Why Should Football Players Serve?

I have been thinking about ways the team can have more impact on people outside of winning football games. The staff has been talking a lot about serving others. Being selfless, giving back, and living a significant life are all things the coaches talk to our recruits about. We don’t want players to just think about themselves. So I thought it may be appropriate to talk about why we want players to give back. Why teaching players to think about others is important. To answer that question you have to know about some deeply held convictions we have about how we want to coach. Here goes!!!

The most important conviction I have about the best way to run a football program is to “Believe Jesus!” Everything else follows this first conviction. It is the foundation of the program. I believe that the biblical approach to coaching or living, for that matter, is what is best. It is the goal of Greenville College Football that we “Believe Jesus” when it comes to relationships. I believe it is best to “Believe Jesus” when it comes to how we do our work. Biblical principles should be the foremost authority of how we go about anything. Conviction #1…“Believe Jesus!”

A second conviction I have for Greenville College Football is that we choose “People over Productivity.” To clarify, people are more important than their portfolios. They are more important than their athletic talent, GPA, test scores, how they look or their bank account. They are important regardless of their tangible contributions, because God has created them. Every single person was so important to Jesus that he died for them. Therefore, they are worth everything. So we strive to love, mentor, affirm, appreciate, bless and encourage people to become their maximal God given potential even if they never contribute anything on the field during a game.  That is choosing “People over Productivity!”

A third deeply help conviction I have is “Process over Outcome.” That is to say, the end doesn’t always justify the means. We will pay close attention to how we go about our business and let the outcome take care of itself. The scoreboard does not define us. Our everyday actions say more about us then the scoreboard. In football, we believe what important is the will to prepare, not the will to win. We have control over what we do. We do not control any outcome. So we divert our attention and energy in what we can do, and how we do it. The outcome will take care of itself. Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 3 that “Paul planted the seeds, Apollos watered it, but its God who makes it grow.” We have a role in the process and a responsibility to do things the right way, but we don’t worry about outcomes that we can’t control. “Process over Outcomes!”

So what do those three convictions have to do with serving others? Why ask players to spend money to go to a foreign country to help people we don’t know? In particular, why should I encourage college football players to give to others? Why visit a nursing home? Why do free manual labor? Well…this thinking is an extension of my three deepest held convictions for the program. I want Greenville College Football players to serve, give and bless others because that is what Jesus did, and I “Believe Jesus!” Jesus left his hometown and went all over the countryside meeting the needs of people (feeding, counseling, healing, blessing, and preaching the good news). He loved people. He didn't stay in his hometown and say “if people need help they can come to me!” He was a man of action. Jesus met people personally. He sacrificed self for others. And he lived a significant life because of this method.

Giving to others, even those we do not know, is important if we believe people are worth it. Strive to love people in a real and tangible way, even if you don’t get anything out of it. Why? Jesus gave even though people had nothing to give to him. Why? Because people are more important than what they may ever produce. So if there is a need and we can help meet it as players or coaches… Meet the need! If people are important, then our actions should reflect that belief. “People over Productivity!”

College is a great place to think about big ideas. We talk about “best practices” all the time on a campus and in a business board room. Sometimes conversations about “best practices” can get in the way of actually doing something. I am not always sure the best thing to do is serve at a soup kitchen. I am not sure if the best thing for a community is a group of foreigners to go spend a week to help out. There are tons of systemic issues that may not be solved by our efforts. But we do not control the outcomes anyway. We serve because there is a need. We serve because we can seize an opportunity. We serve because people are worth it. We give because there is a need. We give because we can meet a need. We give because people are worth it. We focus on our part. “Process over Outcomes!”

This program is about Championship Play & Championship Lives.  Or in non-EMAP language, we want our players to be successful and significant. Every player has a chance to make a real and tangible difference in their circle of influence. Serving, giving, blessing, encouraging, and helping others is a great expression of that successful and significant life. Anybody can do that. All it takes is time and a love for people. Why not football players?

Coach Walker

Championship Play & Championship Lives

Check out the first of five player interviews describing their experiences:

Greenville College Football © 2009 by Jered Schneider.