how do you intentionally engage others?

I got to step in and coach the hurdlers this summer at FCA Camp for one session, and it was so fulfilling! I could tell there was a girl who was quiet and not fully present to what we were doing. Challenge accepted. I was determined to find a way to connect with her. I could tell she was Native, so I asked her what tribe she was enrolled in. I shared with her how I am Native American too and enrolled in the tribe next to hers. From that point on, she listened. She paid attention as I talked about her form over the hurdle. She asked what I thought after a run through. By the end of practice, she was smiling! I told her I was excited to watch her compete next spring. Amazing what that little conversation did for the coaching relationship. 

The person who engaged best and did it perfectly was Jesus Christ.

In the book of Luke, we see Jesus passing through a small town, and a tax collector wanted to see this "Jesus" guy who had been preaching a different message than what had been heard before. Here is the passage:

“Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a sinner."

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."

Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." Luke 19:1-10

I love this passage because Jesus saw Zacchaeus. He saw him. He noticed. Think about your athletes, the people in your life. How do you engage with them? Are you thoughtful about it? As a coach, one of the biggest ways you can motivate your athletes is by noticing and entering their lives. 

For me, a relationship changes once they've been in my house or we’ve taken a road trip together! I love when an athlete sees my dirty dishes on the counter. They see what I have for snacks. People get a better sense of who we are and develop trust with us when we invite them into our life. 

Zacchaeus welcomed the Christ into his house, and it forever changed him.

Maybe some of your athletes are just motivated right out of the gate. Others take more work. It looks different for each of us on what’s appropriate for inviting people into our lives, but the principle is the same. Be intentional about entering the lives of your athletes and fellow coaches and also inviting them into yours. It just may change their life and yours… just like it did at FCA camp this summer.






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