When it comes to living a life that is not ashamed of what we believe and hold deep in our hearts about Christ, that belief affects every aspect of our life. It is not something we celebrate only during worship or among our “Christian friends,” but it permeates all we do.
Included in that “all we do” is our recreation; for many of us that recreation involves sports, either for us our children or grandchildren or other family members and friends. Our faith can transcend all aspects of our lives and that is part of why sports ministry works.
Through White River Sports, we impact the lives of youth and adults in our community who play sports, but we also affect coaches, referees and spectators. Coaches play a key role in what we do in our lives and the importance of a coach cannot be overlooked. For any of us who have participated in athletics, if we think back to the great influences in our lives, a coach is normally near the top of that list, whether it was one year, one decade or seemingly, one lifetime ago.
Billy Graham once said “A coach will impact more people in one year than the average person will in an entire lifetime.” As a coach, I take that as a personal challenge to influence people positively for Christ – not for my glory, but for the glory of God. As a coach, we influence the players, parents and other coaches with whom we interact. As a parent of a player on a team, as supporter of the team, we can have an influence on the coach, players and opponents.
We read in Romans 1:16-17. “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes – the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, ‘It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
If we apply that to how we interact with everyone, the influence of Christ in us rolls over into everyone we meet. We don’t have to be overbearing in our faith, just consistent with it. Steve Alford once said “I'm a Christian first. I'm a family guy second. As much as I like coaching, as much as I like basketball, it's third, fourth, or fifth down the line.” I believe this sums up the importance of how we treat our faith in how we live each and every day.