Episode 61

April 18, 2024


Faith and Athletics with Matthew Tomlinson

Hosted by

Erik Rasmussen
Faith and Athletics with Matthew Tomlinson
The Concerning Him Podcast
Faith and Athletics with Matthew Tomlinson

Apr 18 2024 | 00:34:09


Show Notes

A crossover episode with the Emmaus athletics podcast, In the Nest! Listen as Matthew Tomlinson and Erik Rasmussen discuss the role athletics play in the Christian life, as well as the role they play on the campus of Emmaus Bible College.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Are sports just a waste of time in the christian life? What is the purpose of sports? Is there any purpose of sports? Should christians be engaging in physical activity? Should they be working out? Should they be playing sports and involved in putting time and effort into it? Or is it just a big waste and a big distraction? Believe it or not, this is a conversation that we have to have here at Emmaus Bible College. We have sports teams. We have men's soccer. We have men's and women's basketball. We have women's volleyball. We have men's and women's cross country, all competing at the NCCAA division two level. And these are conversations we have to have to have sports teams. Is this a distraction to our students, or is this a benefit? Is it just a way to get more students and increase enrollment? Or do we truly believe that we're offering our students a better Emmaus experience by having athletics here? I'm Eric Rasmussen, and this is a special crossover episode between the concerning him podcast and the in the Nest podcast. For those of you that only listen to one or the other, Emmaus actually has two regularly occurring podcasts. I host the concerning him podcast. We post about once a week, sometimes a little less frequently than that, and I bring on a guest somehow connected to Emmaus, whether faculty, staff, alumni, or a friend of the college. And I interviewed them about a topic, and I love doing that. We also have a podcast called in the Nest, Matthew Tomlinson, who is an admissions counselor here, and the assistant men's basketball coach, and then Shane Douglas, who's also an admissions counselor here. They get together their co hosts and they talk about what's going on with Emmaus Athletics. Emmaus Sports Today's episode is a crossover between these two podcasts. It's with myself, Eric Rasmussen, and Matthew Tomlinson talking about why does Emmaus have sports? What is the role of sports or athletics in the christian walk in the christian faith? This is a conversation that I've been really excited to have with Matt, one of my closest friends, and we got to have it today, and I think you're really going to enjoy it. If you listen to either of our podcasts on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, we'd really appreciate if you gave us a rating or review. And if you watch the podcast on YouTube, whether on the Emmaus Bible College channel or on the Emmaus Athletics channel, we'd really appreciate if you liked the video or subscribed to the channel. Remember, the concerning Hymn podcast and the in the Nest podcast are brought to you by Emmaus Bible College. Here at Emmaus, it's our goal to impact the world for Christ in everything we do, whether it's through podcasts like these or it's through educating and equipping learners in the classroom, both to serve the Lord in ministry and for professional careers. If you're interested in learning more about Emmaus, please visit emmaus.edu. And if you're interested in listening to more podcasts like this one, reading biblically centered articles, or listening to wonderful sermons from our chapel messages, please visit concerninghim.com. Matthew, welcome. [00:03:14] Speaker B: Thanks, Eric. Good to be here. [00:03:16] Speaker A: Good. This is. It's kind of our third time being together on a podcast. [00:03:19] Speaker B: Right. Because we did the first ever trial run of the podcast concerning him. [00:03:23] Speaker A: Yeah, fall of 2001. [00:03:26] Speaker B: Not even in this room. [00:03:27] Speaker A: Like, yeah, maybe five people have heard that. And then we did an in the nest episode together one time, which is fun, which was. Yeah, well, welcome. This special kind of crossover episode concerning him in the nest. And I'm excited to have you on, I think, you know, whatever, however you want to phrase that. Right. But I think to get started here, I'd like to just talk about your background some. Maybe we'll get dive into my background, some kind of specifically related to athletics, to sports, and its relationship to faith. Yes, go ahead. [00:04:02] Speaker B: Yeah, so I think it's. I think, like, obviously I love sports, and, you know, basketball has been a huge role in my life, and that's how I heard about Emmaus, was through basketball, was through being recruited to come to Emmaus and be a part of the basketball program and try to establish a culture