Athletics

through grace

Athletics

through grace

Bringing glory to God as our student-athletes, coaches, and spectators use the opportunity to compete as an act of worship.

The Heart of Grace Athletics

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

The mission of Grace Community School is to assist Christian parents in educating, equipping, and encouraging their children to influence the world for Christ. Athletics at Grace is a component of the overall curriculum of the school and, as such, will be approached through a biblical worldview, a gift from God that, like all expressions of human activity, is also part of a fallen creation. Therefore athletics can influence participants either positively or negatively. Grace athletics are intended to bring glory to God as our student-athletes, coaches, and spectators use the opportunity to compete as an act of worship. (Romans 12:1)

Grace Philosophy of Athletics

A widely held cultural assumption states that athletics, in and of itself, produces positive character development among participants, but we as believers know this to be untrue. At Grace, athletics provides a means to an end, with that end being to develop Christ-like character qualities such as integrity, sportsmanship, service, discipline, and a commitment to excellence in the student-athletes at Grace Community School. We understand that spiritual, mental, and physical development are part of the process of sanctification, and at Grace athletics is a part of our curriculum and a tool in that development. It is our goal to “teach Jesus” through athletics as a part of the greater mission of educating, equipping, and encouraging our student-athletes to influence the world for Christ.

We believe that as Christians, we should be on mission at all times. Whether in the classroom or on the fields of competition, we should seek to glorify God in our actions, words, and deeds. Our goal is to ensure that every aspect of our athletic department is oriented toward preparing our student-athletes to influence the world for Christ.

Modern youth sports culture today is rife with unhealthy idolatry and skewed perspectives. Christ has called us to a better way. Athletics is not our God; God is our God. This approach will, by definition, render us counter-cultural and in sharp contrast to our larger communities. In order to be counter-cultural from an athletic perspective, student-athletes, coaches, and spectators must be willing to submit to the will of God, which will equip our students to emulate their Lord in growing “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52). In doing so, we present our lives as living sacrifices for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, holy and acceptable (Romans 12:1, 2).

The Grace Community School athletic department is committed to developing student-athletes who not only enjoy success in the athletic arena, but also (and most importantly) in their spiritual walk as believers and citizens of their community. By emphasizing Christ-like character qualities, and a standard of excellence rooted in God’s Word, we believe that we will fulfill our responsibility within the mission of our school.

Participation in athletics at Grace is a privilege, not a right. Just as in every other aspect of our lives, privileges are accompanied by responsibilities. Student-athletes, coaches, and spectators are expected to conform to the standards of excellence established by the athletic department and reflected in the philosophy of athletics. The privilege of participation may be revoked if a student-athlete, coach, or spectator fails to comply with these guidelines and expectations.

This philosophy has the following implications for Grace Athletics:

• Grace athletics will, in all things, be rooted in God’s Word. His Word is the ultimate standard for our dealings with each other and how we conduct the program.

• Coaches will be developed into spiritual leaders, and they will be responsible for practicing the spiritual disciplines of reading and studying God’s Word, prayer, and participation in a church body. Coaches will then be responsible for implementing God’s Word as the cornerstone of their program, contextualizing it as is appropriate for the areas they lead.

• Discipleship will be at the heart of the athletic department. Administrators are responsible for discipling head coaches, or ensuring that it is done. Head coaches are responsible for discipling assistant coaches within their area of authority. Everyone is responsible for discipling student-athletes.

• Coaches and administrators should use every contact with parents, especially conflicts, as an opportunity to continuously communicate the Grace Philosophy of Athletics and the gospel of Christ.

• Appropriate accountability measures will be implemented throughout the department to promote personal holiness and discipleship.

• Coaches and administrators will constantly be looking to provide “real-life” opportunities for student-athletes to be “on mission”.

• Grace athletics will be typified by a “teaching, coaching, modeling, and measuring” model of development and improvement throughout each program and the athletic department as a whole.

Grace athletics will “teach Jesus” through:

• A “people first, performance second” approach – coaches and programs will be evaluated first and foremost, not by the athletic performance or win-loss records of their teams, but the spiritual formation of their student-athletes.

• The program will focus on each student-athlete’s “giftedness”, but with a major emphasis on how that giftedness is not for personal edification, but to serve the team, the Body as a whole.

• Student-Athletes are children of God first, not athletes. Their spiritual formation as dedicated disciples of Jesus Christ will be preeminent.

• Grace athletics should be an act of worship to God. Athletes, coaches, and fans will be expected to use their words and actions to build and edify the Body of Christ and bear witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 4:19) Using words or actions to tear down teammates, players, opponents, referees, and guests will not be tolerated.

• We are called to bring our best to our Lord, therefore, high standards of performance and commitment are expected from everyone involved in the program. We will be committed to excellence, defined as “the continual process of becoming better than we once were.”

• Our junior high athletics programs will focus on participation and development first and foremost. Interactions between players, coaches, administrators, and parents will be treated as an opportunity to reinforce that goal.

Fans and supporters of Grace are constantly representing their Lord and Savior and this school in words and deeds. Fans are expected to reflect hospitality, encouragement, and respect. Fans will cheer for their team, not against the opposing team. Respect for opposing players, coaches, and officials will be defining hallmarks of our fans. Words and conduct that do not respect the dignity, value, and worth of any other participant in athletic events will not be tolerated. Any Grace Community School family member is empowered and expected to hold their brothers and sisters accountable to this standard and to lovingly confront when it is violated (Matthew 18).

Grace Community School will stand for spirited competition on the field, and extraordinary recognition of the God-breathed dignity, value, and worth of all participants off the field.

Grace athletics will be operated according to the following principles:

• There will be consistency throughout the department in terms of expectations, and standards of performance, spiritual development, and engagement, without regard to gender or grade level.

• Coaches will consistently mentor each other and their players.

• All adjunct and new coaches will be trained in the “Grace Way”, as reflected in this philosophy.

• Teamwork and healthy conflict resolution will exist throughout the athletic department, from coach to coach and sport to sport. There is no room for silent dissent before a decision is made, or vocal dissent after it is made. There will be no individual “silos” of responsibility in the athletic department. While coaches will be empowered to have responsibility for their own sport, they will be committed first and foremost to the overall well-being of the athletic program, and the school community as a whole.

• Coaches, administrators, and fans will fight zealously against the idolatry of youth sports that is so prevalent today; Grace family members will preach, teach, and rally against the concept that one’s security, value, dignity, and worth is based on athletic performance or non-performance. All of these things are rooted in Christ.

Athletics are not our god: God is our God. This message will be seen, heard, and taught at every opportunity.

To accomplish these goals, the athletic department, coaches, and administrators alike will:

• Develop implement, and monitor a GCS athletic code of conduct.

• Teach fans to edify our kids (and our opponents and officials) not tear them down – fans will be warned first, then ejected from the event if they cannot carry themselves in a manner that honors Christ.

• Require coaches to be teachers first (encouraging, motivating, and consistent).

• Require coaches to model what they expect to see in their athletes, and will be quick to seek forgiveness when they fail in these efforts.

• Equip each member of the Grace community to hold one another accountable as fans and participants.

16-17 Athletic Handbook