Originally Posted by Mike Young June 2007
Men, this past week I served as a guest speaker at a children’s sports camp. It was a great opportunity to serve a local church and talk with children about walking with Christ. Although working with children is not part of the Noble Warriors primary ministry strategy, I viewed this as an opportunity to connect with some young folks with the hope of eventually being able to reach their dads. I had fun relating God’s Word to sports and interacting with the kids. A total of eleven children made professions of faith at the end of the week. Wow! It was a blessing to be used by God in this way. Will you join me in giving God praise for what He has done in the hearts of the children?
Some of you guys, like me, are constantly looking for simple ways to share spiritual truths with your children.
I thought I would pass along some of the things I used with the kids at the camp. (The background ideas came from the Mega Sports Camps ‘Go the Distance’ curriculum. I used the daily themes and developed my own stories, etc.) The key verse for the camp was 2 Timothy 4:7 where Paul writes to Timothy, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”
Here are some of the things we talked about each day. Dads, use some of these ideas to talk with your children about walking with Christ.
Our ability to play a sport or do anything in life will never improve if we aren’t willing to change.
I talked with the kids about how changing some aspect of their game (stance, movement, strategy) can improve their performance and competitiveness. But, if we aren’t willing to change, we’ll never improve. Men we can apply this idea to all aspects of our lives. Tell your kids about how you’ve made changes in your life to get better. The spiritual truth is this… we are all sinners, we say, do and think things that make God unhappy. Our hearts are sinful, but God wants to change our hearts and he can do it. That doesn’t mean that we’ll stop sinning but the price for our sins has been ‘paid for’ by Christ.
Discuss Romans 10:9 with your kids. Talk about how your relationship with God has changed your life.
Playing a sport means we’ll have to step up to some challenges. We will have to endure hardships and keep going.
There is a natural tendency in all of us to resist pain and difficulty but we have to remember that to become a better player, we’ll have to suffer through some challenging practices and contests. Getting better at anything is not usually comfortable. Tell your children about a time in your life when you had to suffer through some hardships to get better. The same is true of our spiritual lives. Sometimes we have to fight through some tough spiritual battles. They aren’t any fun when we are in the middle of the pain and suffering but when we get through them, we can see how God used them to make us stronger and prepare us to serve Him better.
Discuss Romans 5:4-5 with your children. Talk about a time of spiritual hardship in your life.
It’s easy to think that only ‘team’ sports require teamwork but that’s just not true. Even athletes who compete in individual sports typically have a ‘team’. That team could consist of a coach, a trainer and/or fans. Even though the player may be on the court, mat, or course alone, he or she didn’t get there alone. We all need a team to strengthen, encourage and support when we’re winning or losing. You might tell your kids a story about a team you have been on. This is true of our spiritual lives as well. We need to be on God’s team. He certainly wants us on His team but we have to be willing to join him.
Dad, tell your kids about being on God’s team and about some of the men who you consider your teammates in life; the guys who encourage you and hold you accountable. I John 4:4 might be appropriate here… the one who is in you is greater that the one who is in the world.
It makes a big difference when we’re on God’s team.
Guys, I’m running out of space here but you can handle this one with just a little prompting. You can’t throw, hit or kick a ball well without following through on your motion.
In order to maximize your effort you must complete your swing, stroke or action.
You can easily demonstrate this concept for your kids. This also applies to our spiritual lives. We can’t do or be all God wants for us if we don’t maintain our walk with Him and follow through with our commitments.
Men, read 2 Timothy 4:7-8 with your children and talk about how you are constantly working to remain faithful to God and finish the race with Him.
Make sure you find opportunities and time to teach spiritual truths to your children.
Bonus: Currently, FamilyLife is offering a free summer reading guide, Must-Read Books for Dads to Read to Their Kids This Summer. Get your copy here.