The Coaching Field . . .Our Mission Field
Shepherd God’s flock among you, not overseeing out of compulsion but freely, according to God’s will; not for money but eagerly; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. — 1 Peter 5:2–4
Competition is an obvious part of the coaching life, resulting in either winning or losing. But God’s Word reminds us not to get so caught up in the results that we forget to take care of the flock—the athletes—who have been put under our watch.
Of course, we all want to win. Yet if we forget that we’re really working toward an “imperishable crown” (as Paul writes in 1 Co 9:25), we’ve lost perspective of why we’re coaching in the first place. In other words, just as we live our lives to please the Great Shepherd, so, too, do we coach our players with the same goal. In the process, we’ll serve as examples to the sheep.
The Lord has given us our “mission field” first that we might know Him. He cares more about how we take care of the people He has entrusted to us than He does about our win-loss record. That’s why Peter provides us with guidelines from the verses above on how to serve our athletes. We are to guide the flock (team) not by coercion or constraint, but willingly; not dishonorably motivated by the advantages and profits but eagerly and cheerfully; not domineering over them, but being examples to them. And when the chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ, appears again, we will win the unfading crown of glory! That is our hope. Until then, He is able to help us accomplish this goal every day, not only in words but with actions, as He cares for our players through us!
1. Does your coaching style reflect the shepherding characteristics described by Peter?
2. What creative ways could you care for your athletes and please Christ?
3. Honestly assess your motives: “advantages and profits,” or “eagerly and cheerfully.” Does this area of your coaching need adjusting?
Extra Reading: Isaiah 40:11; John 10:11–15; 1 Corinthians 9:24–27
Lord, may our focus, our top priority, for our athletes be set on things above, the eternal purpose, for Your glory! In Christ’s name, Amen.