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SPORTS PHILOSOPHY

God created our human bodies and by developing our God-given talents and abilities, athletics should bring glory to our Heavenly Father. Athletics from a Christian perspective should have several distinct characteristics that, when followed, allow us as coaches, athletes, and supporters to bring glory to God. These distinctives are drawn from God’s Word and, therefore, may be different from “the world’s” viewpoint. It is vital that each Christian athlete, coach, and supporter be willing to submit, make changes, grow and mature so that God will be pleased. Sometimes this change is difficult due to past experiences, ingrown patterns, respected examples and simple tradition (“I coach the way I was coached”), yet these need to be brought under the scrutiny of God’s Word to determine if they are pleasing to Him (Leviticus 20:23, Romans 12:1-2). The distinctives that are discussed below are meant to give a Christian perspective to athletics and to help direct us toward Christ-like behavior and attitudes.

 

Distinctive #1:

Elevate the reputation of Jesus Christ.

A team establishes many goals, none of which should be greater than bringing glory to our Lord and Savior. As a Christian school, we should be obviously different in our attitudes and actions. Unfortunately, it is all too often the case that many observers may be turned away from our Lord because of our conduct. We are called by our Lord to be a “light on a hill” in an athletic contest. Granted, we will suffer some setbacks in this high goal, yet we need to continually encourage our athletes and coaches to pursue the elevation of Christ’s reputation. Realistically, some athletes are not in a position to make this commitment. They should be coached to submit to the coaches’ rules for conduct which does not allow for negative, unsportsmanlike behavior.

 

Distinctive #2:

Athletics is part of the whole person, not a separate part.

Unfortunately, many have come to believe that there is a legitimate difference between morality in sport and in everyday life. This is not taught by Jesus Christ. When the “fruit of the Spirit” is discussed in Galatians 5:22-23, no mention is made to indicate these traits are part-time. We should accept actions on the field as an indication of the true person, rather than excuse them because an athlete may be under stress. A practical application could be that our language on the field or court should be the same as that in the pew, living room or classroom.

 

Distinctive #3:

A person’s personhood and performance should not be linked together.

The Bible instructs us not to place our worth in circumstances, but in the position we have in Christ. Our self worth is not to be determined by a win-loss record. An athlete may perform poorly, yet he needs to be confirmed that he is still worthwhile, valuable, loved and accepted. This is God’s example to us; in that, while we were still sinners He loved us and sent His Son to die for us. Therefore, success needs to be evaluated on the type of people we are developing, on the characteristics and qualities our athletes are claiming for themselves; not on our finish in league or win-loss record.

 

Distinctive #4:

Allow God to grant victory or defeat.

The Bible has numerous accounts of God’s people suffering, dying, losing, and enduring hardships and persecutions. We must not equate victory in battle as proof of God’s blessing or approval. We must be willing to endure any situation God chooses for us and accept it as part of His omnipotence and plan. God is more concerned with the process of attaining success than the success itself. It is clear in Scripture that obedience, hard work and patience does not always result in victory; at least not in this world (Genesis 37-50). This position, however, does not mean we do not have the responsibility to play our best. Losing for the sake of Christ and using this philosophy as a cop-out is not bringing glory to God. A relevant quote from The Sanctification of the Sport by Hoffman states, ‘Recognize that if a sport is to be a sport at all, the objective of winning must not be de-emphasized. The spoilsport who does not try to win is worse than a cheat. At the same time, however, we must be careful not to delude ourselves into thinking that God in any way cares about the outcome. Those who feel that God especially cherishes winners or that somehow a win glorifies Him more than a loss, have theologically reduced God to a spectator who sits on the sidelines caught up in the surprises of the contest. Our emphasis in this area is two-fold: prepare to win and play to win; then allow God to exercise His will.”

 

Distinctive #5:

As authorities established by God, umpires and officials receive our honor and respect.

All authority comes from God (1 Peter 2:13). Oftentimes human authorities make human mistakes which have a negative impact on us. Our response to this injustice is of great importance to God. Which is more important, my rights or God’s reputation? 1 Peter 2:la states, “For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.” Are we willing to accept injustice, which is common to all men, in a way that would further the cause of Christ? Do our teams learn from the coaches not to blame referees and umpires, nor to complain about field conditions, etc. (Philippians 2:14)? We cannot change the conditions so why not live “above” them and let people see the difference.

 

Distinctive #6:

Athletics is a vehicle to educate the whole person.

Our God has created many vehicles which are intended to teach us about life. Drama, music, academics and athletics are a few. We need to provide an environment through which God’s truths can be effectively communicated. In athletics, one experiences all human emotions from joy to sorrow, pride to humility, camaraderie to loneliness. These experiences provide opportunities for godly Christian coaches to come alongside and impart God’s truths about how these situations should be handled. For the Christian, this opportunity extends further than just the physical and emotional needs and rewards. The Christian coach and athlete recognize spiritual needs and are therefore able to bring their whole being into submission to Christ. To conclude, much could be said to further amplify these Biblical distinctions. This brief account is intended for thought and discussion. It is vital to communicate clearly to our athletes these distinctives and many others. Our parents and supporters will also make a difference in the success or failure of our programs, and therefore need to understand and support the Christian Distinctives of our athletic program. May God be glorified through our involvement and direction into His athletic programs at Forest Lake Christian School.

 

 

Program Goals

Our chief goal is to elevate the reputation of Jesus Christ.

 

 

High School

  • Interaction: to provide an environment for young people to enjoy each other and a sport outside the classroom setting.
  • Eligibility: to foster a desire in the athlete to manage their academics and behavior in such a manner as to gain the privilege of participation in the school-sponsored sports program.
  • Sponsor Competitive Teams: to establish teams geared toward the competitive nature of CIF-sanctioned sports. Team size may be limited by ability and/or practicality.
  • Develop Athletic Goals: to provide an opportunity for an athlete to gain knowledge and skill for advanced levels of commitment or skill.

Junior High School

  • Interaction: to provide an environment for young people to enjoy each other and a sport outside the classroom setting.
  • Eligibility: to foster a desire in the athlete to manage their academics and behavior in such a manner as to gain the privilege of participation in the school-sponsored sports program.
  • Gain Awareness: to foster an appreciation for specific sports beyond the Physical Education Class; to communicate an expectation of commitment necessary for CIF sports at the HS level.
  • Participation: to provide the opportunity for as many students to play sports as demonstrate interest, within reason of adequate supervision.