By Shannon Caughey
In his book The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge, Tony Dungy shares about trying repeatedly to encourage his son to eat a good, healthy breakfast. His son loved Froot Loops, though. Despite his dad’s recommendations, he just ate this sugar cereal morning after morning.
Then Dungy’s son went to an introductory meeting for the football team at his new school. He came home and told his dad, “Coach told us that we really need to be taking care of our bodies. That starts with getting a good breakfast. The only thing we have here is Froot Loops, so we’ll need to [get] something more nutritious.” One directive from his coach accomplished what repeated efforts from his dad could not!
Your platform as a coach gives you influence. Influence is “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior” of your players. In 3Dimensional Coaching, Jeff Duke states that two of the most powerful words in the life of a 21st-century adolescent are “Coach says.” You have significant influence as a coach. How will you use the power of your influence?
In John 9:5, Jesus proclaims, “I am the light of the world.” Amazingly, Jesus also says to his disciples, “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). Jesus is indicating that we who trust and follow him are to be his representatives right where we are. To be “light” is to reflect and shine forth who Jesus is so that the Lord is seen and experienced through us. Jesus goes on to give this charge: “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).
Coach, you have an opportunity to use the power of your influence to point people to Jesus. You do this as you daily represent Jesus with your words, your actions, and your interactions. Even in settings where you may not have the freedom to speak directly about Christ, the way you coach and live can still give your players a chance to “see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
God has given you a platform for significant influence. Use it to be a light for Jesus.
For reflection: Consider how you’re using the influence you have as a coach. Are your words, actions, and interactions pointing your players to Jesus? Pray that the Lord would continue to transform you so that his light would shine through you.