By: Zach Arington
When a pandemic hits, that doesn’t mean God stops moving. Instead, these unprecedented times create unique opportunities to further the kingdom of God.
For the past two months, I have been helping get coaches of different sports to share their coaching philosophies via zoom video calls for coaches in the Russian speaking world. FCA Eurasia had asked if coaches could share through a translator and then a few coaches on call in Ukraine would ask questions on the topic. So far we’ve had three basketball coaches, two baseball, one lacrosse, and one strength and conditioning. On the seven calls we’ve had 15 coaches from Ukraine participating, many of whom are National Team coaches. The calls are filmed and put on the FCA Eurasia Vimeo page and they have received about 1000 views in total.
We will continue these calls as we still have one strength and conditioning, two football, and a soccer coach to go. These men have been former SportsReach alumni as well as coaches from sports ministry organizations, UPI, SCORE, and Athletes in Action.
SportsReach has been partnering with FCA Ukraine for the past 4 years. The ability to continue to reach coaches and athletes when we can’t physically be there has been something that has brought me great joy. It gives me hope that the Kingdom of God is still moving and growing even in these strange times.
I asked FCA director of Ukraine Liosha Yukhymchuk his thoughts on how this is going. Liosha said, “FCA sees this as a great opportunity to connect with coaches during this pandemic. All of the coaches participating receive a free card to go through our 3D Coaching course which teaches how to coach not only the physical but mental and spiritual parts of the athletes. This allows the coaches to then share the videos and training with other coaches that they know. The goal of FCA is to have more coaches go through the 3D coaching program so that coaches will see the spiritual value and importance of coaching. It is a great discipleship training and allows us to grow our relationship with the coach to then share the Gospel and they in turn can do the same for their athletes.”
All of the coaches that have participated have seen that they are coaching more than just a game. One of the coaches shared, “I always questioned my calling as a coach. But I once met a guy on the street (who I had formerly coached) and he became the head of the police department in the city. He expressed his gratitude for the time he was coached. Even though he did not go far in the sport he did become a leader in his community.”
The coaches that have shared have found it very rewarding. Coach Chad Mayes, the head women’s basketball coach of Asbury University, shared,
“I find myself thinking about the coaches that I was able to interact with via the video call since the day I spoke with them! It was amazing to see how the game of basketball links people together all over the world. Then to see their genuine care for their players by the questions they ask was so uplifting to me! God is definitely setting the stage for something powerful there!”
Clif Marshall, Head strength coach for the Indiana University men’s basketball team said, “I enjoyed talking with coaches in different countries who speak a different language. It occurred to me that our faith and our sport can connect us with people around the world.”
I am so grateful to be a part of SportsReach. The trips I have taken and the people I have met prepared me to think of ways to keep sharing the love of Christ using whatever means and relationships that I have. I can’t wait to be traveling again and seeing our partners in ministry in person. However, this has been a great way to support in this difficult time.
Photo Credit: FCABack to blog