of, obviously, winning is not the main goal at our level, because our goal is to raise up, especially on the guys side, young men, to be leaders in their church, to be leaders in their home, to be great husbands, to be great fathers. The goal is to establish that, to just have a good foundation, but while also doing that, to be competitive. And so it was just really cool. Like, my first interaction was, you know, through basketball and hearing that with Emmaus. And then, you know, came for a visit on our big discover weekend, you know, ten years ago, which is crazy, spring of 2014, and then just, you know, being able to meet people here, you know, meet with current students, meet with the staff, the faculty, the professors that are here, and then obviously get to know the basketball coach at the time and, you know, just talk about what that would look like. And then, you know, I was, you prayed about it when we got back home and just fell in love with what we have here and came here and played all four years here. Really loved my time. We did have some success. We had some not good times. We had some great times. And so just being able to look back and reflect on the journey, even from where I started my freshman year to my senior basketball wise, but let alone spiritually and just the growth of, through being a part of a team, being a part of brothers that are so close and I think that was just so key and so crucial why I wanted to, which I'm so thankful that I'm able to continue on. You know, this will be, I'm going into my 6th year assistant coaching the guys team currently, and so I'm just so thankful just for, you know, having my time as a player and then now as a coach, it's just been such an amazing journey. [00:05:51] Speaker A: Along with being the assistant men's basketball coach, also. Admissions counselor. Senior admissions. [00:05:56] Speaker B: Senior admissions counselor. [00:05:57] Speaker A: Senior admissions counselor. And you've had one of the roles that you have is recruiting athletes or being the admissions. [00:06:06] Speaker B: Yeah, kind of oversee all of the recruited athletes that are coming into Emmaus. And so, like, honestly, that's been such a huge blessing, just being able to, like, you know, I can speak their language. Cause I've. I went through that process. I know what they're thinking about. I was in their shoes. You know, I've obviously, I played here, and so, like, just being able to do that, but let alone just building those relationships and, you know, talking to them about, you know, all things Emmaus and being able to see them here and then continue to, you know, mentor, grow with them, support them, cheer them on, has just been, you know, so, so encouraging. [00:06:39] Speaker A: Yeah. And I think maybe not everybody listens to concerning him podcast. They might not know that. Along with serving Emmaus as the director of communications and engagement, which part of that is hosting the concerning him podcast, I also serve as assistant men soccer coach. So for you with basketball as the assistant coach, for me with soccer as the assistant coach, and that is, you know, during the season, every practice, going to games, all that type of stuff, it's also offseason recruiting and looking at game film of high school players and then reading their testimonies and having interactions with them and all of that type of stuff. I almost have an opposite story from you. Where you came to Emmaus specifically because of basketball. I knew I was going to Emmaus my whole life. [00:07:21] Speaker B: Right. [00:07:21] Speaker A: I mean, my parents met here. I was born here in Dubuque, moved around the country, but I knew I was coming here and. Good. [00:07:28] Speaker B: We need more people like that. [00:07:30] Speaker A: And then, you know, as I'm growing in high school and actually I'm getting serious about basketball, I'm thinking, oh, maybe I'll be able to play basketball in Emmaus. And coach Ben Brown had a few words with me during my gap year and convinced me to focus primarily on soccer. And he did a good job of that and came, played as a goalkeeper here for four years in soccer team. [00:07:51] Speaker B: He had a pretty good career at that, too. [00:07:53] Speaker A: I loved it. The guy came after me was a little better, but it was fun. I loved it. But one of the things I loved in that was I was never the best soccer player. I always said, you know, my competitive advantage was more my mind than my physical abilities, but the opportunities that I had to develop relationships with these guys. So I don't know about you, and I want to talk about this a little bit. When I was in high school, I went to a public high school, and I was two very different sets of friends. I had my friends from camp and youth group and church, my christian friends, and then I had my high school sports friends. And those are the guys I played sports with. I