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Several years ago in the movie Hoosiers, Gene Hackman played the part of Norman Dale, a former college coach with a tainted past who was hired to coach a rural high-school basketball team from Hickory, Indiana. Coach Dale leads the team all the way to the state finals. On the day of the semifinals, the team arrives at Butler Field House, the huge inner-city arena where they will play in just a couple of hours. When the players enter the arena, their jaws fall slack and their eyes open wide. Gawking at the seats, the stand-alone goals, the suspended scoreboard, and the lights, they are awestruck and intimidated.


Coach Dale instructs one of his players to take a tape measure and determine the distance between the free-throw line and the goal.


“What’s the distance?” he asks.


“Fifteen feet,” the player says.


The coach then tells the smallest player on the team to climb on the shoulders of the taller player so they can measure the goal. “How high is it?” he asks.


“Ten feet,” the player says.


Coach Dale says, “I believe you’ll find these are the exact same measurements as our gym back in Hickory.”


The team members nervously laugh and everybody begins to relax. As they exit the gym, Coach Dale turns to his assistant and whispers, “Sure is big isn’t it!”


The challenges that lay ahead for the church in the 21st century are big as well.


It is important to remember that when measured by the rule of God’s Word, weather in a large metropolitan city or a small rural community the ministry and purpose of the church has not changed.

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