As a Christian educator and coach, I often think about the students and athletes that have graduated and what they’re doing now as young adults. As with any school, there are great success stories with some and there are others whose lives seem to wander aimlessly. With the amount of prayer and time that is poured into my athletes when they are on teams that I have the privilege to coach, it is hard to not take it personally when they choose to stray from Biblical teachings. As I think about these former players, I can’t help but wonder if there is a way to coach and/or run our athletic department in order to have a more eternal impact on the hearts of our athletes.
Obviously, there is nothing that we as educators and coaches can do to ensure the salvation and/or Christian walk of our students and athletes. There is a lot that we can do, however, to be sure that they a getting an accurate picture of true Christianity through their participation in our programs.
The more experience that I get, the more I realize that everything about the way I live my life is connected to my identity in Christ. Unfortunately, I didn’t make that connection earlier.
I’ve been exposed to a lot of Paul Tripp content lately. He’s an excellent preacher with a skill of connecting the dots in Christian living. One thing that I’ve picked up from his teachings is this:
We can’t compartmentalize our lives.
In Deuteronomy, the Israelites are instructed to always be consistent in the way that they portray their faith to their children:
And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thous sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. – Deuteronomy 11:19
We can gather from this verse that God makes no distinction between spiritual and secular activities. As Christians, we’re expected to exude God’s teachings at all time.
We don’t need to do this awkwardly or confrontationally, but it should be clear and obvious.
Many times Christians are guilty of living in a way that does not match up to what we say we believe. Sometimes it’s a case of hypocrisy, other times it is a case of illogical ignorance.
Whether intentional or not, living and operating in a way that does not match up with Bible teachings can cause a great amount of confusion to those around us.
Therefore, who you are in church must be the same person that you are on the job. Who you are on the job shouldn’t change from the person you are on vacation either. Who you are to in the classroom should match who you are when you’re at home. And that person that you are should reflect Christ.
It seems that many of those athletes and students that are disenchanted with Christianity upon leaving the Christian school are that way because they see inconsistencies with what is preached and what is practiced.
None of this is anything new that people with far more Biblical knowledge than I haven’t proclaimed already. Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer is a great read if you’re interested in hearing real experts on the subject.
We’d like to pick up the topic and run with it on our end by asking this questions:
- How is our athletic department operating in a way that is consistent with the Bible’s teaching?
- Are we coaching and competing in order to help connect the dots in Christian life?
- Are we doing it right?
The goal of the next few posts is to look at how we can make sure that the philosophy, operation, and administration of our athletic departments accurately reflect Biblical teachings.
We’re not talking about mission statements or having team devotions at practice. Those are great things. We just want to make sure that we’re not taking the truth that we preach in our devotionals and putting them on the shelf once we start to compete.
We’re also hoping to engage athletic directors and coaches in conversation regarding this topic. It’s a topic that reaches into so many areas.