3 Lessons from Top Gun 2 – Lesson 3

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.


In the movie, our nation, our military, is facing challenges that threaten the world. Normal protocols won’t work. The mission is high risk, extremely dangerous, and will push the plane and pilots beyond their limits. The institution can’t solve this problem with normal standard protocols. It needs someone who has experience and success in pushing the boundaries or norms. They need a Maverick, buy many don’t want a Maverick and Maverick doesn’t want the institution’s ways, either. This tension is portrayed throughout the movie.

This is a real-life tension in the church today. There is pressure from the institution for everyone to conform to the “approved” synodical standards and ways. Those outsiders are labeled as rebellious, lone rangers, less faithful, heretics, and more. After all, Mavericks are like a nail that is sticking up in the deck that everyone trips over. It disrupts life as we know it, and it is uncomfortable or can even hurt when we run into it. The institution fires back by nailing it to submission until it is back in place.

Maverick has experienced that. He is fearful of it. Colonel Iceman bridges the gap and says, “The institution needs you.” All institutions, companies, and teams need people who are wired to question, push against boundaries, and take risks. We call them entrepreneurial leaders, first adopters, innovators, creative. Without them, the institution doesn’t change, grow, or adapt to the needs, and it dies. It gets stuck in a rut and never gets out.

We need people who pioneer a new path. Who break new ground, take risks, fail and get back at it. This helps us all to learn and grow. This helps us all to fulfill our calling and mission. The institution needs Mavericks because they do what the institution can’t.

On the other hand, Mavericks need institutions. They need the boundaries to push against. It’s what makes them tick. Pushing back, it’s part of the drive of taking the risk knowing 95% or more won’t. Mavericks need institutions to center on. If there is nothing to push against, or that standard, then Mavericks can go too far and fall off the radar. They want and need accountability the institution provides to keep grounded in what is true and unchanging. Institutions need Mavericks and Mavericks need institutions.

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