In a conversation with a very successful high school head coach, this individual said to me, “The success our program has experienced is not because I personally have great coaching skills. I’m honestly just an average coach on my own. The difference is that I’ve been able to surround myself with a strong team of coaches. Together we all make each other better.” Successful coaching really is a team sport.
Successfully living inside out is a team sport as well. Coaches who trust and follow Christ are called to live inside out, with the transforming work of Jesus at the core of who we are determining how we think, speak, and act. But there are temptations and pressures to live outside in, allowing external factors like others’ opinions or what’s culturally acceptable to determine what we say and do. Most of us are average (or worse) when it comes to resisting these pressures on our own. We must have people around us who help us.
A quick review of what we’ve seen in this series of devotions on living inside out: it requires staying connected to Jesus Christ, having unshakeable biblical convictions, developing Christlike character, and practicing honest confession when we sin. Here’s one more component: we need to engage in a community of committed Christ-followers. To live inside out, we need a strong team around us.
Consider this charge from Hebrews 10:24-25 – “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” How do we apply what these verses tell us about the need to engage in a community of people who are committed to following Jesus?
1. Be part of regular community. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way: “let us not neglect our meeting together.” If you had a player who only sporadically showed up to practice or team-building opportunities, this player would miss out on the benefits of being part of the team. In the same way, we only experience the true benefits of being part of a community of people committed to following Christ as we regularly participate in that community. What does this look like practically? Be a regular, involved participant in a good local church, which God designed to be the primary community of his people on earth. And participate regularly in a smaller community like a Bible study group where you can build even stronger relationships.
2. Be part of purposeful community. Community that helps us live inside out is about more than hanging out with people and talking about sports (as fun as that is!). Seek out and engage in community that is purposeful about the kinds of things Hebrews 10 speaks of: motivating one another to acts of love and good works, encouraging one another, and reminding each other of the unsurpassed importance of living for Jesus Christ – the King whose day of return is drawing near. As a coach, it can be helpful to find a group of coaches, such as an FCA Coaches Huddle, that is committed to growing as followers of Christ in the midst of the unique opportunities and challenges that come with coaching. You can help each other think practically about what this means, encourage one another, and hold each other accountable.
Coach, God never intended you to go it alone. He designed all of us with the need for community with other followers of Christ. You need others to help you live for Jesus, and others need you to help them live for Jesus. So regularly and purposefully engage in this type of community. Successfully living inside out is a team sport.
For reflection: Are you regularly and purposefully engaged in a good local church? A small group Bible study or Coaches Huddle? If not, ask the Lord to lead and empower you to pursue this needed community. If so, thank the Lord for the community he’s given you and pray for your church and small group/huddle to continue to grow toward all God intends.