SNAPSHOTS OF DISCIPLESHIP
no practice! Game on Saturday
by Ron Hunter
For more resources on Christian education and church growth, visit www.randallhouse.com.
THE TEAM HAS MIXED TALENT. Some members have played since they were five. For others, this is their very first season. Your child, who you feel has real potential, has been assigned to a coach who doesn’t see the need for practice. He is a pretty good coach—on game day. It is obvious that he loves the kids. He encourages them. He treats everyone fairly. He even uses what little time he has during the game to instruct them.
Is it enough to work on fundamentals just during the game? Does your child deserve more attention, teaching, and coaching than just one hour a week? You would be astounded if a coach, who claims to care for the game, did not insist on practicing during the week. You might even talk to the league organizers about swapping teams or at least coaches.
The coach provides some good reasons not to practice. It is time-consuming and takes extra work. Not everyone participates. Many only work at it half-heartedly. It is hard, if not impossible, to get the support of the parents. People are so busy today that he doesn’t insist on it.
Until now, I have been careful to avoid mentioning a sport of any kind so you could apply this to whatever sport your child or grandchild plays. While easier weeks may appeal to you, you know a coach with this work ethic will not help your child become a better soccer player, baseball player, football player, volleyball player, or…Christian.
Did I say “Christian?” Yes, and the coach I described earlier could easily be a Sunday School teacher. Game day? I’m sure you have figured out the metaphor is Sunday School. Some teachers believe that one hour a week is sufficient for instructing and preparing a person for life as a believer. They do not see the importance of using student books (practice) at home to instruct, coach, or inspire students for their daily walk.
In Deuteronomy 6:1-15, the writer says
job of teaching God’s Word begins in the
not in Sunday School.
What are some goals that a coach could accomplish by encouraging practice during the week? Better disciplined players, greater consistency, improved technique, players with more confidence in their abilities, improvement in weak areas, a better team player, chemistry formed with teammates and coach, and unquestionably a more fulfilling game day.
In Deuteronomy 6:1-15, the writer says that job of teaching God’s Word begins in the home not in Sunday School. God commanded (He did not suggest) that parents teach their children the Word of God. Biblical teaching is to pervade the home. Deuteronomy 6 does not even say “reflect on or remember what you have read.” It says “write the truths upon your door posts, teach them when you sit down, when you go to bed, and when you wake up in the mornings.”
Don’t cancel practice. Make the most of practices during the week to teach scriptural truth. Show your children how to have devotional time. It is not enough to tell them to do it, coach them on how. Give them a devotional tool that is age appropriate. At Randall House, we see this as vital to the development of not only children and teens but adults as well. As part of the CLEAR curriculum we produce a devotional magazine for every member of the family (children, teens, adults) to be done at home. The magazines can be used without CLEAR being taught in Sunday School. However, they make a stronger impact when the teacher reinforces the devotions and Bible studies covered during the week. It is like game day with a little practice Monday through Friday. The same reasons that a child needs to practice for sports are the same reasons we should dive into God’s Word daily.
Adults are typically the most likely to say things like, “Don’t treat me like a school child and give me homework,” or “I am too busy to do this stuff,” or “This costs too much.” Not doing it, I can promise you, is far more costly in more ways than one. Your children and grandchildren will take their cues from parents and teachers. Your behavior—whether doing devotions or not doing them—will influence them. Be careful not to skip your own practice times because it will show up on your game day and theirs.
About the Writer: Ron Hunter, Jr.is general director of Randall House Publications. Contact Ron at firstname.lastname@example.org.