A mom wrote me a quick question and asked…Baseball Game or Youth Group…which one wins?
I may not make any new friends by giving this answer, but at least you can always expect me to be real.
Baseball wins. Hands down in my book. And I will tell you why.
First of all, if you committed to a team, you committed. Now you can go all Eric Liddell on me if you want to, but you are really gonna lose there for several reasons.
One: Your team is relying on you.
You committed to excellence when you signed up for the team. Your son needs to be at as many practices and games as possible. It is his silent witness as a good example. He will learn far more there about contribution, leadership, and striving for physical excellence than he will at most youth groups. And I say this with all the love in my heart I have for youth groups, their pastors and volunteers…but physical competition and working for a collective goal is way more likely to be met on the field than in youth group. Likely, it is just for a season anyhow. Missing 8-10 weeks of youth group is fine. But missing out on sports altogether is just NOT.
Two: Regular church attendance is a given.
When you are a member of a church, your regular attendance is a given. Participating and serving in church is a natural result of a believer’s desire to see more come to the faith. There are those parents who skip church and think they are doing God a favor when they bring junior to youth group…as if that is enough for him to grow into a man of God. Now, I know that this momma who asked me this question is certainly not delusional in this sense at all. I merely mention it because there are those kinds of parents. If you are reading this website, then you are likely NOT one of those…but just in case, I am covering this base. Pun intended.
Three: Don’t be a legalist. You’re a witness on and OFF the field.
I once had a friend years ago that poo-pooed every kid who was really into sports. Legalistically, she put them down and exalted herself for continuously having her kids in church every time the doors were open. She accused other parents of making sports into idolatry. The result? She now has un-athletic and legalistic jerks for kids. No thank you.
Personally, I have come to see my kids sports teams and leagues as a great missionary field. I encourage every parent and kid that will listen. I try and find a way to weave Jesus into the conversation. My kids do the same! We have seen great fruit that way! Many times when Daly Kay would have swim meets that were on Sundays or out of town, we would find a Saturday service or attend a local church’s evening service. It became a learning experience to visit new churches in different locations and see what God would have to say to us while we did so! And we have been known to miss church altogether for a triathlon…or two…or several in a year…and somehow my adult child loves Jesus, serves faithfully, and is incredibly athletic. And out there in the race, she has influenced and affected dozens of lives, adults and children alike…while she is skipping church 😉
Now, I know this momma who wrote me this question has a great youth group and an even more amazing kiddo because he eagerly wants to be involved in church. But the lesson here is that while church attendance is not up for discussion, youth group can be for a season. And even when a special game or out of town competition takes you away from your church, you can still find a way to meet with your Maker and meet your requirements as a participator on the team. The overall goal of teaching our child HOW TO WIN at life involves competition, includes church, and perhaps the most important lesson of all…how to prioritize.