May 15, 2017

by Paul J Banta

Romans 12:9-13 says, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.  Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.  Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.  When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” (NLT)

To be a great coach, you need to have knowledge of the game to coach for match success. You need to recognize what works (or does not work) in training your players to prepare to win the next match, use effective coaching methods, change wrong attitudes you or players have when you don’t always get your way, and do what is right for the team to be successful.  But to be a great Christian coach, you also need faith in God to improve your own and your player’s lifestyles. Let’s face it; God gave you a leadership role to change others. With biblical wisdom, you’re the chosen leader, you’re to lead, and if you’re not in sync with using your faith and your best sound coaching methods equally together, give it up.  I can’t be any plainer than that. Often a player will not go along with you, and this is what God will see you. But He doesn’t give up on you. It does mean we have to be perfect as coaches, but we need to be getting better at studying the Bible and do the best job coaching. You want your players to improve and guess what same with God where you’re His concern. God needs you big time to serve Him the way He designed your path in the game.

When you are Born Again in Christ, God doesn’t make this available to you, so you just sit and do nothing. He brings you to Him to be able to serve Him. Just as there is no such thing as a non-functioning part of your body (every part needs to work together), so there is no such thing as a non-functioning person who belongs to Christ. If God has saved you from your sin, He has called you to serve Him in some way by your gifts and abilities.  I remember the night I accepted Christ as an adult soccer coach at the age of 38. Burdens were released—I felt brand new—pressures disappeared, sins were forgiven, and I started doing the passion thing for Him. Not perfect, but I didn’t have the baggage I carry around for years.  However, my faith was just beginning, and I had more mouth about Christ and what He did for me than faith.

As the years went by, I did not grow my faith in Christ, and my lifestyle and coaching style were not at all in balance with the small faith I had. I wrongly focused on my work growth rather than developing my faith.  Later on in life, because of His preordained plans for me, my faith grew stronger as my passion for Christ renewed. With my passion for soccer and for serving Christ now balanced, I work at reaching others for Jesus, my Lord, and Savior, through Global Soccer Ministries International, Bible studies, mentor men and most anything small or large the Lord wanted me to do for Him.

What’s your next move?