Coach, the influence you have is likely more extensive than you realize. What you say and do certainly impacts your players. It can also affect fellow coaches, parents, and community members who know who you are because of your role as coach. When something significant happens in the community, nation, or world, people take notice of how you respond.
As you realize the extent of your influence as a coach, it can feel like a weighty responsibility. It is – especially as you consider how to respond to the events of recent days and weeks, as well as everything that continues to unfold. But it’s also an opportunity to use your influence to point people to God, his heart, and the only source of true hope and lasting transformation: the gospel of Jesus Christ.
How does this happen? Embracing the teaching of 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 is critical: “3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
If you want your influence to effectively point people to God and his purposes in Christ, follow the guidance of this passage:
- Pursue Christ’s reign over your thinking through saturating your mind with Scripture. To honor Christ in how you speak and act – especially in response to complex and difficult situations – he must rule over your thinking. This only happens as you relentlessly pursue knowing Jesus and his heart through time in God’s Word: taking your every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. Rather than having your perspective shaped by the loudest voices or what’s currently going viral on social media, submit your thinking to Christ’s good, wise, and righteous reign.
- Follow Christ’s approach when engaging in significant issues. As 2 Cor. 10:4 puts it, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.” The weapons of the world are often divisive and destructive. Jesus’ approach is characterized by sacrificial love and servant-hearted care for individuals. Whether it’s engaging in a significant issue taking place more broadly in the world or one that is specifically related to your team, follow Christ’s approach.
- Trust Christ to empower you to make a difference for him. Jesus will work through you as you stand for him on the battlefields of our day, and his work has “divine power to demolish strongholds” – those things that are contrary to him and his redemptive plan. When you resist the temptation to shrink back from utilizing your influence for him, Christ will empower you to make a difference for him and his purposes.
Coach, what you say and do makes an impact. As you speak and act in ways that reflect God’s heart for love, justice, truth, mercy, holiness, and grace – whether in response to what’s taking place in the world or what takes place on the field of competition – you can point people to the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Use your influence for his glory.
For reflection: Ask the Lord to show you where your thinking has not yet been taken captive to Christ. Commit to submitting your thoughts, words, and actions to his reign. Ask God to direct your responses to what’s taking place on your team as well as in the community, nation and world.