Children’s Sport and Christian Discipleship 


Some time last year I read an article on the web looking at the involvement of families in children’s sport in the USA and comparing it to church involvement.*

  • Families are committed to children’s sport - they make sure children don’t miss practice or games, they rearrange their schedules, and they occasionally even skip things like church to ensure children don’t miss events.
  • The various sports are committed to having children do everything adults do (with some modifications to account for size, strength and contact sports).
    • I noticed this when my son was involved in junior Australian Rules Football.  They wore jumpers with similar colours and designs as professional teams, often shared the names of those teams.  At a final, children ran through a banner, just like in the AFL.  At the end of seasons they had their own versions of best and fairest awards. 
  • The sports are organised around training and mentoring.  There are vast armies of parents, young adults, and teenagers coaching and passing on skills to children.
  • People of all ages experience community, belonging and purpose as parts of these sporting organisations.

I think families being involved in sport like this is great.  I also think these points apply equally as much to the spiritual lives of our children.

  • We should be at least committed to nurturing our children’s spiritual lives as we are to sport
    • Hence our vision that our children would experience a Greater knowledge of God, a Deeper level of Christlikeness, and a Wider experience of God’s presence and power, Sooner than us.
  • We should expect and facilitate children’s involvement in all aspects of the Christian life with suitable modifications to account for age and stage.
    • We are seeking to involve children in more aspects of our Sunday services, we are helping our young people identify and process the Kairos moments in their lives, we are encouraging families to do spiritual disciplines with their children, and we are encouraging parents to involve their children in local mission like ‘Clean Up Australia Day’.
  • There should be a significant group of adults in our church involved in the coaching and training of our young people.
    • The wide involvement of people in Kids Church and Deeper Youth is one of the strengths of our church. (We are always looking for more people!)
  • People should experience community belonging and purpose.

Our theme for this year is COPY.  To live the With, Like and For Jesus Life we need to Copy Jesus and Copy people who copy Jesus. 
This isn’t just for adults, it is for children and young people as well.  This year let’s commit to helping all our young people participate in copying Jesus, and copying people who copy Jesus.  We can help them copy Jesus and we can provide examples for them to copy.
*I haven’t been able to find it again and I would love to credit it if anyone can send me the link through the contact section of this website.

Photo by Lukas from Pexels


David Wanstall, 20/02/2018