Nelson Cook (behind) with LA college coaches 2009
Nelson Cook the founder of Coaches of Influence (COIN) in Los Angeles has been ministering to athletes and coaches for forty years and has hosted me on many occasions and invited me to address athlete and coaches' meetings and various men's functions.
Initiating his athlete ministry with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Dallas Texas, where I first was introduced to Nelson Cook on one of my first US Study Tours on Sports Mission, he relocated to Los Angeles twenty years ago to establish a highly specialist ministry to Christian coaches – professional, college and high schools.
Nelson Cook sends a regular devotional letter to his coaches and I have regularly reprinted these in this daily Christian Today column. This is his first for 2013.
Vrisian, Jack and Victor LA college coaches 2009
Contentment changed a critical spirit
Nelson Cook wrote: A few weekends ago I had my COIN booth at the largest football coaches' clinic in Southern California. I arrived early as I have for the past 20 years, but instead of getting my usual booth (by the registration table where all the coaches check in) I was asked to wait and they would find a place for me.
I waited a long time. Finally, the staff man in charge, whom I knew, returned and took me to the second floor. The bottom floor has most of the clinics, exhibitors, booths, and coaches. The second floor has very few of each.
I gave my time, booth spot, and what seemed like a lesser opportunity to talk to coaches, to the LORD. I thanked my host for the spot. The man in the booth next to me was complaining to the staff for being placed in an area that was "out of the flow".
Fast forward to the end of the clinic.
My exhibitor friend said to me, "I really appreciate how you handled being placed where they put you. Listening to you talk to the staff caused me to focus on the positives, not the negatives. I also listened to you talk to the coaches about the Lord. I haven't been to church in a long time, but I'm going back now. I have fallen away and need to get back to the Lord." I shared a gospel tract with him as well as with several coaches and the exhibitor on the other side.
This was probably the most fruitful clinic I've attended in a long time. Our outreach breakfast produced very positive results. Many coaches have asked for COIN T-shirts, and others want to start a Coaches Fellowship in their area. We shared the Gospel with many of the coaches and were complimented for our boldness.
My thought was if Jesus were to have come back at that time, most of the coaches there would likely not go to heaven, but into a Christless eternity. I don't want that for me, you, or anyone else. The COIN ministry let His Light shine at the clinic.
Terry Franson LA college coach 2009
Alone yet Together
Nelson Cook continued: This experience reminded me of the three-mile run up and then back down a long hill called Currahee was a regular training drill for Easy Company, the first paratroopers in the U.S. Army. The name "Currahee" means, "We stand alone together", and that hill became an icon for the deep camaraderie and lifelong community that these young men forged as they prepared for the D-Day invasion of Normandy and battles beyond.
Each paratrooper did "stand alone" at the airplane door before jumping out and into the line of enemy fire. However, they lived and fought "together". They depended on each other, and the world depended on them. A powerful statement of deep friendship, community, and purpose
Dr Steve Brown of KeyLife Ministries wrote: "Unfortunately, too many Christ-followers and Christian leaders simply "stand alone". The "together" or community component is missing. This is especially true in seasons of trial and challenge."
Bill Hybels says, "Our hearts were not built to handle hardships and heartaches of ministry (and life) alone."
We need each other. Romans chapter 1 verse 12: "... that I may be encouraged together with you, while among you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine."
Garret and Scott LA College coaches 2009
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. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at