World Class Coaches Testify To The Impact Of Christ

By: Ryan Atkins 0 Comments   3/29/2011

Some of you may have picked up the hint that I have a great affinity for sports. As a young man who is studying to become a pastor I have spent a fair amount of time reading books regarding salvation, the gifts of the Spirit, prayer, church history, church government, etc.

However over the past few months I stepped outside of the normal pastoral studies and have been reading books by great coaches such as John Wooden, Bobby Bowden, Don Meyer and Tony Dungy.

I didn’t do this purposefully initially. At first I used the books as topics to get my mind off life and to assist in my relaxation.

What I began to realize is that each of these men stand for Christ, not as a lip service but as a way of life which is impacting the large amount of players, fellow coaches and adoring fans who they have the privilege of influencing.

Far too often we look to the pastor, preacher, etc to be the ones who truly impact the people. At times it appears we place such an emphasis on the individual occupying the pulpit that we forget the impact that we’re able to have on eternity by living life by”...loving God and loving people...“ Matthew 22:37-38, which are the first two commandments. 

Ephesians speaks of what the Apostles and other church leaders are called to do.

“He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ, until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ,” Ephesians 4:11-13

I could be mistaken, but I often feel that we expect the preacher to be the ones to do much of the work within the Kingdom of God, yet that is not what the Bible says as the above verse says “...their (Apostles, preachers, etc.) responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ...”

By the authors I mentioned I have been blessed by these four men who are using the platforms they have been given to make a difference in their communities and the people they are capable of impacting for Christ and they are not pastors.

I understand that it may seem much easier to contribute with a million dollar bank account or a large platform such as a professional or collegiate coach is available to us, but money and platforms do not determine if we do the right thing.

Dungy speaks about doing the right thing in his book “The Mentor Leader” a topic I have been working on the past few years. While at work I received an award from my department manager.

Part of the reason was “doing the right thing” those words stuck with me nearly two years now. I used to think that much of my Christian walk was about how much I prayed, prophesied, healed the sick, gave or evangelized but what I realized is much of our Christian walk is determined by simply doing the right thing to help people. That doesn’t mean we forsake Jesus, it means we look deep into the scriptures and live accordingly, it means doing the right thing even when it is difficult.

What I learned from each of these men is that they all stood for Christ no matter where their lives took them.

Meyer spoke of having a long prayer list that he prayed each morning when he rose at 4am in his book “How Lucky can You Be” by Buster Olney. Meyer also knew who he was, never leaving the small college towns he coached in for his career despite the possibility of greater jobs and money elsewhere. 

I have found similar concepts in Bowdens book “Called to Coach” and Woodens book “Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations And Reflections On And Off the Court”.

These stories have caused me to take another look at what I can do and just how valuable we are in our daily lives as we represent Christ to a lost world.  In most cases, our pastor and ministers cannot influence the people in our world. That is our job as God makes his appeal through us.

“We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us” - 2 Corinthians 5:20

I urge you not to underestimate the power you have to impact lives for Christ by living for Him and doing what is right on a daily bases.

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