A reader writes: Switch Hitting

A reader writes:

I have now finished the Great Spiritual Migration and I have been so moved that I have gone back to re-read Everything must Change. This morning after re-reading the story of the 21 leaders in South Africa I realized something so clearly…Let me tell you a brief story.When I was young I played baseball. I was an average player, nothing special, just a part of the team. Like most people I hit right handed. But, inside me I believed that I could be a switch hitter. I had tried hitting left handed when practicing with a few friends. I had hit the ball, so I knew it was possible.

I had been hesitant to try hitting left handed in a game since I knew everyone would say what are you doing, you don’t hit left handed, you hit right handed. Then one day I just decided to do it. I stood in the batters box and on the first pitch I swung and missed. I was waiting for the manager to call time out or yell turn and bat from the right side, but he didn’t. The second pitch was a ball, then on the third pitch I swung and missed again. Guys were yelling from the dugout, what are you doing. The next pitch came, I swung and drove the ball just over the first baseman’s head into right field. I stood on first base and looked back at the dugout, instead of yelling the guys in the dugout all were just staring at me. It didn’t matter to me what they were thinking, I had just hit a single, left handed.

I think I knew better than to try again that game, but a couple weeks later we needed to move a runner to third base and I was up. I walked up to the left side of the plate. Again, I heard guys in the dugout yelling what is he doing, he’ll make an out. On the third pitch, I drove the ball just inside of the first base bag, and into the right field corner. I pulled into second base with a double, scoring the runner from first.

After the game the manager came up to me and said, “I had no idea you could hit left handed, we need to work on this, help you to get better.” He had never said that about hitting right handed. That day I became a switch hitter.

The church is like most hitters, it bats right handed. For the most part it does so because that is what it has always done. There may be a few people who want to try to hit left handed, but they know the response from the congregation would be, what are you doing, we hit right handed.

I believe that there are some people in congregations who know, like I knew, that they can hit left-handed and want badly to try. And I think a few have even tried, but it is hard to hang in there when everyone is cheering against you. What is desperately needed are a few pastors and leaders who are willing to say, I had no idea you could hit left handed, we need to work on this, help you get better. If that happened then we would start to see people who are already good right handed hitters, start to bat left handed more often. Then when others saw that it was possible they might try, and in time, more and more of our churches would be filled with people who were switch hitters and had the capacity to spread the good news in ways that better connected with the game situations of life.

Today, I have recommitted to being a better left-handed batter, may it be so for the gospel’s sake.

Thanks for this encouraging note and beautiful real-life parable. I hope it will inspire many.