Drew Provence on Why Sports is an Important Part of Your Child’s Spiritual Growth

Nearly 70% of kids in America play sports. But why? Is it just to have fun?

In addition to the excitement of playing a game, kids learn invaluable lessons while playing sports. They learn self-discipline and responsibility as they train and practice. They learn how to strategize and master skills, developing their minds as well as their bodies. They learn how to make and maintain friendships. They learn how to support one another through victory and defeat.

I have learned many of these lessons. My dad played in the NFL, and I was blessed with the opportunity to play professional baseball. But I also learned early on through my childhood involvement in an Upward Sports league with my local church that sports offer not just general life lessons but transformative spiritual lessons as well.

There’s a reason that Paul uses metaphors of races and running throughout the New Testament. The challenges faced by athletes are similar to those faced by Christians in their walk with God. In both instances, we must learn to push through weariness and adversity to reach a goal. Both sports and faith demand sacrifices and both promise joy.

Scripture commands us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:37). Far too often, however, we compartmentalize our lives: sports for the body, school for the mind and church for the soul. It’s an understandable approach, but it means the church implicitly teaches kids that Christ belongs in only one part of their lives rather than at the center of it all.

It doesn’t have to be this way. I’m a father now, and I know that by bringing God into sports, we can teach our kids to pursue Christ with their whole selves. Whether it’s teaching them how to lose graciously or how to help a struggling teammate, churches can use sports to help children come to know God more intimately and develop character and relationships that reflect His love.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Drew Provence