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«UNITED METHODIST CHURCH Youth Basketball League 2015-2016 
 PURSUINGGODLINESS COACHES DEVOTIONAL HANDBOOK Putting God first is the most important ...»

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Youth Basketball League




Putting God first is the most important part of our game. 

Providing recreational opportunities for affirming, encouraging, and nurturing

teens in Christ’s love.


“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

- 1Timothy 4:8 God is Lord over all of our actions, including our play. He created the world and called it “good.” While we often think of creation the natural world, but God also created fun. When we understand God as the creator of recreation, we can enjoy fun for what it is: a way to honor God with our time. Along with teaching teenagers the Bible, the importance of serving, and how to live a life of faith, we also want to cultivate in our youth a theology of play.

Our league is dedicated to the families, and more specifically, the youth of our community. We take this time to reinforce what we believe, to revive character and honor, so our young people can see God's way of life.

We believe being a Christian is the greatest life there is. This league hopes to invest that life in teenagers through fun.

You, as the Coach, have an awesome opportunity. Your players will trust and rely on you to show them what is right, not only on the court, but with life in general. Your words and actions are a precious model to them.

God placed you in this position because he has equipped you for the task. Your knowledge and love of sports is secondary to the real reason you have been chosen. You are called to live and share the love and message of our Lord Jesus Christ with teenagers and their families. Please take this responsibility seriously and rise to the calling. You can do it!

The lessons in this handbook are designed to help you share with your players (and their parents) many traits, characteristics and guiding principles that will help them to live a life of excellent faith. In a world of compromise, you can let them know there is a more honorable way. The lessons are simple, easily adapted to the age group you are coaching, and will take only 5 to 10 minutes from each practice. It is our hope that many useful conversations are generated from it and our players walk away with an example that will have a long-lasting effect.

Coaches are expected to lead one devotion per week as part of your practice time. We ask that you take the first or last 10 minutes of every practice to sit down with your team and read through the week’s devotion.

Please follow through the devotions in order (they are dated) as each team in the league will be doing the same one each week. At weekend games before the opening prayer, one team will be designated to summarize the devotional thought of the week. The team responsible for the devotional thought is designated on the Master Schedule. Please note when your team is responsible—we encourage you to give youth the opportunity to share the devotional thought.

Thank you for your time and energy. The most important thing you will do this season is to disciple the players on your team. Enjoy your time. Even if your team doesn’t win every game or the championship, your connection with your players and the changes in their hearts and attitudes will transcend the season.

Leading your players to grow closer to God this season is your championship.

For many of your players, this time with you might be the only time someone pours themselves into their lives. It may be the only time they look into God’s Word. Please take time to read the verses above everything else so that the players, and you, engage with Jesus’ words. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions and give real answers or wait for theirs. Don’t hesitate to say, “I don’t know.” We pray your devotion time will be challenging and fruitful. Thank you for your role in this God honoring opportunity.

Please Note: Our leadership is here to assist you in any way necessary. Do not hesitate to ask. If you need help in presenting lessons or just some encouragement or tips, please call us at (704) 915-1916 and leave a message or send an email to joshua@matthewsumc.org. We will get back to you in a timely manner.

Lesson Format Prepare yourself by studying the lessons before presenting them. Pray and expect God to perform miracles in the needs of your players and their families because of His faithfulness and your obedience.

Lessons will be taught as a part of every practice. If you have 2 practices per week, teach 2 different aspects of that week’s lesson. During games, we will spend the first 3 minutes having the youth review the lesson for the week which you covered during the previous practice. Just like practicing free throws, repetition is one of the keys to mastery. This is also a good opportunity to review what your players retained from the time it was taught.

The following format is used in the presentation of each lesson:

1. Game Plan The main teaching, emphasis, trait or characteristic of the lesson.

2. Warm-Up The opening question and definition of the main teaching, emphasis, trait or characteristic of the lesson.

3. Tip-Off A quote intended to cause your players to think about its meaning.

4. Time Out Ask your players what the quote means to them. Remember, there are no wrong answers. They are simply telling you what they believe it means. Be prepare to sit through a long pause while they think.

5. Slam Dunk The main teaching from the lesson

6. Pass or Shoot This is a series of questions that will help you make the teaching stick. Don’t be afraid to leave some of the questions unanswered. Unanswered questions provoke thought.

7. Substitution An initial scripture that deals with the main teaching.

8. The Final Whistle Close in prayer that centers on the main teaching. Ask God to help the players to maintain a high standard for their lives, and to help the players to stand strong making good decisions. You can also ask the players if they have any special requests or needs to bring to the Lord during prayer.
 POSTUP Lesson 1: Nov 29 - Dec 5 Game Plan - Establish your position for the day Warm-Up - What is posting up?

Tip-Off Posting up establishes your position.

Time Out Ask your players what the saying above means to them.

Slam Dunk Great players know what it means to post up: “Posting up is to establish a position in the low post, the area near the basket below the foul line, usually in order to take advantage of a smaller defender.” When you see big players posting up, it looks like an all-out battle. Those players do whatever it takes to get position and get the ball. Even if you don’t post up on the court like you should, there’s a different type of posting up you can do every day. It’s a battle, and it’s for positioning, but it’s not about basketball. This kind of posting up involves you and the Lord.