played pickup sports with. I talked about, you know, the NBA or professional soccer, whatever. I would say I really had one friend in my life that kind of crossed over both of those things. But for the most part, it was very separate and sports was very secular to me. And then my christian friends, like, those are the people that I talked about the Lord with and encouraged and grew with. And as a result, in a lot of ways, I would kind of be one type of person, one run group of people, and another type of person that run a different group of people. And what I found when I came to Emmaus and had this first opportunity, which I know a lot of people out there have had opportunities to play on christian teams. But for me, coming in at 19 playing soccer, like with guys like Travis Holton that I had in the podcast and guys like Logan matineer that I've had in the concerning him podcast, right. These guys who were at Emmaus to serve the Lord. And then, hey, I love soccer. Let's play soccer. Let's grow. And then growing together as a team, both athletically and our tactics for soccer. Right. And understanding the game, but then spiritually as well. So I want to hear your thoughts and your kind of your story with all that. [00:09:44] Speaker B: Yeah. So I'd say very similar. I mean, I was homeschooled, but we weren't in an area that was big enough for have a homeschool team didn't even know, like, homeschool sports existed to the capacity that they do nowadays. But so I played for a public high school, so the state of Wyoming was gracious enough to allow back in the day. I think they're a little more stingy nowadays, but to allow homeschoolers to participate in public school sports. So I played all four years of high school football, high school basketball, and I did a year of track. And so there was only really, for me, there was really only one friend that crossed over between, you know, church and homeschool friends and then also played on the basketball team with me. And so, yeah, it was very, you know, you know how it goes. Like you're immature, 17, 1618 year old, and, you know, you just go in the flow like a lot of times, you know, oh, like all this is brand new because I was homeschooled, and we moved around a lot, too, because my dad was in the military. And so just experiencing that of, like, you know, you can be very, you're molded in what you're in, and you can be very, you know, peer pressured it into whatever it may be or just think differently. And so that was what became really appealing to me with Emmaus, was like, okay, this is a Christian. This is a Bible college. You're with all believers, because that's what our mission of the school is, is that we're a campus full of born again believers that are growing in our faith to go out and impact the world for Christ. And that was just so like, you know, I was like, I want to be a part of that because I want to be in an environment where, you know, you can still be competitive, but the main goal is, you know, to serve the Lord, to honor him, and all that we do on and off the court or the field. And I think I just fell in love with that, of being able to be around a team full of believers, a coach, coaches that really stressed, you know, the game, but also the spiritual aspect of, you know, are you growing spiritually? That's the main goal. [00:11:33] Speaker A: So you talk about growing spiritually while playing sports. One of the things I really want to talk about today is kind of the role of athletics, and really specifically where I want to hit on, or at least me personally want to hit on, is is the role of, like, team sports in the faith and not necessarily saying that this is some sort of requirement, because not at all. It's not not a requirement, but maybe there's a question of, is there a role for athletics in sports? In the faith. I think there might be some christians out there who would say, no, there isn't a role that's worldly. [00:12:05] Speaker B: Yeah, I've been around those people. [00:12:06] Speaker A: It's. It's just there for entertainment. Right. And we need to be focusing on reading scripture, evangelizing, you know, all of these other things, and it's just a distraction. And so I'd like to hear. I have thoughts, too, but I want to hear your thoughts. [00:12:21] Speaker B: Yeah, I mean, I've heard those thoughts, too, of, like, okay, you know, they're just what the world wants. They're just entertainment. It's a waste of your time. Nothing good comes out of it. And, man, you could, you couldn't be more wrong with that statement. I mean, we say, like, you know, sports brings people together. I mean, you have, you can connect with people through sports that you would never be able to connect with. And I think, like, obviously for basketball specifically, you know, doctor James Naismith created the game as an evangelistic tool to, you know, back in, whenever he did, like, he