1. What advice do you have for parents whose children are athletes?
Sports do not build character, sports expose character. Parents should emphasize their child's effort, attitude, courage, and self-sacrifice over performance.
Parents are responsible before God for leading their children to keep Christ at the center of all things, including athletic competition. Whether that means protecting the Lord's Day to prioritize the local church, having conversations with our children to help them think rightly before and after competitions, or guiding them through the disappointment of failure or bench-warming, Christian parents must lead with intentionality in every area of our children's involvement in sports. Let us lead in such a way that there is no question we value the glory of Christ above all else.
2. What are your thoughts on the current debate over sports and safety?
Our culture is [taught] the mantra that there is nothing more important than personal safety and I believe that makes it a dangerous place to live. The dictionary I keep on my office desk defines courage as, "the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous." Courage always demands a dose of danger. Recklessness and self-protecting safety both have the same sinful root: self-centeredness. Biblically, safety is not a virtue, but self-sacrificial courage certainly is. As we normally reckon safety youth sports are safe, and getting safer. [But] overvaluing safety above vital lessons that can be learned in athletic competition is shortsighted and dangerous in its own way.
3. How do we keep sports from becoming an idol?
C.S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity, the sin and corruption in the world was the result of people and institutions "trying to run it on the wrong juice." Every part of our lives, including our sports lives, must run on "the right juice" or we will inevitably turn gifts into idols. To run on the right juice, we must forsake a self-referential approach to life, embracing a radically Christ-centered life and walking humbly before God with fierce gospel-focused intentionality before man. Like all things, sports must be redeemed and renewed in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Detaching your love of sports from your Christian life turns it into a barrier rather than a bridge to glorifying Christ.