A Coach Who Plays the Game with You

by Katy Kauffman

I believe coaches and leaders can be divided into two categories. There’s the coach who shouts at the team from the side line, and then there’s the coach who runs the ladders with you. Which coach would you want?

I’ve had two basketball coaches who were the running type—Melissa Mathis and my dad, Rick Kauffman. Melissa became my church team’s coach the third year I played, and the next year Dad became her assistant. He took over coaching my last two years. Both of them loved to play scrimmage games with the girls, and my dad even ran ladders with us. Melissa was on the short side for a basketball player (like me since most of the girls passed me up in height), but she was fast.

I learned from Melissa and my dad that a leader is a part of the team, not just someone who barks orders from the bench. A true coach does the hard work that she expects from her team, and makes the work worthwhile, even fun. What an effective leader shouts to his team is encouragement, not demeaning remarks or hostility. A leader whose heart is like Christ’s, seeks to unify the team in love, not motivate them by a fostering a spirit of competition among its members.

Jesus is the perfect coach—He’s in the game of life with us. He doesn’t have to shout from the side lines. His Spirit within us whispers what’s on the Father’s heart—where to go, how to act, who to talk to about God, and even what to say. Jesus has played “the game” and won, so He knows how to direct us to make the most of our lives and score one goal after another before the buzzer sounds. He runs the ladders with us, strengthening us for the adventures He has in store.

After Jesus died, rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven, He wasn’t absent from the lives of His disciples. He was still in “the game.” Jesus’ disciples “went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs” (Mark 16:20 NKJV). Jesus worked with His disciples in sharing the gospel and affirming the truth through signs. Teamwork.

Has God been a coach you can count on to give you encouragement and direction? Have you seen Him work with His team—the church—in ministering to a hurting world? Maybe you’ve had a coach or leader who showed you God’s heart of gentleness and strength. Tell us if you have in the comments below, and celebrate with us that God is a Coach who works with His people—loving them, equipping them, and ministering through them.


© Copyright 2017 by Katy Kauffman

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coach, teamwork, God’s family, the church, Jesus, A Coach Who Plays the Game with You, Delighting in God’s Goodness series, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Comments (6)

  • anon

    The coach who runs with the team is such a good analogy for how closely Jesus walks with us. When I doubt my calling, He gives me confirmation through His Word or fellow believers. When I taught at the college level, a mentor gave me opportunities for which I felt incapable. She saw potential and offered support until I gained confidence. God sees potential in us and equips us for His calling. 

    Aug 10, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you, Jeannie. Having a mentor like that encourages us to keep doing what God leads us to and to excel at it. I'm glad He gave you one, and I'm grateful for the leaders who have helped me along the way. Thanks for sharing!

    Aug 10, 2017
  • anon

    I loved this post.  I was a cheerleader in high school and understand all about teamwork.  I really enjoyed the part of God running the ladders with us.  He is right by our sides showing us what to do.
    God has always been with me and guided me all my life and I am very thankful for that protection.
    Our church in Paris, Texas worked as a team to take care of me and my family when we had a child born with medical problems.  They were the picture of the body of Christ at work.
    Thanks Katy for this post.  Great job!

    Aug 10, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you, Adria! I'm so glad your church came alongside your family and helped you. It's vital to have people who run the race with us and fight the good fight. Thank you for sharing and commenting! I like it that God can run the ladders even when we give out. He's always at work. 

    Aug 10, 2017
  • anon

    I think your article can also apply to parents coaching their kids through life. This is very instructive and encouraging. 

    Aug 10, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you, Dorcas. It does apply to parents too, and if parents acted this way, I think it would help children to listen more and trust their wisdom. When parents are involved with their kids, it builds an "us" instead of a "me" and "them." Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    Aug 10, 2017

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Winning the Victory: A Blog by Katy Kauffman

Award-Winning Author, Editor, Bible Teacher

As co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies, Katy is a Bible study author and editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine. Follow Katy's blog to receive posts sharing practical strategies for winning life's spiritual battles. 


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