built it so that he could connect with the people that would come to the YMCA and hang out and be active, and so he would have it where, you know, you play the sport and then you use the, you know, the thoughts about it or the concepts about it to explain the gospel and explain Christianity. I think, like, it's so important, like, especially from a team aspect sport. Like, you know, in scripture, it talks about, you know, we are, the church is the body, and, you know, there's so many different moving parts within the body that need to be to help others in the church. And it's same with basketball. I mean, you look at if you have a team, you know, a lot of teams are pretty big size. You know, basketball, you have a team of 15. Soccer, you have a team of 28 or so. And so with that, I mean, it's correlate. It's one for one correlation of, you know, if one area isn't bought in or isn't doing the right thing, you know, that hampers the entire body. And so, you know, you have your coaches, you have your captains, you have your team. Kind of same with, you know, church like elders, deacons, congregation. So a lot of it can be thrown together as, you know, they connect very well. And I think, like, just with that, like, even the experience, like I've had at Emmaus, like, when we've been able to work downtown at the dream center, like, you know, those kids are like, oh, cool, like, they're coming to help us with academics. And then. Wait, you play basketball and immediately they're your best friend and they'll listen to, like, anything you talk about. And so I think it's just so unique and so neat with sports because, like I said, it's a language and it opens up so many possibilities. [00:14:17] Speaker A: Yeah, it's. It's interesting about the dream center. Dream center being this. I don't know, you guys probably talked about in this, I think, in the past. Dream center is this awesome thing downtown Dubuque run by Emmaus alum, who. It's, I mean, kind of an after school program. Right. And you guys bring your basketball players down there and they're doing tutoring. They're playing basketball with them, and they're just connecting with these kids. A lot of times it's kids from kind of difficult home environments, and they're able to. Yeah, they're able to have close connections and having something extra, not just, hey, I'm here to. [00:14:50] Speaker B: And we're able to talk about Jesus, which is so awesome and amazing, but. [00:14:54] Speaker A: If all you're doing is showing up and, hey, I'm going to force you to do your math homework, and then I'm going to talk to you about Jesus. Like, that kid doesn't want to hear you talk about math, let alone. And now you're like, gospel conversations are tough, but if you're able to say, hey, let's go shoot some hoops over. [00:15:07] Speaker B: At the gym and have that conversation. [00:15:09] Speaker A: And then have those conversations there. Yeah, that's a great opportunity to connect. I love that you guys do that. So there's that aspect of, you know, hey, this is something that isn't inherently sinful, that people in the world love. And it can be a cool connecting team. [00:15:25] Speaker B: That's. [00:15:25] Speaker A: That there's. And then you talked about Doctor James Naismith. Definitely with basketball. So there's that aspect of sports. I also just think about how God has given us many good gifts. Yes. And he obviously, we understand that, you know, Christian. The purpose of the christian life is to glorify God. Um, and things that distract us from glorifying God. Glorifying God. We should weed out even good things. Right. You can have somebody that, you know, loves to read, and they can love to read too much to the point that it distracts them from glorifying God in their life because they're just reading all the time. But that reading isn't inherently bad. [00:16:02] Speaker B: Right. Yes. [00:16:03] Speaker A: Even, you know, food's a great example. Right. We've probably. We're both a little heavier than we were competing. [00:16:08] Speaker B: Until it becomes gluttony. [00:16:09] Speaker A: Exactly, exactly. And there's, there can be sin there, but that's food isn't inherently sinful. I often think about athletics in a similar way. Right. Paul in the Gospels is often not in the gospels, in the epistles, is often using athletic imagery of running the race and those types of things and even talks about how becoming stronger is good for you. Then he says, it's not as good as growing in your faith, but it's still good for you. And so I think about athletic training. It sports as a result, kind of interwoven with that as a gift from God and something that similar almost. I view it a lot of ways to art, if that makes sense. I mean, there's people that love art. You go to an art museum, and there's nothing in the Bible that says christians have to love art and appreciate art. Something in the Bible that condemns