Five major mistakes a Christian trainer can do in a sport ministry

Wrong motivation

Jesus Christ and preaching the Gospel has to be the motivation of each Christian worker. Apostle Paul explained his motivation for Gospel ministry so:

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)(NASB)

Apostle Paul says in the same chapter that some people preach the Gospel having other reasons, such us envy and strife, because they want to be praised by people. Christian trainers that mission through sport can have different reasons too. They can also be motivated by the desire to manifest themselves, to train and to prepare good sportsmen, to gain a lot of money through this activity or to have people’s respect. If you are not motivated to save people and to honor God, this will affect negatively the sport ministry you do.

Lack of personal discipline

As a Christian trainer and as one who has made and continue to make disciples through sport, I am sometimes invited to world conferences and forums for peoples who mission more or less through sport. I was greatly surprised to see how in a morning, when it was our time for personal training ten from those 800 participants went out to train themselves. This fact points to personal discipline, especially when you are a sports trainer. Discipline or lack of personal discipline will be manifested in all life aspects. Paul was a man who had personal discipline and compared himself with sportsmen in this regard, saying about himself:

But I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27)(NASB)

Lack of dedication

There are very few people who can remain firmly in their purpose and surmount all obstacles, no matter what they are. There are moments in every ministry when you want to give up and do something else. I came across such moments too. There were cases when I gave my last money to buy gas, and I was driving far away for trainings, and then, when I got there, there were only two or maybe no disciple. Nevertheless, I didn’t give up and now I am happy to see those teenagers that are world and international champions now, and qualified workers who have dedicated them for the Gospel. Apostle Paul was a dedicated man for Gospel ministry and he compared himself with a sportsmen again, when he wrote:

Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air. (1 Corinthians 9:27)(NASB)

He doesn’t motivate disciples enough and continually

Everyone who went in for sports had some periods when he got bored and lost his initial motivation. That’s why, it is important for a trainer to know well how to continually motivate his disciples and how to increase their motivation.

Nicolai Adrianov, one of the greatest gymnast of the Soviet Union was a very disobedient and undisciplined child, he was smoking, stealing, and did not attend the school. When he came for the first time to gymnastic room, Vladimir Tolkacion, the trainer, decided to snatch that guy from the jaws of the street, no matter what the price was. Nicolai was a stubborn child and he always replied to the trainer in a very rude manner, and after two weeks he stopped going to train. Vladimir Tolkaciov looked for him, and when it was necessary he took Nicolai to live with him, but he insisted to turn that boy from that wrong direction he was going to. And he didn’t manage only this, but he made Nicolai become one of the greatest sportsmen of the 20th century.

Don’t stumble over the lack of the facilities you want

I have heard for many times some people that say they would have done a great ministry if they had had a great amount of money or other certain things. It is not true. When one wants to do a good thing, he will begin with what he has at the moment. The king of soccer, Pele, was so poor as a child, that he was going after classes on the street to clean people’s shoes, that’s why, he repeated the third grade for two years and he dropped out of school after he finished the fourth grade. He graduated the school after he finished his career as a professional soccer player. He even went to University and graduated it too. But then, in his childhood, he didn’t even dare dream about a soccer ball, that’s why, he and his friends made a ball from one of his father’s sock, after they filled it up with rags and paper, and they were playing soccer in this way. Then, he developed all his techniques, that were so highly appreciated later, with an orange. That’s why, his nickname is “Pele”. The soccer player explains that a Turkish lived on the street where he was training himself with the orange, and when that man saw him he said “pe-le”, that means “foolishness” in Turkish.

In the autumn of 1997 I opened the Taekwon-Do Club “Stolas Leukas”, and I knew that it was very important to organize a camp of intensive trainings in summer in 1998, but neither I nor my students had any resources. I told them to bring the things they have at home (tents, and others) and food. So, we went into woods for three weeks and we trained intensively. Some of them did not have tents, so they made huts, but we continued to train and their level was highly upraised and their characters were built up through very thorough trainings and through studying the Bible.

What stumbles you become a good Christian trainer? What is your motivation for the Gospel ministry? What have your disciples learnt and continue to learn from you? What are the things they take as an example from you? What more can you do for them?

Translated by Felicia Djugostran