I have to admit that I have been thinking about this question for the last few years. In fact, I have a sign on my office wall with this question on it. I guess it is particularly because of being a P.E. teacher I get a lot of flak for being able to play games all of the time. Now I have over simplified what I actually do but I do get to do something that I really enjoy – watching others discover different ways of moving their bodies to achieve a result. But I did have to start asking this question as I continue to teach. Am I just here to enjoy playing and teaching others how to successfully shoot a free throw or spike a volleyball? I feel like I have come a long way in my approach to being a physical education teacher and missionary and would like to share that with you.
Over the course of the last few years I guess the most important question, besides asking if a person has accepted Jesus Christ as their personal saviour, I have been asking is, “How does (fill in the blank with what you are doing) contribute to eternity?“. When I ask students this question about how physical education contributes to eternity they may answer with “being physically fit helps us be healthier”, or “we get to enjoy our bodies for longer”. As you may notice a lot of times their answers are relevant for being here on earth in our mortal bodies. But we are talking about eternity. I really have come to view my job as a physical educator as not only helping others live healthy lives but to really use physical activity as the means by which we can lead others to Christ. That is my answer to how it contributes to eternity. If there are more people believing in Christ as their personal saviour because of me or my students being able to lead them to Him through activity then I feel that we are answering the “essential question”.
Now there are obvious pitfalls to using activity as a means to open up a conversation. Competition does not necessarily bring out the best in others but that is where I get the privilege of working with youth in this area as a teacher and a coach. I am far from perfect in this area but I am more concerned about my own, the students, and the players character than I am about winning. It is a hard lesson but it opens up a huge opportunity to talk to young people about reflecting Christ-like attitude and maintaining their Christian witness and testimony. It is a very hard thing to do in the heat of the game and it is why I want to lead an activity outreach each term I can so that students can practice what they learn. I am so glad for a place like RVA to be able to put these things into practice.
I thought that I would include a couple of examples of banners that we would like to put up in our gym. We would like to see a banner for each extracuricular sport that we do here that shows the type of character we are trying to instill through our sports program. If you, or maybe your business, would like to “sponsor” one of these banners please let us know and we can give you some more information.