art. And I think, you know, historically, a lot of artists sought to, you know, write beautiful pieces of music, paint beautiful portraits as an attempt to glorify God, to say, God's given me these skills. Let me try to utilize them and use them. Exactly. I think a sports is a similar thing. And then I think of all these good things that, that God is using team athletic competition environments for. You've got a cool story, and we'll touch on that in a minute, of somebody coming to saving faith through athletic competition related specifically to Emmaus. And I think we'll get to that story in just a SEc because I really want to hear it again. But I think you're talking about the church. I was talking. Caleb Hunter is a freshman on the soccer team. He does some work for us here in the studio, sometimes produces some podcasts. He's a great kid. And him and I were talking in August last year, soccer season just started. I'll tell you, this kid just wants to serve the Lord with his life. [00:18:07] Speaker B: It's awesome. [00:18:07] Speaker A: He's great to be around. [00:18:08] Speaker B: So encouraging to see. [00:18:10] Speaker A: And he's on the soccer team, and him and I are talking, and he started for us. He played left back. He could play a bunch of positions for us. And he's pretty skilled. And he was talking to me. He's like, is this worth it? Is it worth it? He's like, I really want to go into ministry. I want to preach the word. I want to do music ministry. He loves writing songs. He's like, writing different songs that are just filled with scripture. It's, it's, it's so cool. And so him and I are talking, and we're just kind of talking through that whole concept. And I'm not here to force anybody to stay on a team. If they've got other things that's going to take them away and they've got stuff to do, like, hey, that's great, but we're talking about lessons that you can learn. I was telling him, I was like Caleb, and he might. He might not even remember this conversation. The give and take, especially the game of soccer, the lessons that you have to learn to put yourself aside for the betterment of the group is such an important. I mean, from a secular perspective, you could just call it a life lesson of, like, sometimes, you know, just in the world with how the world works. You gotta put what you want aside for the betterment of the group so that everybody can succeed. But when you think about the church and you think about the body of Christ and everybody having a different role, and it's all working together for the purpose of glorifying God, in my understanding of how I'm coaching soccer and relating to these players, that's the goal, is to teach them. You're working together, Caleb. You've got these skills. You hustle super hard. You're playing left back. And for those that don't know soccer, that is not a. It's not a position that gets a lot of attention or glory. Right? The goalkeeper often will make some great saves and they'll get some attention. And the strikers and the wingers and even some of the midfielders get some attention. The fullbacks, you get the left and right back. People don't think about the full backs, but that position is so important to success. If he doesn't show up, if he doesn't put in full effort, we're going to lose easily. And so for him to see, okay, I need to. I'm not going to get all the glory and the attention here. And it's actually something, if you want to talk about our sports, something I like about soccer better than basketball, and that you can't just be one person running the whole thing. Even the Lionel Messis and the Cristiano Ronaldos and these great players, they don't. [00:20:33] Speaker B: Win every game well, and they don't. [00:20:35] Speaker A: Win them on their own. Right. The best striker in England right now, Holland, is incredible. And he takes so few touches a game because his teammates are setting him up. What he does well is he just finishes really well. Right? Nobody can do it alone. And that's true about the christian life. You cannot live the christian life alone. [00:20:54] Speaker B: And not at all. [00:20:55] Speaker A: You need these other people. Now, maybe there'd be a slight difference in, you know, the goal of putting yourself aside for a soccer game or a basketball game is so the team can have success. And I would probably say within the church, really, the goal is not. It's not really success in a worldly fashion. It's more like the goal is for Christ to be glorified. But the lesson of putting yourself aside is for that unity so that we can work together and be unified. [00:21:21] Speaker B: It's so important. [00:21:22] Speaker A: Yeah, but I want to hear, you know, we talk about, you know, so we're talking about how some people aren't always interested or in, in sports, or they might think that sports are a distraction. We've heard. We've both heard that about