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 Fruit 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 Fruit Loops, so we’ll need to [get] something more nutritious.”
That’s just one example of how your platform as a coach gives you influence: “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.” Yet Jesus also says to his disciples, “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). He’s indicating that we who trust and follow Jesus are to be his representatives: to reflect who he is so that the Lord is seen and experienced through us. Jesus goes on to give this directive: “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 by representing 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.