Your September Resources Are Here!
Several times a year, we head into a new “season,” if you will. I’m not talking about a change in the weather, but I am talking about new seasons of sports that crank up with kids and teens. Even if you and your family aren’t really that much into sports yourselves, you will no doubt feel the impact of sports on your church and the ministry that you lead. People may not be as present at your ministry events or services as we would like them to be due to all of the practices, games, tournaments, and travel-ball schedules. Parents are often overwhelmed and seem absent-minded as they attempt to juggle their entire family’s calendar, which includes a myriad of work deadlines, school functions, doctor appointments, family-specific events, birthday parties, social commitments, sports, and church. There is so much going on that it’s hard for most parents to keep up, much less try to “keep the main thing, the main thing” for themselves and their families. Our hopes and prayers are that faith and gathering to worship will be at the top of their list, but often it just isn’t. That’s why part of our job as ministry leaders in the church is to come alongside these parents and families to support and encourage them as they try to navigate it all. However, if we’re completely honest, we can often have a pretty negative outlook and attitude when the families who are part of our churches make decisions to prioritize sports. Our first thought is often scoffing and judging, then it is supporting and encouraging.
entitled Huddle Up will give parents an opportunity to have a little fun with their kids and teenagers as they talk together about the role sports play in their family’s life, how faith can integrate with sports, and encourage their kids and teens to grow in their faith through sports while also living out that faith on the field of competition.
WHAT IS IT?
As we tackle this conversation about faith and sports (see what we did there?), it’s time to ask parents to “huddle up” with their families (too much?) and have a conversation. This month’s Toolbox Resource entitled Huddle Up will give parents an opportunity to have a little fun with their kids and teenagers as they talk together about the role sports play in their family’s life. Parents will also be able to talk about how faith can integrate with sports and encourage their kids and teens to pay attention to both how they are growing in their faith through sports and living out that faith on the field of competition.
HOW TO USE IT
- Download Huddle Up and post it on your website.
- Email parents a copy of the Toolbox Resource and encourage them to set aside some time to prayerfully and thoughtfully work through it as a family.
- Print copies of the Toolbox Resource for parents to grab at church and let them know where they can pick it up.
If we’re honest, there are more times than not when we encounter families who have placed sports as a high priority in the rhythm of their family, and it really gets under our skin. You may have even grimaced a bit just reading that sentence. We get it—the time those kids, teenagers, and families are spending at practices, games, and traveling is taking them away from a lot of good things that you have worked hard to plan and offer them at church (and they just aren’t around very much). That being said, if we aren’t careful, we can subtly (or maybe even directly) find ourselves in a “church versus sports” state of mind and attitude. As ministry leaders, we can’t let that state of mind or that attitude take root. Even though we may struggle with how we can best engage these families who are not as physically present as we would like for them to be, our focus should be answering the same ministry question we are always asking: How do we best come alongside, support, and minister to these kids, teens, and families who the Lord has placed under our care? How can we influence and support kids, teens, and parents to follow Jesus and live for His glory (yes, even the ones who have placed a high priority on athletics)? It can be a real tension within our own minds as well as within the walls of our churches. That’s why in this month’s coaching video, we want to give you and those who serve alongside you some practical ideas on how you can maybe shift your focus (maybe even your church’s focus) to support, encourage, and disciple the kids, teens, and families who have made sports a central part of their lives.
Lots of parents are trying to help their kids and teenagers grow, develop, and mature by getting them involved in sports. Almost all of us would agree that sports are a way for kids and teens to get some exercise, learn how to work hard/navigate obstacles, meet some new friends, learn teamwork, build community, and maybe have some success. There are a lot of benefits to sports, and many parents have experienced those benefits themselves. But if we’re not careful, we, as parents, can quickly cross a very dangerous and thin line where sports become a place of unrealistic expectations, unnecessary pressures, misplaced identity, and living out our own dreams/perceived shortcomings through our kids. Our kids’ sports and sports schedules can also quickly begin to dominate the family calendar. Our job as parents is NOT to push our kids to be the best they can be in sports but to use sports as a vehicle to help them become the men or women God has created them to be. It can be a heck of a journey, but if we keep it all in perspective, sports can be a place where our kids and teens grow in their faith and live that faith out in incredible ways.
This month’s Online Parenting Class will help parents think through how they can navigate sports, especially in relation to the church and faith.
New blog posts coming this month:
- For Kids’ Ministry Leaders: “Sports: Not the Enemy We’ve Made Them Out to Be” by Amy Diller
- For Kids’ Ministry Parents: “Church and Sports: Finding Balance” by Amy Diller
- For Youth Ministry Leaders: “Partnering with Parents Through Church and Sports” by Karin Sasser
- For Youth Ministry Parents: “Navigating Teens and Sports” by Karin Sasser
To view, click HERE