I love basketball. Growing up as a Hoosier, I guess that is to be expected. So when I had the opportunity to coach basketball for the first time many years ago, I jumped at the chance. I was excited to get to teach young men the fundamentals of the sport and how to play the game the right way.
However, I quickly discovered that the players weren’t really all that interested in the fundamentals. All they wanted to do was scrimmage – just play games at practice. So every practice the players would badger me with questions: “When are we going to scrimmage? Can we scrimmage now? Are we going to scrimmage today?”
I soon learned as a coach that if I did not take the time to plan my practices then the players would try to pressure me into spending the whole practice scrimmaging. But if I had a plan, I could easily tell them that we would be scrimmaging, what time we would begin scrimmaging, and for how long we would scrimmage. Initially they still tried to pressure me to do what they wanted, but over time they learned I had a plan that I intended to follow. And even if on occasion one player would dare to ask about scrimmaging, I felt no pressure because I already had a plan and a ready answer.
In our Student Leadership Institute (SLi), we teach the students the importance of being intentional with their time and their lives. Part of being a leader is taking the time to plan and being intentional about how we spend our time and resources. Just like at a basketball practice, if we don’t have a plan for how we spend our time and energy, others will try to pressure us to do what they want us to do. Whether it is peers or advertisers, we are constantly being bombarded with messages about how others think we should spend our time, energy and money. An important part of being a leader is to identify our values and our goals so that we can invest our lives for things that will matter for eternity, and not just be swept along by the plans and desires of others.
During this semester we will be working with the 8th grade students in SLi to help them think through their values and then have them set goals for their high school years. We want them to go into high school with a plan for how they will invest their lives for God’s purposes. Would you please pray with us that the students would be able to dream big dreams and set goals that would help them to be leaders who have great influence for Jesus and His kingdom in their schools?