Emmaus. [00:21:36] Speaker B: Oh, yeah. [00:21:36] Speaker A: We've both heard. Why does me have sports? What's, what's the purpose? You're bringing in students who don't really take ministry seriously, don't really take studying scripture seriously. They're just there for the chance to play, play sports. They'll say that, or they'll say, you're bringing in students who are taking ministry seriously, and then you're providing them with this big distraction. [00:21:57] Speaker B: Yep. [00:21:57] Speaker A: And taking them away from ministry, and you're telling them to. They need be working out in the off season and working on their jump shot or whatever it is. Why do it? And I want to hear your thoughts on that. [00:22:08] Speaker B: I mean, you look at scripture, like you said earlier, you know, Paul, you know, uses an illustration of athletics for the christian faith. He talks about christian faith being a race, and you run the race fully and you finish strong. And I think a lot of it comes down to also, you know, it also says, you know, everything you do, you give it your all, no matter what it is. If that's, you know, leading worship in chapel, if that's in your classes, if that's playing a sport. And again, I think, like, just having that ability to, you know, have those available for people because, like, you know, talking about myself, like basketball was, there was one of the main reasons why I came to Emmaus. And, you know, if we. If Emmaus did or did not have it, would I. Would I have come? You know, maybe, maybe not. And so there's a lot of people that come out of it that, you know, it just opens an avenue of, you know, if the. Or we wouldn't have had them, like, their sights wouldn't have been on us originally if it wasn't for these opportunities the same, like, since we added all of our programs, you know, originally, may I only had a Bible program, and they started adding, adding, you know, teacher education, nursing, intercultural studies, educational ministries, business, counseling, psychology. And that was just more to broaden them being like, hey, there's more options for more people to get here while still coming and studying the Bible and growing their faith, but also within these different programs. And so it just opens up a new avenue now with that, you know, we still have to be, you know, careful with how we utilize it or how we view it because, you know, we want to keep our identity of what is the purpose of the sport, you know, is it to win games? Is it to, you know, bring in new students to help grow them spiritually, to help, you know, raise them up to the next generation of leaders? And so if we keep. If we can, in the words of the great late Halsey Glock, if we keep the main thing, the main thing, then we'll be fine. [00:23:56] Speaker A: To peel back the curtain a little bit, we have monthly coaches meetings that we're a part of. All the head coaches and assistant coaches get together with Chris McHugh, who's our head soccer coach, athletic director, who kind of supervises or organizes those meetings. And a conversation that we have pretty regularly is to be purposeful, to not become one of those colleges that just is using athletics just to get by. Hey, go recruit anybody you can recruit. Fill up your rosters. This is how we're gonna pay the bills, and that's how our college is gonna exist. There's a lot of especially d three schools. [00:24:33] Speaker B: Yeah, there's a lot of smaller schools that have gone that missional model of bring anyone in. They're here. They go to chapel. They have their Bible class. They'll listen. And we've, you know, some schools do that well, and we've seen plenty of schools that have ended up failing and closing because they've taken that model, and it just hasn't worked out. And, like, you're, to your point, like, yeah, we've had those conversations of, that's not us. That's not who we want to be. We want to stick who, you know, with what we do well with bringing in christian athletes and help, you know, them along their journey. [00:25:04] Speaker A: When I get on the phone with high school or Sahe high school soccer players, the first thing I say is, I say, hey, I want you to list me for 90 seconds here. Then I can hear your thoughts, and I'll tell them every time we at Emmaus Bible College are looking to recruit soccer players who are good. We want good, competitive soccer players who are going to help us win. But I said, we also need them to be focused on Christ, to love the Lord, to want to grow together. I'll tell them we do. You know, we've got guys on our team that are just doing Bible studies, not because the coaches are telling them to, because they want to do Bible studies with their other soccer players. We want people that are love, that are attracted to that culture and want to come grow in their walk with Christ, grow in their love and their understanding of the gospel with other