Perhaps you seek to emulate a successful coach in your sport: implementing the same schemes that coach uses, running the same plays, following the same conditioning regiment, etc. As beneficial as this may be for your program, you have an “opportunity for imitation” that is even more transformational – both for you and for your impact on players, parents, and your community.
When the gospel of Jesus Christ first came to the city of Antioch as recorded in Acts 11, a significant number of people believed and surrendered their lives to Christ. They were then given help in learning more about their new faith in Christ and what it looks like to live for Jesus. The result? Acts 11:26 says, “It was there at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.”
The name or title “Christian” literally means “little Christ.” Those living in Antioch who were not believers may have used a mocking tone as they engaged in this name-calling: “You’re a ‘little Christ,’ talking and acting just like your Christ.” Whatever the original intention, to be called a “little Christ” is actually a wonderful compliment – both then and now. It means that there’s a striking resemblance to Jesus in how you speak, how you live, and how you interact with those around you. It reflects the transformation Christ is doing in you, and it has a transformational impact on those around you – including the players you coach.
In his book Meet Generation Z, James Emery White writes, “I recently read a line that caught my attention. One person said to another, ‘God looks good on you.’ The context made clear that the line didn’t mean God looked on them in a favorable way, as in God’s attitude or spirit toward them, but that when people looked at their life, it made God look good. God should look good on us to others. God looked good on Jesus.”
Coach, would your players think, “God looks good on Coach”? Would parents or people in your community say, “Coach, you remind me of Jesus”? Would those who observe you in a variety of contexts be compelled to call you a “little Christ”? Are you seeking to emulate Jesus Christ in everything you do, say, and even think?
May how you coach and how you live day by day bear a striking resemblance to Jesus!