“And you call yourselves Christian…” “By the way your kids act – your jerseys should say something other than Faith Christian…”
Having an athletic program at your school can either be a real joy or a real pain in the neck. As long as the athletic program fits into the mission of the school, I believe that there are a lot of positives that come from offering athletics. But, if athletics is the tail that wags the dog – then there comes a lot of challenges along with that.
Mission Minded Goals
- Emphasize character over talent. We’ve seen time and again that talent can only take a team so far. When character is evaluated and emphasized, teams will be known for being a team of character, not a bunch of characters.
- Work with and train your coaches. Before the season even starts, it is vital to have expectation meetings with all of your coaches. Having coaches that are committed Christians and hard workers is really important to building a strong foundation to your athletic program. Coaches that emphasize fundamentals, learning/teaching, and who display a godly character both on and off the field are worth their weight in gold.
- Have high expectations for your parents and fans. Buying a ticket does NOT give any person the right to berate an official or to cause a scene. Parents and fans need to be encouragers to cheer and motivate our team. Bringing attention to oneself by yelling, being obnoxious, causing a scene, etc. is not acceptable. We want every person to have an enjoyable time at the athletic event, and we want to have a God-honoring testimony to the officials and to the fans of the other school. When a person gets “out of their cage”, it not only is an embarrassment to that person, it does not put the school in a good position to impact others for the cause of Christ!
- Encourage student participation in a Cheer Block and/or Pep Band. We have given a lot of emphasis to our Pep Band in the past, and they have done a great job in creating such a positive, home court advantage for our teams. Our teams love to play at home, and I have heard them say many times, “I hope our Pep Band is going to play”. The members of our Pep Band almost feel a part of the team, and they do bring a great element to our FCS Experience. This year we have also had great participation from our Cheer Block. We have between 80 – 90 members on our cheer block! They do an outstanding job. The Cheer Block is student-led, all dressing in similar attire. Their focus is to only be a positive voice at the game. They don’t taunt, distract, or try to intimidate the other team. The Cheer Block cheers for our team – and they have a GREAT time! At a recent away tourney, we actually had several students from another school join our cheer block towards the end of the game because they wanted to be a part of the clean fun that our students were experiencing.
Modeling Christ-likeness during an athletic contest is sometimes difficult. Sometimes athletes are put in the position of responding quickly, when things don’t go well for them. The Bible tells us that “out of the mouth pours the overflow of our hearts”… so basically, what comes out of our mouth is a reflection of what is in our heart. When an athlete or coach responds poorly, that can serve as a great teaching opportunity for the school – if it chooses to do the hard things. From my bleacher seat – there is too much at stake for the school NOT to do anything!
Athletics can be a great blessing for any Christian school that views these as opportunities to teach and grow students, along with their parents. Coaches are some of the most influential people that young people have in their lives. The life lessons from sports cannot be duplicated in most everyday situations. A Christian school’s athletic program can be a blessing to the overall school program and provide a wonderful resource for future student growth. There is too much at stake for an athletic program to be a thorn in the side. Let’s all take the necessary steps to have programs and teams that seek to honor student athletes and their families as well as represent Christ in a truly unique and amazing way!