Summer 2024

The Increase: Live to Serve - Tyler Clutts

Service takes selflessness.

We’re all called to serve — not just at an event or by donating to a charity, but on a day-to-day basis we are designed to serve others. Many of us (I’m as guilty as anyone else) go to church each week expecting to be served. We sit in our seats and hope the pastor feeds us a good message, the worship team leads us in great music, the childcare team takes care of our kids, and that next week we won’t have to park too far away! All too quickly we get trapped in the me-first culture.

Lately, my wife, Tiffany, and I have experienced a transformation within our hearts, leading us to get plugged in and serve our church on a deeper level. This month, we’re jumping into the junior high ministry with the hope to influence these young kids for Christ. I love this age group because they’re still formative, listening to adults and hoping to learn from them. If we’re able to impact kids during the challenging years they’re facing, we can possibly help to change the trajectory of their lives.

I remember my junior high years being hard — talk about a struggle with identity! I had no idea who I was; I was always looking around at others, trying to be someone else. I want to encourage these young kids to not do what I did at their age. It’s crucial for them to realize they can set their foundation in something so much greater and much more consistent than what our culture runs toward today. We’re all prone to be driven by popularity or acceptance, and as these kids try to figure out what’s going on in life, I want them to know they need to focus not on what culture says, but what God teaches us through His Word.

I’m excited to teach these kids more about the Bible. As I remember often hearing in college, you learn about 15 percent of what you hear, 25 percent of what you see, 70 percent of what you do, and 99 percent of what you coach/teach. In order to teach others, you have to have an understanding of what it is you are teaching. You need to be able to explain and unpack the subject in a way that others can comprehend. Teaching is the best way to learn!

When I was in the NFL, I often acted like a field coach to myself and others. If I wasn’t sure about a play or technique, I would learn it. I wanted to understand the game as much as I possibly could — so well that I could teach it to anyone. I would talk to players and coaches who had more experience than I did. I would go into the film archive room and re-watch tape after tape of the tactic being carried out in a game. I wanted to understand the context of the play, the setting in which to use it, the technique and strategy behind it, and how it came about.

This is the same way I want to read God’s Word — discovering the time frame, context, setting, meaning and purpose. I don’t want to be a teacher or mentor who only applies the text to our personal everyday lives without understanding the original purpose and meaning. The Bible isn’t meant to “fit” into our lives; we’re called to live our lives by what the Bible teaches! I want this type of fervent learning and eager anticipation for discovering the truth of God’s Word to catch like wildfire among these junior highers.

When I was in eighth grade, I remember my grandpa baptizing me. I’ll never forget it. He was always someone I looked up to. He was consistent and faithful. He did not waver in his walk with the Lord and he never got too worked up about situations that would spring up in front of him. As I watched my grandpa — a pastor — lead a church community, I couldn’t help but see the level of impact he had on people. It was so apparent. When we lost him many years later, it was incredible to see all the lives he had impacted for Christ. They all came to celebrate his joy-filled, loving and selfless life.

Just like my grandpa did for me, I hope to show these junior highers a consistent and faithful life lived for the Lord. I hope these kids feel the freedom to come to me just to sit and talk, knowing they won’t be condemned or judged, but instead loved. In the same way my grandpa represented Christ to me through his actions, words and presence, I hope to influence others.

— Tyler Clutts is a NFL veteran who played for the Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys.

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