As many of you know I coach soccer for a local club. Another coach and I share our practices because we have teams with the same age range and it just seems to work better doing practices together even though we have separate teams on game days. We have done this for the last three seasons and it works pretty well, especially since when I started I didn’t know anything about coaching that I didn’t pick up from observation. I had been on teams with good coaches and not so good coaches growing up but this time I was the coach (or not so good coach.) I have learned a lot about this process and it is such an honor to be trusted by the families of these young men. We get to pray together and play together and work hard to improve our game as a team and some days that is frustrating and others I am amazed at how much they have grown. 

Being a pastor is a lot like being a coach. People come to you expecting some sort of expertise and ability that they can learn from. What is often not seen is how important it is to let the people you are coaching play. “Experience is the best teacher” it has been said and sometimes you just have to let people get out there and try something and fail a few times before they’ll learn how to do it. Trusting the players to learn from what they are experiencing is one of the harder things a coach has to do. Giving people space to learn and grow from their life is hard for those who want to help them succeed. We want to show them the “right” way and teach them what not to do from the start so they don’t have to experience failure. Sometimes though, failure is what they need to make the lesson stick. We are given the chance to see growth in the experiences of others, even (especially) their failures. Yes, heartbreak and pain often come through these things but trusting God with your life means trusting that the heartbreaking and painful things have a purpose.

Our heavenly Father is the greatest coach there is and it seems His favorite coaching method is experience. He calls us into many new, exciting, and scary experiences to give us the chance to grow our faith in Him; to learn something new about ourselves, to open the way for change in our lives, and to do what we were created to do, experience His love and joy at our existence as His beautiful children.  I hope that you take the chance to “practice” this week. Learning from God through your experiences and the opportunities He places before you. These are the things that God put before you to challenge and grow you into the person that He sees you being tomorrow. He knows your limits and abilities and anything that seems too big for you is never too big for Him. Get out there and play, make mistakes, learn, and grow!

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