The Session: Balancing Sports & the Christian Family

The Session with Tom Russell

02-11-2023 • 25 minutos

Every family struggles with it.  You want to attend church as a family, but there's soccer practice, summer leagues, mid-week practices & more to pull your kids and family out of church.  How do you strike a balance?

The Session:  Managing Sports in the Christian Family

1 Corinthians 9: 24-27 says “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?



How can parents help their children develop a Christian worldview toward sports?

Sports can be a valuable tool to help develop a child’s character, faith, work ethic, discipline, poise, confidence and other wonderful life lessons.

On the other hand, sports can be a family idol when we lose proper perspective. Pastor, Ray Pritchard once said, “Idolatry lies in the worshiper, not in the thing worshiped. A golden calf is not an idol by itself … It is a wrong attitude that turns something good into something bad.”

Dr. Callentine feels strongly about suggesting we need a game plan based on Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (ESV)

Teach young athletes to make every effort to keep the Sabbath holy. Early in their athletic careers teach them to honor the Sabbath. Parents can be flexible with a different church schedule like Saturday evening attendance if the Sunday morning service would not work.

Thought from Scott (and we talked about this last week) ***Don’t forget on line services.  It might not be best to make this your weekly habit, but when tournaments happen, being able to watch on line later can be nice alternative.

Teach them to play for an audience of one. Teach them that their true identity is wrapped up in how God sees them. It is not in their performance or criticism of others.  **Your identity is in Christ, not softball or basketball.

Teach them to suffer well. Life is not always fair. Not everyone gets a trophy. It teaches them resiliency in life.

Teach them we all make mistakes. So often we strive for perfection but learning to take mistakes in stride helps develop character. Embracing that it is a fallen and damaged world will teach character to our children.  ***You don’t score a touchdown every time you touch the ball.

Discussion points (we didn't get to all of these, so maybe you can discuss these in small group or as a family):

What do you do about parents who push their kids into sports so they can re-live their own “glory days” through the children?

As a coach, how can you advise children who have these kinds of parents?

What damage can this do to A) the children, and B) the marriage

Should every child try to be in sports, even if it’s “not their gifting”?  What if they just plain can’t play second base like dad did…

Should parents push children with challenges toward Special Olympics or other organizations that have sports for the disabled?

What is an appropriate age for children to start playing sports?

And now for the landmine question.  If parents come up against trans athletes, AS CHRISTIANS, what is a proper response?  Go public, quit, forfeit, not participate?

(I’m thinking here of the lady’s college swim team that protested to the college when a trans swimmer tried to join the team, an Oberlin college women’s lacrosse coach who was “reassigned” after she made comments about trans athletes, high school girls volleyball players getting hurt by spikes by trans players, trans power lifters breaking women’s records in weight lifting, etc.)