Nelson Cook who established Coaches of Influence (COIN) 30 years ago in Los Angeles USA writes a monthly letter to the many coaches at professional, college and high school levels and the current correspondence touches the spot.
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 another of those Christian ministry movements where one person has a vision for a ministry area that had been untapped and gathered support to engender the dream and saw how God unleashed his 'touch' upon the evangelism.
There is a growing number of these 'niche' ministries that highly specialise into a people group and coaches are a vital people group in the American culture who both influence the life of high schools, colleges and professional teams, but have a huge input into the lives of their charges.
To this extent Nelson Cook's vision grew its feet and with the Lord's blessing that this ministry is now a light on the landscape and this is Nelson Cook's latest letter to his coaching personnel:
In a recent Nelson Cook newsletter to his coaches he wrote:
Not long ago, National Geographic produced a documentary about one of the peoples who inhabit South Africa. They are known as the Bushmen, who live in the San Region. The combination of wildlife, scenic beauty, and amazing culture combine to make that region unforgettable.
This particular story was about a small village of San people, who lived off the land in one of the most arid places on earth, the Kalahari Desert. They had one tiny well (a borehole really) that was the sole water source for them and their small herd of goats and sheep. They had one indispensable possession; a small single cylinder diesel motor that pumped the water out.
It broke down in the middle of the dry season. The dire gravity of the situation was immediately apparent. To survive, the small clan of families set out in desperate search for water.
By chance (or perhaps not), a visitor came from overseas to visit this little clan of gentle subsistence farmers, shepherds, and hunters. When he arrived at the deserted village, instead of returning home, he undauntedly tracked them down 150 miles away. They were suffering severely, many on the verge of death.
The visitor was not an anthropology professor or missionary, he was a mechanic by trade. After a lengthy effort at persuading the San, he led them back safely to the village grounds they had abandoned. Within half a day, he was able to repair the small diesel engine.
When the pump restarted and the water began to flow up through the skinny piping, joyous pandemonium ensued. It was as though Heaven had come to earth.
As coaches and leaders, God has put each of us into a region, school district, and neighborhood to exercise our gifts to be used of Him to encourage and repair hearts. It's not easy in a culture that is not honoring biblical values and Godly character.
We must pursue the opportunities, much like the mechanic who tracked down the Bushmen. We have the opportunity to bring them back to God. II Corinthians 5:20: We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
We must realise the dire gravity of those who live in this world, but apart from the saving life of Jesus Christ.
If you and I are followers of Christ, we need to honour His command to preach the word; be instant in season and out ... II Timothy 4:2.
What a privilege to be His ambassador and serve Him daily, bringing the water of life to those who are thirsty.
Prime the pump, fill your cup and give it away, and you'll be moving ...
Onward and upward,
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 http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html