I’m a pastor, but I’m also a shotput and discus coach for one of the local Track & Field teams. I get irritated when my throwers skip practice and don’t take their commitment to the team seriously, but I get sincerely concerned as a pastor when my students are
“missing” from church and youth group too!
Many youth pastors live in a love/hate relationship with high school sports. The reality is that sports demands so much commitment that there’s often little or no time left for church commitments. When there’s a conflict between going on a retreat with youth group or missing a baseball game, guess which commitment typically “wins?” I’m caught in the middle, as a youth pastor and as a coach.
I’m not going to give all the thoughts on this subject I have, because that wouldn’t be productive, but I will ask this:
What truly matters most?
I love sports, if I didn’t I wouldn’t coach. But I love Jesus Christ more. When I was in high school I played Football, and threw in Winter Track and Spring Track. I have great memories of those teams and am so very thankful for those experiences! However, my memories and experiences at church and with youth group were absolutely life changing.
Most Christian parents say their number one hope for their son/daughter is that he/she would worship and follow Jesus Christ daily. Yet, there’s also the hope and expectation to do chores around the house, finish homework and study, and participate in sports or band or drama or any other extra-curricula activity… oh yeah, and go to Youth Group too.
Why is it that the “activity” (Youth Group) which is intended to help students know Christ and live in Him is often at the bottom of the “commitment ladder?” Play football, soccer, throw the shotput, be involved in the drama production, etc. – but make sure you keep your eyes focused on what truly matters most – your relationship with Jesus Christ.
It might take some creativity and work to figure out how you can honor your commitment to your coach while staying connected to your church’s youth ministry, but it’s worth the work! When you’re a little older and everything in life seems to be falling apart, the “glory days” of high school won’t help you… but a strong and healthy relationship with the King of All will.
Honor commitments, but don’t neglect what’s most important.