Summer 2024

Coaching Wisdom

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” I Corinthians 13:11

Emma, my five-year-old, recently embarked on her first season of soccer; and I volunteered to coach.

Because I am coaching a group of five-year-olds, I really don’t expect flawless or awe-inspiring play. In fact, I expect them to play like five-year-olds—which is mostly two big groups huddled around the ball kicking it to see where it goes. Yes, I do want and expect them to learn the basics of the rules and, hopefully, some of the basic skills necessary to play the game; but I don’t expect them to play like Pele (for you older folks like me) or David Beckham (for you younger folks).

Should my daughter decide to continue playing soccer after this inaugural season, I would expect her to continue to improve year after year. If she plays long enough and with enough desire, I think she could be quite good based on what I’ve seen so far (not that a father would ever inflate his kid’s skill). But if she makes the same mistakes 10 years from now that she makes today, there is a problem; she will have not grown in the game.

New Christians, like a five-year-olds playing soccer for the first time, are going to make mistakes. This is expected, they are new to the life of the Christian. But if they are making the same mistakes after several years as a Christian, there is a problem. The problem: they have not grown as Christians because they have not “practiced” by learning about God through His Word and through seeking His will and asking for wisdom.

When my daughter is 16, I don’t expect her to play soccer like she does now; neither should long-time Christians be expected to make the same mistakes they did as new Christians. We all need to ask, are we as mature in the Christian life as we should be? I am convicted by this question.

By Chris Boggs

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