game has passed, and if you want to keep going, you need to be 1-0 after the next round.

As Senior Pastor, my prayer is John Wesley Methodist Church embraces the 1-0 concept. I believe the church is God's plan to change the world. All church staff and members have work to do today and every day. This new journey we find ourselves on in 2023 takes the 1-0 mentality. Last year and last week were a different team or story. This week is a new opportunity to do great things for Jesus. God has laid out this new journey before us, and we must press on toward glorifying Jesus in all things. The church cannot rest on its laurels; we are not done and have not arrived. We should never be satisfied with just being good enough. God has more in store for His people and His church. God wants the church to embrace the 1-0 mentality. We are not finished until Jesus Christ comes again. Until Jesus comes again, we will not look back, slow down, back away or be still. Let us go 1-0 today and every day.

For our staff goals meeting, I asked Pastor Eric to develop a foundation for the 1-0 concept. I reworked a few things, but the majority of what follows is Pastor Eric‘s scriptural foundational for the 1-0 concept. 

Many verses became popular or famous in Paul's letter to the Corinthians. One such verse is Philippians 4:13, which essentially says, "I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength." Perhaps you have heard, read, or even subscribed to it. It is a good and powerful verse reminding us that our power and strength ultimately come from God, through Christ. But what is this power and strength to be used on, for, or towards? To understand that better, we need more context and the verses around it.

Do you know or can you recite Philippians 3:14? The NIV reads, "I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."
That is a strong and powerful verse to memorize and live by, but what does it mean again? How are Philippians 4:13 and 3:14 connected? I want to offer an analogy that I think might help us. Since Paul has already led us into the arena of sports with his reference to running, this analogy plays upon sporting language,

In most team sports, teams compete against one another to achieve victory. In our culture and society, we count those victories and defeats; we usually call them wins and losses. One's combination of wins and losses throughout a period or season is called one's record. The more wins one has compared to their losses, the better record one has. At the start of every season, each team begins with the same record, 0-0. They have no wins and no losses. At the start of every season, each team has the same goal, to finish the season undefeated or to reach perfection. Perfection is a difficult thing to obtain in sports and life. As Wesleyan Christians, we believe that through the power of the Holy Spirit, we (humans) can achieve perfection. While this may not happen in our earthly lifetime, we think it is possible. For us to achieve perfection, or for any team or group to achieve perfection, they must begin with a win and start 1-0. From there, teams must continue to win each contest until the season is finished if they hope to reach perfection.

What would it look like for Christians to view their life and faith as if they were 1-0? I would offer that as Wesleyan Christians, our understanding of a record of 1-0 is connected to our understanding of grace. In the Wesleyan tradition, to be 0-0 would mean being surrounded by and encountering God's prevenient grace. Once we have experienced God's justifying grace, we move to 1-0. At this point, we are not finished; the season is not over; it has just begun. There is still a long way to go to reach the goal of Christian Perfection. Let's return to Paul's letter to the Philippians and look for some connections and similarities in Philippians 3:5-14

5 I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—an actual Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demanded the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. 6 I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.

7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

12 I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Perhaps you noticed how Paul recognizes that everything before Christ had no value (0-0). It is not that it has a negative value, but its value is shallow compared to a Christ-filled life. Once Paul has encountered the love and grace of God through Christ, he has moved to 1-0 and sees that the work is not yet complete. There is, in fact, an ultimate goal that we are all called. That goal is not simply to experience heaven; it is to share the fullness of life that God offers to all humanity through Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. If then, we, like Paul, can see our lives of faith at this moment, lives as both individuals and community, have a goal of perfection to reach. What does it look like to strive toward that perfection, not on our own, but with one another through the power of the Holy Spirit? Perhaps it looks and sounds a lot like Philippians 4:13, where we, you, and I together can do all the things that we have been called to through the power of Christ in us. We are called to strive toward Christian perfection as individuals and as a community. Since we have experienced the love and grace of God in our lives, we don't need to dwell on the past; we need to focus on moving toward the prize. Each day, each week, each month, we are already only 1-0, with work left to be done.