Last summer we spent some days at the Inductive Bible Study Euro-Asiatic Institute Center from Surduc, Romania. There we organized a cantonment, where many sportsmen from Moldova who practice TaeKwonDo, Box and Soccer came. In the last day we had an interesting discussion, and we tried to identify 10 principles that we follow in our ministry, and that contributed mostly to the success of spreading the Gospel through sports in Moldova. I thought it would be important to post them on this site, so that they may be useful to anyone who wants to evangelize and make disciples through sport ministry, or wants to start doing this now or in future. Here are these 10 principles identified by us to achieve succes through sport mininistry.
1. Systematic and deep study of the Bible
This is the most important principle and the main guarantee to succeed. We insist on the study of the Holy Scripture by each of our disciples and we spend the first hour of every training to study the Bible. We all use the inductive method to study the Bible and each disciple receives a book. They study it daily at homes and when they finish the course, they have an examination. One of the instructors said that most Christians trainers say and pretend they teach the Bible, but, in fact, some do very little and they often tell some stories from the Bible instead of studying the text of the Holy Scriptures in a systematic and a deep way. We advise those who want to evangelize and make disciples through sport to study the Bible in a systematic and a profound way and to teach their disciples the same thing.
2. Building relations
After we saw that some trainers or instructors make much effort to train their disciples, but they are not interested in building relations with them, we concluded that this has a great importance. It is important for a trainer to build a personal relation with each student and to teach his students to do the same things with each other. If you are not interested in the life, the personality of the sportsmen, disciples or colleagues, you can’t build up their characters and you can’t contribute to their spiritual growth. And the message you send them is that you are interested only in their sportive success.
3. Trainings based on a well planned and organized program
If a trainer doesn’t have a program when he trains, that shows he lacks a direction and a vision. A person who doesn’t have a direction and a vision, can not lead others, since he doesn’t know the way he goes on. That’s why, it is absolutely necessary for a trainer to define himself from the beginning regarding a program. This will communicate confidence to his disciples and a desire to accomplish that purpose.
Discipline is another important condition to attain success in sport or in other ministry. Only those who are disciplined manage to see accomplishments. This is the first thing that you have to teach yourself, as a trainer and your disciples, to be disciplined. If you are not in time on trainings, if you leave before the training is over, if you show lack of discipline in other activities, you can not wait to have disciplined disciples. They will not do the things you ask them to do, but the things they see you do. Show them discipline.
That means to avoid pauses in the process of discipleship. Let no pause be at trainings, at Bible study, in communication, etc. If you organize a summer camp and you invite there spotsmen, then, during the year you don’t communicate and don’t show interest in them, even if you invite them next year at the camp, you can not say that you apply the principle of continuity and in this way you can not make disciples. You should make efforts continually. If you practice a sport intesively and then, you don’t train for a period of time, and then come back to this sport, you will not achieve any results. You lose all the results you obtained during trainings if you discontinue to train.
6. Serve others by growing up characters
If you follow your own interest and not that of your disciples, they will notice it very soon, and they will not have sufficient confidence to want to become disciples. The Lord Jesus sacrificed His life for us and He teaches us to sacrifice our lives for others. It is the greatest privilege on this earth to serve our disciples and to help them in building up their character. I found out from my friends about a trainer from a locality from Moldova, who was 65 years old and he was cheating the sportsmen continually, he took their money, cheated the sportive committee, the mere house, the sportive school and he even lied with one of the girls who came to be trained by him. It is an ugly thing and a crime, he should be judged and dismissed from the position he has. A trainer has to build up characters, and for this, he has to show a beautiful character, that is a model for his disciples.
7. Quality is more important than quantity
Do your utmost to make disciples of the best quality. If you do this, you can not have a great number of disciples. Let us say that you opened a group with 40 disciples and only 15 of them remained at the end of the first year. What will you do at the beginning of the next year? Will you open a new group, or continue to work further with those 15 remained disciples? Or maybe you will find another alternative – to have two groups, those from last year and a new one. Maybe this is a better solution. But, you have firstly to check your power and time, to be sure that the quality of your trainings will not decrease in any of these two groups. 10 years ago I began a TaeKwonDo group in my native village, Lapusna and another group in Chisinau. My initial plan was to arrange these groups and to keep them at the same level, because I knew that the disciples from the village would came later in Chisinau. At the beginning I had many, very many disciples. Even more came later, but true disciples, that do the same ministry as I do, are very few. Today, after all these years, together with the disciples of my disciples we have a club of 25 instructors in the whole country. I couldn’t attach such results if I tried to have a big number of disciples instead of looking at the quality of discipleship.
8. Treasure your disciple
If the sportsman is sick and you insist on his participation at a competition, you communicate him that sportive results are more important than his health. If, during the trainings one of the sportsmen fell down and hurt himself and you don’t even approach him, you communicate him that the training is more important than your disciple. In this case, who do you do the trainings for? Do you do them for yourself and not for others? It is good to ask yourself these questions and to see what value your disciples have for you and how you show this.
9. Give responsabilities to your disciples
If you want your disciples learn to do the same ministry you do through sports, begin to give them responsabilities. Igor Untila, the Box trainer from Hincesti came to the cantonment with two of his disciples and he encouraged them a lot even during this cantonment, giving them responsabilities. So, Iura, who is in the 9th grade was entrusted to lead a Box group in the kindergarden from his village, and Andries, who is in the 11th grade will begin a Box group with his friends and classmates. So, these two boys were given responsabilities and they will learn to be trustworthy persons.
10. Don’t be partial
Usually, every group has one or two sportsmen that are better than others, and others try to become like them. If the trainer begins to appreciate only the best, and he doesn’t pay any attention to others, he will show partiality in this way. I have read somewhere about the actor who played Tarzan in the movie “Tarzan”. He was a German from Romania, and he lived in Timisoara and his name was in the Guinness World Records as the best sportsmen from the whole human history, because he accomplished over 50 world records in his life. But, I remember how I read in a Romanian newspaper once, that when his first swim trainer saw him, told his parents that their child had no ability for sport and he had no chance. It is good that his parents didn’t listen to such a great “specialist”. Don’t be one to discourage and do not be partial. You can have the world champions in your group, who have never manifested themselves, because they didn’t receive the necessary encouragement.
If you are a trainer and you want to share with others how you apply these principles, or to add others that you consider important, put them in the commentaries box.
Translated by Felicia Djugostran