Patrick Nix on Coaching and the Gospel

There are few professions that provide the opportunity to build relationships with young people like the profession of coaching. I have always considered coaching my ministry and not just my job. It is a mission field unlike any other. As Christ-followers, we are all called to spread the gospel, and as a coach, I get the privilege of doing this in a unique way.

I grew up a coach’s son. My dad was blessed to have a very successful forty-plus year coaching career. He saw many winning seasons and championships, but the lessons that I and many others learned from him went well beyond the field. There were life lessons taught but it was the eternal lessons that are most valued. My dad is not only one of the best coaches I have ever been around but he is also the godliest. And it was his example that has had the most influence on my coaching career.

A Day I’ll Never Forget

The most impactful lesson under his influence came during my ninth-grade year in high school. My dad had been the head coach for two seasons and they were two of the most successful seasons the school had ever experienced. Small town politics got involved and the superintendent and the school board decided to let him go. You can only imagine how angry that made his ninth-grade son. I just could not understand how that could possibly happen to someone with such stellar character and success on the field.

The day after my dad was released, he had a team meeting. I was in that team meeting, bitter and angry. As the meeting began, my dad thanked the players for allowing him to coach them and the effort they had given. What happened next would change not only my life but countless others. Right there in the locker room during what I considered one of the darker days of my life, my dad began to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the team. I was torn with emotions. I was so bitter and angry at what they had done to my dad but I was overwhelmed that my dad had such strength and courage in that situation to share Jesus. That one moment taught me more about following Christ and the influence of ministry in coaching than any other and has had the most impact on my life and coaching career.

The coaching profession has given me the opportunity to be a light of hope for some that may not have ever seen or even heard of the hope we have in Jesus Christ. I have the opportunity on a daily basis to show the love of Jesus by the way I love the kids that not only play for me but also walk the halls of my school. I have the opportunity to show the compassion of Jesus by the compassion I show to them. I have the opportunity to show the righteousness of God by the way I hold them accountable each day. For many of the kids a coach comes in contact with, we may be the only example of Jesus they see. It is an incredible opportunity, and the responsibility can be overwhelming without the courage, strength, and protection of the Holy Spirit.

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Source: Church Leaders

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