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:
Do you have a personal Mission Statement that simply says what you want God to do through you? I have written down mine ... 'Becoming a fruitful disciple of Jesus Christ'.
Becoming - means it's a process.
Fruitful - means I desire to fulfill John 15:5 where in abiding in Christ I bear fruit.
Disciple - means I am a learner and as I learn, I teach. (II Tim. 2:2)
Jesus Christ - is the Lord that I live for and follow.
One area that God calls 'all of us' to is the place of being a labourer in the field, praying for and sharing Christ and the good news with those God has put around us.
I am an infant when it comes to being a man that God will use greatly to see souls saved for eternity, BUT I am travelling the road. I want to be a man He can use. How about you and me?
One hero is a man called John "Praying" Hyde, a missionary to India in the early 1900's. He gave his life praying for souls to be saved. In 1908 he prayed for God to give him a soul 'every day'. That year he won over 400 to Christ. The next year he prayed for two souls a day, not just to pray a prayer, but be baptised and consecrated to Christ, and saw over 800 won to Christ. Then in 1910 he prayed for four souls a day and God granted his request.
Dear saints, it is overwhelming to me and I feel like an ant in a land of giants, but my God asks us to be His labourers, His seed planters, His warriors and ambassadors. Pray for me to be faithful to the end, to fight the good fight of faith, to follow Christ wherever He leads, AND the challenge is NOT just mine; He has called you to the same.
For we are HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared BEFOREHAND, that we would walk in them. Ephesians Chapter 2 verse 10
Have you asked God for the souls of your family and your relatives?
Have you asked Him for your TEAM, your coaching friends, their families??
Have you asked Him for your enemies' souls???
Have you asked Him for ONE soul
Hebrews Chapter 3 verse 13: But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called today, lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
I Thessalonians Chapter 5 verse 11: Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you are doing.
I Samuel Chapter 23 verse 16: And Jonathan, Saul's son, arose and went to David at Horesh, and encouraged him in God.
We ALL need encouragement, just like a plant needs water. And we need it over and over again.
Catch your family (friends, students/athletes) doing something right. Let then 'know' you're proud of them and believe in them. Let your speech affirm them and positively encourage them. Be careful of the big BUT! I like that way you did this ... BUT (you just killed the compliment).
'Encouragement is twice as powerful as Praise. Praise says you are great because you did something. (There's nothing wrong with praise, it's just that encouragement is twice as strong.) Encouragement looks at a person not for what he/she did, BUT who they are and says I'm thankful for you!
Sometimes we need to see from God's perspective and encourage people not just for who they are, but also through Christ, who they are to become. See His greatness in others and build on it.
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