When I was in high school the sport of lacrosse was my life. I thought about playing as I went to bed, I dreamed about playing when I was asleep, and upon waking up at an absurd hour for school I found peace in knowing I got to play that day.
I am looking at this next semester much like a season of my beloved sport. The passion and competitive nature I once had for a game of sticks and hard rubber balls has been transferred to the ministry that God has given to me here at school.
Every year when lacrosse season came around, we would spend the three our so weeks before our first gaming in intense practice. It was during this time that tryouts at the different positions were held to determine the hierarchy of players, fundamental skills here de-rustified, offense and defenses were coordinated, habits were formed, plays were written, and our bodies were put into shape. Once the first game came, the train would leave the station and the hectic schedule of traveling and playing would not leave much room for the “basics.”
Without a doubt this intense time of training and preparation was pivotal to the success of the season; it laid the foundation and pace that we would be playing at and established how we were going to handle tough situations in the future. This is no different than our ministries as Christians. The fact of the matter is that we are human… we cannot work for God like the energizer bunny. God knows our limitations as humans and often gives us these “preseason training” sessions to prepare for the work that is to be done. My one prayer was that I wouldn’t waste my preseason training during this winter session.
What does a spiritual preseason look like? This is something that I asked myself and after a month of attempting to put together a “workout schedule,” this is what I came up with for myself:
- Tryouts for positions: Figuring out what my role is this semester.
- What kind of position does God have in mind for me to play?
- What are my spiritual gifts/strengths? Weaknesses?
- Sometimes coaches will see potential in something that you never have and suggest that you try a new position. Is this the case for me?
- How can I be of the most use to Coach God and the team here at Umass?
- This part of the preseason also includes understanding the roles/positions of others on your team
- Fundamental Skills (Things to really get down)
- Reading/studying scripture
- Prayer – Getting your heart in line with the desires of God
- Offense / Defense Coordination
- Understanding and developing your personal gospel presentation to be able to share with others
- Apologetics – this was important for me as I had a few experiences last semester that left me unequipped to give an intellectual defense for God
- Forming Good Habits for the Semester
- QUIET TIME, QUIET TIME, QUIET TIME
- Scheduled, consistent, daily.
- How? Just do it.
- Constantly being in the spirit of prayer
- Always looking to God for help / giving him credit where credit is due (everywhere…)
- Prayer walking
- Bed Time – learning that this is essential if I want to have long productive days.
- QUIET TIME, QUIET TIME, QUIET TIME
- Writing Plays
- Memorizing scripture is something new that I’ve tried doing. The Word of God is a sword so I guess memorizing some of it will hopefully be useful for the semester
- Again with the Gospel presentation and practicing integrating the Gospel into normal conversation. This was hard for me but when it comes down to it this might be the most important part of my ministry if I am an evangelist
- Getting into Shape!
- One of my goals is to be as useful as possible for God– for him to use me to my full potential. I see this as “go go go go go” which is the lifestyle I love. To do this, however, I need to be physically capable which means staying healthy
- Diet – Eating right so that I have energy to get through the long days
- Rest – So I don’t burn out. Not making sure that I get good sleep at night but also that I can recognize my body’s limitations and rest when I need to.
So there you have. This is what I have been working on this month and hopefully it’s going to pay off. This weekend is the Intervarsity Leadership training and will be similar to the last practice before the season starts. I don’t really know what to expect.
God, you are all powerful and magnificent and every breath on campus is in your hands. I thank you for the opportunity to serve you, that even though you do not need our help in the slightest to further your kingdom you STILL USE US and bless us with triumphs in your name. God I pray that you would use me and anyone reading this who has a heart that desires to surrender all in order to be useful. We look at this competitively, not that we might gain glory or honor through the pride that comes with winning, but that we would spit in the face of satan as we leave him in the dust of our ministries. May you receive all glory from this upcoming winning season.