by Shannon Caughey
It’s popular among coaches to promote the idea that their team or program is a family. While some might be tempted to write this off as cliché, it really is an excellent value for a team to pursue. Good, strong families are characterized by close relationships. Every person in the family is known and accepted. There are all kinds of benefits that family members enjoy because they bear the family name. Being part of that family is central to the family members’ identity.
It’s wonderful when you create this sense of family in your program, Coach. How can you do so most effectively? Recognize that through faith in Christ, you are now in an even greater family.
In this series of devotions, we’re examining what the Bible says about key dimensions of who we are when we respond in faith to Jesus. We are often tempted to look for our identity in sports and coaching. Participation in our sport is a wonderful thing, but it’s not who we are. It’s what we do. Understanding our true identity as followers of Christ helps us have a right perspective on and approach to coaching. Central to our identity is this truth: we are members of God’s family. God calls us his children.
Ephesians 1:4b-5 describes how this happens: “In love [God] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” 1 John 3:1 proclaims, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
Sometimes people say things like, “Every member of the human race is a child of God.” While that sounds nice, it’s not actually true according to Scripture. Each of us sinfully rebels against God and his ways, causing us to be separated from him. Our sin makes us enemies of God. But because of God’s deep love for us, he does not want us to remain this way. Through Christ’s work, God adopts us as his sons and daughters. He takes us from being estranged from him because of our sin to being full-fledged members of his family.
Coach, when you trust and follow Jesus, you can, with full confidence, proclaim “I am a dearly loved child of God. I am part of his family.” This is who you are. As a child of God, you have a loving Father who desires for you to experience a close, personal relationship with him. You are completely secure in being part of his family. You share in all the benefits of being in God’s family, including the inheritance of eternal life in his kingdom. And you have the privilege of bearing the Lord’s name to a world that desperately needs him.
When your identity as a child of God defines how you coach, you understand what a family culture could be in your program. It’s built on loving your athletes and fellow coaches the way your Heavenly Father loves you. You’re motivated by a desire to develop genuine relationships so that every person feels known and valued. You want every member of your team to experience how you care about who they are and who they’re becoming as people, not merely as contributors toward athletic success. As you strive for a program that reflects the characteristics of God’s family, you’re praying for opportunities to share with others about how they, too, can become a child of God if they put their trust in Christ.
Through your faith in Jesus, you are a dearly loved child of God. You are secure in being a member of his family. Let this identity define your perspective on and approach to coaching.
For reflection: As your identity as a child of God defines you rather than being defined by your sport, what would change in your perspective on or approach to coaching? Talk with the Lord about this. Ask him to enable you to live according to your primary identity as a member of his family.