So, what’s wrong with the situation you may be saying? Nothing wrong with being competitive, right? This whole story does bring to light questions like who is my friend and who is my enemy in sports (or even just life). And that’s the problem. In sports, we make these lines in the sand. If you’re my teammate, you’re my friend. If you’re my opponent, you are my enemy. “Us” vs. “them.” “Good guys” vs. the “bad guys.” I’m not sure that’s what God would want.
The next time you’re in worship service at your church, look around and take note of the ratio of women to men that you see. My hunch is that women in the church will outnumber men 2:1. The local church certainly has a man problem, doesn’t it?
I don’t know if Ernie Els is a Christian or not but the way he handled victory on Sunday was a picture of redeemed sports. He saw his competitor not as someone to conquer but truly as a co-competitor–a real human being who he truly wanted the best for. Els was satisfied in his own effort regardless of victory or defeat. He handled winning with grace and humility recognizing how little he can control. He celebrated his victory but was careful to acknowledge his competitor and the people who helped him get there.
#19 – Selling Jesus to People
I was doing yard work on Saturday when a salesman approached. I didn’t really want to talk to him but I thought I would let him do his presentation.
His identity was also found in how he looked. He wore bright colors. He often would take his shirt off. He wore an assortment of headbands. This was all part of an “image’ he wanted to portray. The most important of all of these though was his long, flowing hair. It was unique. It made him stand out.
Now, imagine what would happen if he were to lose the “crown jewel” of his image. Well, that’s exactly what happened.
What I really want to focus on is this quote though: “And after a while I just started to learn to leave it where it’s at, get rid of it. Once you’re done and you’re off the court or out of the venue or whatever, go back to being you.” I’ve heard talk like this countless times on the court/field. After a game, when addressing someone’s behavior, I’ve often heard: “I’m sorry, man. I’m a totally different person when I’m on the court/field. That wasn’t really me.”
So, what’s the problem with gospel presentations? The lack of follow-up. If you study the history of “altar call” evangelism, you’ll see that this has always been a problem. The research shows that a very low percentage of people who respond to a gospel presentation actually became a regenerated believer in that moment. Billy Graham, widely known as the greatest altar call evangelist ever, has said how elated he would be if just 4-5% of people professing faith at crusades were truly born again. For some people, God genuinely moves in their heart during these events. For others, they are like the “rocky” soil in Mark 4:16-17. Regardless of what has happened in people’s hearts, historically we have not followed-up well to properly cultivate people’s faith.
The question is not if conflict is going to happen but rather when conflict is going to happen. It’s my contention that there is conflict in every game. People can hide their anger and frustration well. Some people can’t.
Unfortunately, every sports minister has heard something like the following: “Did you see that parent smoking near the parking lot?”…“That guy on the other team used a profanity.”…“That parent just used the Lord’s name in vain!”…“After the game, that guy was drinking beer in the parking lot.”…“I heard two players on the other team discussing parties and being promiscuous with women.”
I think Mr. Brooks describes the tension well–and I use that word carefully and purposefully. This is the tension that every Christian athlete feels. In fact, if we’re honest, it’s the tension that every Christian spectator, coach, volunteer, etc. feels as well.
I would agree with Mr. Brooks when he says much about sports is about supremacy and domination and I agree this is in conflict with Christian tenets. As you read his piece though, there is no hope offered. There is no solution brought forth. Is this because he believes there isn’t one? Perhaps.
Lord, I pray your name will be made great today and not mine. I pray the way I play/coach/spectate today, and the posture of my heart, would bring you glory. Would you help my motives today not be based on pride or a misplaced search for significance. I pray your name would be made known today by my play/coaching/spectating.
Last week, we held The Gathering which is our annual get-together for staff and volunteers at local churches engaged in sports ministry. Several talks were given during The Gathering and below is the audio for Bob Schindler’s talk on The Ideal Gospel Centered Sports Minister (41 minutes).
You probably have never been challenged to be creative in your sports ministry, right? Reach more people, pray more, disciple better, etc. These are the things you lay awake at night thinking about–and for good reason. I can say this confidently though: God wants you to be creative in your ministry.
If you’ve been on Facebook lately, you’ve been seeing these posters/memes going around about different occupations. Here’s my take on ‘Sports Minister.’ Feel free to share this.
If you agree and see the compartmentalized life in contrast to what God intended, you hopefully are asking “What can be done about this problem of compartmentalization?”
The answer – INTEGRATION. To integrate is to 1) bring together or incorporate (parts) into a whole 2) to make up, combine, or complete to produce a whole or a larger unit, as parts do 3) to unite or combine.
So, my greatest regret in ministry is not valuing a leadership team. Ministry leader(s), I would encourage you, don’t make the same mistake I did. Teams are a valuable tool in accomplishing the mission of your ministry and they are a wonderful expression of the glory of God.
Therefore, Gospel Centered Sports Ministry has both ends in view – the redemption of people and sports – with the tool of sport used as two means – a bridge and a laboratory – to these ends
This is something I developed for a children’s basketball league that I help run at my church. We have a formal job description but this was a supplement to the job description to help bring it to life a little more. As you can see, these are diagnostic questions that coaches are to ask themselves.
If you do these 10 things this season, I can’t help but imagine you’ll have a great season!
Before I answer that question, let’s define some terms. When I say “argue”, I mean to complain to the referee/official about a call they’ve made. This is not just intellectual disagreement but a voiced complaint (which is usually accompanied by anger and frustration).
So, with that in mind, let me answer the question: When is it right to argue with referees/officials?
“How do you know when sports or a sport is an idol?”
You might be wondering, “What kind of question is that?” thinking that idols are those things in foreign cultures that people visit and bow down to.
However, there is a more important question. In fact, this question is the most important question for any coach as he or she enters a season. That question is: “Why am I coaching?”