The Case for Coaches (Domestically, Speaking)
Players from the newly formed Good News Soccer Club were in their post-game huddle. Having just lost their game 5-0, a young girl who had been on the bench jumped up to pray. She thanked God for the opportunity to play, that no one got hurt, and that no fights broke out. Also, she was thankful for the coaches and for Coach Rich and that they could all come together and play that day. To this young lady, the game was incidental to the relationships with people and her growing relationship with God.
It is exciting to note that this team is comprised of youth from Thompson Child and Family Focus, a leading provider of clinical and prevention services for children and families across the Carolinas. Through the efforts of Rich Riehl, SO Southeast Ministry Director, SO has been a partner with Thompson for about a year and Rich recently reported that “We have absolutely seen hope restored and lives transformed using sports as a strategy.” Not only is soccer being played at Thompson on a weekly basis, but chess is being played at a charter school and sports-related ministry is taking place in the Jackson Park area of Charlotte, NC as well.
In the past year, SO’s domestic ministry has expanded even further, to include South Carolina and Georgia (Ed Pulkinen coach), and Texas (Josh Martin, coach). Soccer and sports camps and mentorship programs are gaining traction, with plans to eventually establish coaches in each state. SO staff members see coaches filling crucial roles in the lives of at-risk children and youth, and as Kendall Alvey (SO Domestic Ministry Director) has observed, “A coach has an incredibly impactful influence. Even some of our pastors overseas are known better by the name ‘Coach.’”
God has faithfully brought qualified and godly coaches to SO, and as He continues to grow the domestic side of the work, some unique features of the SO model of ministry become evident:
(1) SO identifies the church as the key component in reaching the community and in the discipleship process;
(2) SO has a broad scope of sports ministry in that the focus is not primarily on competitive athletes;
(3) SO most often meets coaches where they are at in their own communities instead of offering them positions at already established ministry sites.
As additional coaches are trained, they are provided fellowship and an organizational umbrella through SO, even as they continue to reach out and impact their own neighborhoods and cities. They do this by stepping on the field and leveraging the coach-to-player relationship. They then get the opportunity to step off the field into peoples’ lives and walk with them as they connect to the larger body of Christ, the local church.
Many opportunities exist to get involved with the Domestic Ministry side of SO, including as a volunteer, intern, or “Timothy” program participant (for those who have aged out of sports camps). For further information on these possibilities, and specifically if you desire to become a local ministry coach, and be part of the exciting expansion taking place, visit our USA page or apply below. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
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Do you know anyone who would like to be a coach or has a passion for sports ministry?
P.O. BOX 11855 LYNCHBURG, VA 24506
INFO@SPORTSOUTREACH.NET | 434-582-4707