Every sports season seems to go by so quickly once it is underway.
It is hard to believe that the conclusion of this soccer season finds us with 13 completed soccer seasons in the books! Each of the fellow laborers that have joined with us over these years acknowledges the certain providence and goodness that God has shown. This season was no exception.
A huge thank-you to Charity D. for filming and editing this great Tournament recap video!
I’d like to share how God worked in three specific areas during this season.
- God did a great work among the parents and families of all those who participated. One of the greatest compliments we continue to receive is that our league is “different” from other leagues such as town or travel. We quickly admit that we will not produce any professional soccer players, but we do strive to make Christ and His hope the centerpiece of our league. It is this testimony that allows us to love and develop bonds with those in our community, and we trust they will someday know our Father. Jesus commanded us in Matthew 5:16 to “let our light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Since fewer than 15% of our soccer players came from Truth Baptist Church, the season also afforded fellowship and encouragement among believers from over 30 different churches as well as many residents from the community that surrounds us. Truth sports leagues are able to foster positive community spirit while effectively sharing with those around us our beliefs in the God we serve.
- God works not only through the lives of all our volunteers but also personally in their respective lives throughout the course of the soccer season. Long before the season even starts we are at work lining up volunteers (coaches, referees, café workers, childcare, first aid, grounds crew, and many more) that participate in this ministry. With so many areas that needed extra support due to growing numbers, our faith was put to the test right from the outset of the season. God provided people and resources to meet each need. It is amazing to see Him work!
There were over 50 people working each week, many with multiple roles, to ensure that the program ran smoothly. This season also included volunteers from 7 different churches. We were thankful to collaborate effectively with each one to further God’s kingdom. Every volunteer understood his role in helping create a product that will impact lives for eternity and as we all viewed our work in that light this ministry became even more passionate and purposeful than in preceding years. Ephesians 2:10 communicates these ideals best by stating, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before-hand that we should walk in them.”
God used the labor of the season to help each of us grow in an environment filled with joy and community as we participated in Kingdom work as a unified body of Christ.
- We also saw God work in the lives of each of our soccer players this season. He blessed us with a record number of participants…184! Few things are as pure as the excitement and joy a child shows as he or she learns a new concept, scores a goal, or wins a close game. As usual, the tournament had its share of shootouts and exciting finishes! It is within this fun, competitive environment that we were able to weave basic life principles as well as communicate the life-changing truth that Jesus loves each of them and has made it possible for every single one to know Him.
For each player, the soccer season also brings inevitable failure and loss. As coaches, we were able to encourage players to get up again, improve skills, and work together to achieve a better outcome. Each coach will tell you that the disarray felt at the beginning of the season is replaced by shock at the improvement by the end of the season. Weekly practice helped each individual’s skill increase while unifying the team as a whole. Each week also afforded growth spiritually, as coaches taught their teams from the Bible and encouraged sharing of prayer requests and burdens. In I Corinthians 15:58, Paul encourages us by writing, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” Our prayer is that the lessons team members learned over the course of the season will stay with them their entire lives.
God is so good; by His grace we completed another successful soccer season.
His guiding hand was evident in every aspect of our soccer league this year. See you in January for the tip off of Truth Basketball League! To God be the glory, great things He has done.