In my first post on this topic, I talked about importance of changing the way we view sports to promote “teamwork” between sports and youth ministry. In my last post I talked about the importance of owning the problem and coming up with practical steps to help students in their harried sports schedules. Today, I want to post the reply to an email I sent to a good youth ministry friend. Here was his predicament:
I really liked your blog posts about us dealing with the sports in the schools. I think we do a decent job of working around the game schedules, but what is terribly frustrating for me is the dreaded “open gym” in the school… The girls basketball coach just posted the spring open gym times for the basketball team. All of these practices directly conflict with the high school youth group and start this Sunday and go until school gets out. But I wouldn’t really begin to call these gym times “open” at all. The coach demands that everyone be in attendance. So starting this Sunday through the rest of the school year, I will have lost roughly 50% of my regular attenders because a lot of the girls in my youth group are in basketball. I want to be supportive of the team and the girls in sports, but his actions make it incredibly hard to do so.
Here’s a reply I gave him. But what about you? Can you help?
PRAY: Pray that God would soften the heart of this coach to make changes. Just like Nehemiah, ask for God to give you favor. Simple truth, but something I often forget. Sometimes, It’s easy to get upset with the situation and just charge in with no wisdom…
GET PARENT HELP? What do parents think and feel about this? Rather than get them upset, simply ask parents how they feel about their kids missing? I would be looking to gather info from them and if they gave me the consensus that they too are unhappy, I would attempt to get them to approach the coach first. If there is a large number of kids missing youth group for this, I have seen before how parents can sway a coach to make changes. ALL coaches can be swayed and parents are most coaches biggest fear. Just like we fear unhappy parents, so do coaches! In addition, if open gym is every night, I am sure that some parents already struggle with that schedule anyway. You might be helping some good discussions to be instigated? Make sense?
TALK TO YOUR PASTOR: Let him know what you are actively doing in talking to parents and this coach. Let him know you expect your numbers to drop. It’s important that he is at least in the loop. He could even become an advocate for you, but at least he will be aware of why your numbers drop every Spring.
What would you add to help this guy? What has worked for you in these situations?