3 Lessons from Top Gun 2 – Lesson 1

You can read this even if you haven’t seen the movie, and none of the illustrations ruin the movie if you haven’t seen it yet. If you do see the movie and you have another take away, please share it with us.


I have family in the military, and they all comment on how the military culture lords over you. It is a very defined culture with defined expectations. Success in the military is how well you meet expectations / standards that lead to promotions. This is not necessarily a bad thing unless you are a pilot. The problem with pilots being promoted is: the more you are promoted, the less you fly. You stop flying to sit behind a desk which requires different passion, gifts, and talents. The promotions take most people out of their strengths and passions. But pilots do it because it is the expectation, they want the position, pay, rank, etc., even though they are not fit for the job. Why? Because that is what success is. Many people give up on who they are to go up.

Maverick has all the experience and expertise to be a Colonel, even a senator, but he remains a Captain, a pilot. He stays in his lane despite the rejection, pressure, lower pay, etc. The result is Maverick is truly the best pilot. Maverick stayed in his lane. He knew who he was, what he was passionate about, and stuck to his guns to be the best version of himself that God created.

Like the military culture, our world and church cultures are filled with expectations / standards of what it is to be successful. The world chases success with the thought that I will retire and be financially set and free. It burns itself out on the majority of life to have maybe 10 years of “fun” or “life.” Pastors do the same or they strive to positions or means that are not them in hope for that promotion or even title when it isn’t their calling.

Pastor is a very generic term. There is a great variety of pastors in the church. All are needed and should be celebrated. I want to encourage you to find your lane and stay in it. Define who you are? Define what is success is for you and ministry? Drill down on this definition. At your retirement, what will you look back to as success and what will you carry forward because that is who you are? More later in another blog. Have a little Maverick in you that doesn’t let the expectations of culture and church highjack your calling.

by: Rev. Jason Scheler, Mission Executive of the LCMS Southern District

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