It has been my privilege since 1984 to have been hosted innumerable times by Nelson Cook in my years in sport ministry, the most recent was in 2009 where I addressed coaches over breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
This is Nelson Cook's latest letter:
"John Maxwell writes in "The 5 Levels of Leadership" that influence grows in stages. Leadership (which is a specific application of influence) is at its lowest level when based on position only. It grows and goes to a higher level as you develop relationships with others. That's when they give you permission to lead beyond the limits of your job description.
Nelson continues: Are coaches in such positions to build the relationship necessary to use their influence to change the culture on their campus? Absolutely! Is there a need today? More than ever!!
Consider the problem at one of the Santa Ana Unified schools this past year. Three retired administrators were sent to tackle student discipline problems at the school after 36 teachers and employees filed hostile work environment complaints. "It's a lot like Lord of the Flies … They've allowed the rough element to take over and run the place."
We know that we live in a sick society where more and more the truth of God's prophetic Word is being realised. Right is becoming wrong and wrong is becoming right.
2 Corinthians 4 verses 3-4 says, "If our Gospel is hidden, it is hidden from those who are lost, in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who believe not, so that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, would shine in to them."
Is it any wonder then that our theme is to let our light shine? Matthew 5 verse 16. Thousands of coaches are focused on winning, but sadly, not that many are committed to building winning kids.
COIN (Coaches of Influence) comes alongside coaches to build them in their faith, so they can reach their peers with the Gospel, and to strengthen and encourage them personally, so they build relationships with their kids and change their culture.
"To the weak I became weak, to win the weak; I have become all things to all people, so that by all possible means I might save some." I Corinthians 9 verse 22.
Nelson Cook's two points for his Coaches in 2014
The thought of choosing to be weak is almost anti–west today. We must be No1. Nelson Cook says (as an American) we live in the home of the brave. However, there are times when choosing weak is the right choice.
Today, let's consider who needs us to be number 2, so they can hear the Gospel. "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what the Lord requires of you, but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6 verse 8.
Did you notice that God is walking with us in that last statement? You never hear we're No2, we're No2. "He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness … I will boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2 Corinthians 12 verse 9.
Whom can we serve today? Who needs to see someone who is willing to die to self (ouch) and allow another to get the glory and recognition? Who among us is willing to take over our weaknesses, and glory in them?
The number on our jersey today may not be No2, but God is so pleased with that attitude of self-denial, weakness, and humility.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html