soccer players. And I'll say, look, I actually, I recognize. I'll say this to the recruit. I recognize that, that it's pretty hard to check both those boxes. And we understand that it's an uphill battle. If we wanted to say, we'll just take anybody, you know, as long as you're good at soccer, we could broaden, you know, who we're recruiting or if we wanted to say, we don't care at all if you're good at soccer. We just. We just care about the faith aspect. We could really broaden it that way. And we're saying, me and coach McHugh were saying, no, we actually really want both. We think they exist. We know they exist because contrary to. [00:26:24] Speaker B: Popular belief, there are those out there. [00:26:26] Speaker A: And we're able to find them. And I look at a Bennett Kreiner, who's a freshman for us this year, and, and Ben Bennett came to Emmaus because of soccer. And Bennett has had an impact on the school as a freshman. That has nothing to do with soccer because he loves the Lord and he wants to serve the Lord and he's excited about ministry. This summer, he's going home. He's doing an internship at his church. He's going to work with the youth all summer long. And he's. I mean, he's talking to me about it daily. He's super excited for this opportunity, and that's who he is. And he's a soccer player. He's really good at soccer, and yet he has an impact on campus. That has nothing to do with the fact that he's a really good soccer player. And those are types of guys that we're looking for, and they exist. And we feel that this provides an opportunity for people like that Bennett Kreiner, for people like a Matthew Tomlinson, who would not have been interested in the Mays Bible college to come in and make a positive impact, not just on the athletic team. Exactly right. But with an all areas of campus. Right. Bennett's, I think, playing piano for. On the praise team for chapel. Right. He's. He's getting involved in all those types of stuff. I'm just gonna use this opportunity to hype up all my guys, but I love them all. But we coach McEwan and Chris and I love, love it when we see our guys get involved this way, because it's showing. We brought in the right guys. Okay. What we're doing is working. Let's keep trying to find these guys who are going to help contribute towards success and help contribute towards an environment on campus where people love the Lord, they want to serve the Lord, they want to grow in their relationship with the Lord together with other people. Yeah. Yeah. It's. [00:28:05] Speaker B: It's so encouraging. [00:28:07] Speaker A: And so, you know, you think about. You think about sports and Emmaus, and you're like, why are they doing that? And I think another aspect of it, you know, all this stuff we're talking about people having the opportunity to come to campus, but there's also this hesitancy that some people might have is, okay, you've got a Bennet Kreiner. You've got a Matthew Tomlinson. And they love ministry. You've got a Caleb Hunter. Why are you giving them this opportunity to have this distraction? And one of the things I think that's pretty cool, especially as assistant coaches, that we. The role. That kind of a unique role that assistant coaches get to have is an opportunity for discipleship on the team. I want you to talk to a minute, but what does that look like in the basketball team, you guys? [00:28:50] Speaker B: I mean, yeah, just the. The ability that you and I have and, you know, the other assistant coaches have. You know, you're obviously, you're the coach, but also, it's a little different because you're not the head coach, but you're able to have those, you know, great, quality relationships and conversations with them, you know, while still fully backing up the head coach. And just, you know, they. They might listen to the head coach, but if you say it to them, they hear it a little differently, and they might take it a little different. And so just being able to have, you know, that mentorship of. They can come talk to you. I mean, how often do I come to your office? And there's. There's the soccer guys in your office? Or we always joke that my. My cubicles are revolving door because the guys are always up there talking to me and just having that and able to just, you know, talk life with them. Just, hey, what's going on? Hey, what's. What are you struggling with? Like, what are you doing? Well, at, like, how can I pray for you? Like, is there any, like, thing that you're struggling with, thought wise, on any topic you're going through in your classes and just having that as just another person that they can talk to, you know, not just have to, you know, call youth pastor back home and say, hey, I have questions about this, or, you know, talk to a professor here. But just to have another avenue for another person that spends a lot. Like, we spend a lot of time with our players, and I'm so thankful for