Basketball and the Kingdom of Christ: An Open Letter To Students Concerning Boyce College Basketball

It was going to take a lot of focus, commitment, teamwork, energy, skill, and discipline for Adam to accomplish God’s will, subduing and ruling over the whole earth. Sadly, as we all know, he didn’t have what it took. Genesis 3 tells us that his loss of focus and commitment to God’s purposes cost us everything. Fortunately for us, God graciously stayed committed to his purposes to have a people exercising dominion over the earth. We all know that these purposes come to fulfillment in Jesus Christ, whose focus and faithfulness was seen as he set his face like flint towards Jerusalem where his commitment to God’s will would cost him everything.

In these last days we find ourselves in the midst of the fiercest warfare of all time, between the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of Satan. By God’s grace, the church of Jesus Christ is piercing into the darkness with a gospel that turns enemies of the cross into its most faithful soldiers. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that those who are called to lead the church in this battle must have extraordinary, Christ-centered discipline, focus, commitment, energy, and skill.

Unfortunately, many who desire to lead Christ’s church misunderstand the means of producing leaders and the end for which leaders are produced. Listening to lectures on discipline or watching great warriors for Christ in action isn’t the primary means by which leaders are produced. While these things both help, there is nothing that can replace the time and energy that is put into cultivating these qualities into our lives.

The young men who led Christ’s church in her early days knew the critical nature of discipline, focus, commitment, teamwork, and skill, having grown up working on farms and in family shops where deficiencies in these areas weren’t just seen as lazy, they were lethal. Sadly, young men today don’t grow up with these types of responsibilities and expectations, many times ending up as soft as their handshakes. Having missed out on the practical means by which leaders are produced, many young men end up destroying their ministries and damaging Christ’s church before the Devil even bothers to take notice of their work.

We believe sports, basketball in particular, are a great means by which a young man can cultivate the Christ-centered characteristics that our churches so desperately need and the demons so intensely fear. When a man commits to working with a band of brothers under the authority of a coach to discipline himself so that he and the team perform at the best of their capabilities to the glory of Christ, leaders are being produced. When a man skillfully endures beyond his capabilities to do just what is needed to make his team successful, Christ is pleased and the Devil begins to take aim.

In contrast with almost every basketball team in the land, the Boyce basketball program is not primarily concerned with you becoming the best basketball player possible (Don’t worry, it’s on our radar!). Instead, the program is fundamentally concerned with forming and shaping you into the type of man that will be fit for gospel ministry. We are offering the opportunity for athletes to join a band of brothers using basketball as a means of developing the types of skills that God has called us to use for his Son’s glory and the good of the church. In a culture that loves sports too much, we offer athletes an invitation to join a team that knows the insignificance of its game. And in a church culture that loves the kingdom of Christ too little, we summon our athletes to a team that sees the eternal significance of every aspect of life, including basketball, when seen in relation to the development of soldiers for Christ’s kingdom.

Fortunately, the kingdom of Christ won’t always be at war. The Bible tells us that there’s coming a day when all of the redeemed will rule with Christ over a new, sinless creation (Rev. 5:10; 21-22). And it doesn’t take a theologian to figure out that the redeemed will need to be disciplined, focused, committed workers to undertake a task as difficult and exciting as this. Jesus says that he’s using everything we undertake in this life to prepare us for that dominion, even basketball.