Every morning, post up to get the Word of God in me. If you’re on God’s team, you realize your need for daily time with God. You need to be ready and prepared. You have to post up. Take a second right now to reread that official description of posting up, but read it in spiritual terms. It makes a big difference and great analogy, doesn’t it?

Pass or Shoot

When it comes to the spiritual post-up, we’ve learned three helpful tips:

Establish position. We need to face away from the competition and live a separated life (Romans 12:1-2). We must have a strong stance and not be rocked by this world. We need to stand strong against the opponent. It’s a daily battle.

Call for the ball. You don’t post up for the fun of it, but to get the ball. Are you calling out to the Lord and asking Him to show up and to speak to you? To reveal to you the deeper things? He desires to pass His Word to you daily, but you need to ask for it.

Make a play and score. Once you get the ball, you are in the position to make an impact.

Each day, when you fill up with God’s Word, you are ready to serve, minister, love and invest in others.

Substitution “God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You; my body faints for You in a land that is

dry, desolate, and without water.” -Psalm 63:1

The Final Whistle Ask for any prayer needs and during prayer ask the Lord to help your players to serve as examples of people who are prepared, that they would do as they are asked, do it quickly, and with a good attitude.

PURPOSE Lesson 2: Dec 6 – Dec 12 Game Plan - Players will understand what knowing their purpose does for them.

Warm-Up - What does it mean to play with purpose?

Tip-Off Playing with purpose is knowing what you do well and helping the team through that ability.

Time Out Ask your players what the above saying means to them.

Slam Dunk In Romans 12:6-8, the apostle Paul teaches us that we all have God-given gifts, and we are called to use those gifts for His purpose. This is true for all competitors, and it’s true for all aspects of our life. As athletes, it might be the difference between leading the team and providing support from the bench. As Christians, it might be the difference between speaking publicly from a platform and serving others anonymously. But no matter what our role of responsibility might be, it’s important that we remember to play with purpose, live our lives with humility and desire to make a difference through the love of Christ.

Pass or Shoot

1. What role do you currently play on your sports team?

2. Are you satisfied with that role? Explain.

3. What do you think it means to “play with purpose”?

4. What can you start doing today that will allow you to embrace that principle?

Substitution According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the standard of one’s faith; if service, in service; if teaching, in teaching; if exhorting, in exhortation;

giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness. - Romans 12:6-8 The Final Whistle Lord, I want to play with purpose. I want to embrace my role and embrace the gifts and abilities with which You have blessed me. Help me transfer this principle beyond the field of competition and into every aspect of my life. Amen.


Lesson 3: Jan 3 – Jan 9 Game Plan - Players will understand what it means to show and practice love.

Warm-Up - What does it mean to play with passion?

Tip-Off Playing with passion infects our whole life.

Time Out Ask your players what the saying above means to them.

Slam Dunk We’ve probably all been known as a highly competitive players. We use every inch or margin within the rules of the game to my advantage. In life, it’s not hard to come to the conclusion that if we’re not being competitive then we’re not giving our best to God. So we have to figure how to maintain our edge without losing our godliness. It’s hard understanding how to push and fight and never get to the point where it made me think, say or do ungodly things. When we’re able to harness our passion, that’s when we are truly able to glorify Him through basketball.

Playing with passion is all about giving God your best and striving for excellence. This goes beyond the court and into every aspect of my life. It’s about me having a passion for serving others, being a good friend and doing everything “enthusiastically” for Him.

As an athlete, it’s important to let that passion show up when you train, practice and play your sport. But it’s just as important to strive for the same level of excellence in your relationship with God, your relationship with others and anything that He calls you to do. That’s living a life consumed with God’s passion.

Pass or Shoot

1. What are you most passionate about?

2. What do you think is the connection between passion and excellence?

3. Read Colossians 3:23. How can you strive for excellence in all areas of your life, not just the thing you are most passionate about?

Substitution Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.

- Colossians 3:23 The Final Whistle Lord, light a fire of passion within my heart so that I might strive for excellence in everything I do. I want to passionately pursue You, serve others and play my sport to Your glory. Amen.


Lesson 4: Jan 10 – Jan 16 Game Plan - Players will gain an understanding of what it means to be persevere.

Warm-Up - What makes someone continue even when it seems impossible?

Tip-Off Winners are not people who never fail. Winner s are people who never give up.

Time Out Ask your players what the above saying means.

Slam Dunk Anyone who saw Kevin Ware’s leg break in March of 2013 could hardly forget it. One minute he was running down the court, playing competitively, the next moment his leg folded in half at the shin. It was a horrific sight that few could forget. Even his team-mate’s reaction was devastating.

What people didn’t hear or remember what Ware’s reaction while lying on the floor of the court.

Ware repeatedly said, "I'm fine, just win the game.” Even while in excruciating pain and faced with the end of his basketball career, Ware stuck with it. Ware was named MVP in 2015 playing with Georgia State. He kept with it.

Pass or Shoot

1. When have you overcome adversity in sports?

2. Have you ever become so consumed with sports that an adversity completely devastated you?

What did you learn?

3. What are some common adversities we face in sports?

Substitution Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who

goes with you; He will not leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

The Final Whistle Lord, give us the strength to overcome all the trails that seek to discourage me from fulfilling Your ultimate plan. In Your mighty name. Amen.

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