that because, you know, you just get to do life together. [00:30:02] Speaker A: Yeah. And I, you know. Yeah. Like, you're talking about. I definitely have students coming to my office during the day, during the night, and, you know, sometimes they just want to sit there and do some homework, just have some company. And I'm doing work, and they're doing homework in the corner of my office, and that's great. There's other times they come in and they're looking, hey, I'm working on paper. Can you give me some help? Or I've got a. I've got a message. I've got a preach for youth group. Can you look over it for me? That type of stuff, that's. I love that. And then you get the personal stuff, too. You get people coming, hey, I have. [00:30:31] Speaker B: This going back home. Yeah, I need some advice. And you're like, okay, let me pray about that. [00:30:35] Speaker A: And, yeah, and sometimes those are, you know, 01:00 a.m. Conversations and the opportunity, the relationship that we have on the soccer team, on the basketball team, I think about, you know, coach Hannah Richter, coach Megan Bailey, and the volleyball team, the relationship that they're able to have. Whenever Hannah's on campus, the girls just fly. [00:30:55] Speaker B: Flood. Yeah, they flood up to the office. [00:30:56] Speaker A: They're talking about volleyball, sure, but they're also talking about all sorts of other just life stuff. And Hannah is mentoring them and guiding them and pointing to them to the Lord. And this is a relationship they wouldn't have been able to have if they weren't playing. [00:31:09] Speaker B: Right. [00:31:09] Speaker A: And that's what I want to highlight for a minute, is just this fact that it's actually not a distraction. It's an opportunity. What I view coaching here, and I've coached in secular environments, but what I view coaching here as an opportunity for discipleship and that we are creating trust. My players have trust in me, and I have trust in them because of 06:00 a.m. Practices August 17 or whatever. [00:31:36] Speaker B: Eight hour, eight hour road trips, you. [00:31:39] Speaker A: Know, meals at Chipotle after a four to one loss, and you're just disappointed. All that type of stuff, we've grown. And so during the season and after the season, those guys come to you and they say, I need help. I want to talk, and I don't have to force that. Sometimes in the, those types of mentoring type of relationships, you've got to come in to somebody and say, you really need to hear this, or, I've done that before. It's not easy. What this creates is a bond that you have where there's a trust. And these people say, I trust my coaches. I want to learn from them. I'm in this environment where I know they're employed by Emmaus not just because they know soccer or they know basketball, but because they love the Lord and they want to serve him. And so I can trust them in going to them for help, going to them for guidance, go to them for, hey, can you read over this paper before I submit it? All that type of stuff, and that's, to me, I would never view sport. Now, I wouldn't say everybody has to play a sport. Certainly not. We don't want everybody here playing sports. [00:32:39] Speaker B: Exactly. [00:32:41] Speaker A: But I would certainly say that it's not a waste for any of them because of these relationships we're able to have with them, relationships that they're able to have with each other. And I get super excited when I see our soccer players doing stuff together that has nothing to do with soccer. Right. Because it tells me those guys are friends. Those guys, like, hanging around, they're doing a Bible study together, they're going on a hike together, you know, they're going home, you know, to somebody's house over Christmas break or Easter break or whatever it is, because they just love each other. That's so cool to me. I love seeing that. [00:33:14] Speaker B: And it just shows, like, you know, with the saying it's not one side of the corner of the other. Like, you know, they have that with their classes on their academic side, on their spiritual life side, but then they're hearing the exact same things from us on the athletic side, and it just even more, you know, grounds home, what they're learning, what they're being taught, what we're preaching to them. [00:33:32] Speaker A: Yeah. Well, this is fun. Thanks for coming on a little crossover episode. Maybe we'll do it again. [00:33:38] Speaker B: We'll have to. [00:33:39] Speaker A: Yep. Next time maybe we'll get Shane on. All right. Thanks, Matt. [00:33:43] Speaker B: Yep. [00:33:46] Speaker A: Thank you for listening to concerning him an Emmaus podcast. Ministries like concerning him are possible because of the generous contributions from our partners around the world. For more information about partnering with us, please visit emmaus.edu partner.

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