She’s always gone. Traveling. On the go. Busy. Her weekends are filled with tournaments and games, her evenings are filled with practices, and any spare time left is devoted to school, family, and friends. So how are we supposed to reach these athletes when they seem to hardly be around?
Growing up, I played high school and club soccer, which meant that every season of the year, I was playing and practicing. We traveled most weekends to a league that was six hours away, which meant we missed a decent amount of Sundays in the spring and fall. Wednesday night youth group was always a hustle to attend coming straight from practice and throwing on a little deodorant to hopefully mask the sweat.
My life looked different and more full than my other friends who weren’t involved in sports, but when I look back to that season in middle school and high school, I remember it being the most foundational and transformational time in my walk with the Lord, despite my busy schedule, and here’s a few reasons why:
- My parents made church a priority while also encouraging the gifts the Lord had given me. There was little question if we would be attending church when we were around or available, and when we weren’t we were still talking about God and his Word, listening to teachings, and praising Him in song and speech as we went about the rest of our days.
- My friends were a huge accountability. There was a lot of checking in and seeing if I would be at church, and if I wasn’t able to make it, there were texts to check in and see how I was doing and letting me know I was missed. A sharpening, grace-filled, accountability making me want to be around when I could.
- My youth pastor’s wife reached out to me and asked if she could disciple me. She would meet with me one-on-one and in small groups. She always worked around my busy schedule and was willing to be flexible. Sometimes we would meet early in the mornings before school and study the word together and pray, and then she would drive me to school and have real life conversations on the way. Sometimes we would meet right after school in an off-season, or right before or after youth group depending on my practice schedule. She made intentional time to meet with me around my schedule and that made the world of a difference.
- My youth group had a leadership team, called “Doulos”. They challenged us to share our testimony with a certain number of people each week. They spent a few weeks helping us get our testimonies into a 2-3 minute, quickly shareable version, and then challenged us to share. This prompted me to then share the gospel and my testimony with my teammates (the people I was around most often). I remember many conversations on long bus rides where I was able to share the gospel and talk about beliefs with people who I knew weren’t Christians. There was even a time when I stood before my whole team of 20 girls and asked them if I could “practice” sharing my testimony before practice one day. I was able to use my gift of athleticism to promote and share the glory and gospel of Jesus Christ.
All of these examples to say, that the busy athlete is not “unreachable.” She is more time constrained than the next, but little investments make all the difference. So whether you are a parent, mentor, pastor’s wife, youth leader, etc. pour into those young athletes! Show up to their games, be interested in their life, be flexible to invest in unconventional hours or ways, shoot them an encouraging text, check in on them—you never know the ways that the Lord is going to use those little deposits. And you never know how that will then not only affect the one, but also a whole team of girls who need to hear about Jesus!
Brooke Wilson currently resides in Central Texas with her husband, Braden, who is in residency. Together, they have a one-year-old little boy, and Brooke works full time as a stay at home momma. Some of Brooke’s passions include: home, discipleship, women’s ministry, and finding the Lord’s glory woven into every single detail of our lives. If she isn’t stuck in a good book, watching a Dallas Cowboys football game, or enjoying time outside, you can probably find her writing over on her blog: www.theaweintheordinary.com.