Soccer and the Kingdom of God

April 4, 2013 — 2 Comments

I played soccer up until high school, and always enjoyed the game, so when it came time to put Micah into sports, soccer was a natural choice.  After a few stints at the YMCA, we joined our neighborhood league and I volunteered to help coach our team.

It’s been an interesting few weeks in the fun world of coaching U6 soccer.

Thus far the kids have had a blast, but some of the parents have been difficult to love. Our team is a microcosm of the brokenness of our neighborhood.  We’ve got overly competitive dads, passive-aggressive couples, absentee fathers, and a “Christian” who is slandering and gossiping.  It has come to a head this week with what amounts to a coup d’ etat  – one of the parents invited the former coach to “help out” with practice.  Seriously?!?

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are also some amazing parents who are incredibly supportive and encouraging, but it’s a little discouraging to see people ruining something so fun for Kindergartners.  As I’ve been processing the situation, the Lord has been gracious to teach me a few things.

  1. The economy of God’s kingdom is radically different than the economy of the world. I decided to help coach the team because I simply wanted to serve my neighbors. In the kingdom of God, the posture of service is pursued and celebrated.  In the world, people often treat you like a servant if you adopt a posture of service.  The Spirit empowers us in these moments to remember Jesus’ service, and lovingly and graciously continue to serve.
  2. The Kingdom of darkness is alive and well in suburbia.  Although it often looks different than brokenness in under resourced communities, there is a deep need for the gospel to set people free from their captivity to their sin.  It’s manifested in a need for glory through others, self-importance derived from little kingdoms of 6 year olds, and a slavish desire to have every expectation met.

As I have processed through the experience, it has all made me love my neighborhood more and beg God to establish His kingdom.  Without a gospel presence and a gospel witness, the kingdom of sin, Satan and death continues to reign. I pray that God would raise up more faithful followers of Jesus to declare and demonstrate the kingdom of God in these everyday places – youth soccer leagues, PTA boards, and suburban neighborhoods.

Mission doesn’t require spectacular circumstance, but supernaturally empowered every day people.

Todd Engstrom

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Although I was raised in the church and had a knowledge of God, I didn’t embrace Jesus until I heard gospel preached and lived out by some Young Life leaders. God has proven faithful and good to me since that day, even in great suffering and loss. I have learned to treasure Romans 8:28 as a wellspring of hope and truth. God has blessed me with an amazing wife (Olivia), three sons (Micah, Hudson and Owen) and a daughter (Emmaline). Growing up in the northwest, the thought never crossed my mind that I would have four children who are native Texans. Despite landing in the south, I still watch Notre Dame games with my children every Saturday in hopes they will land at my alma mater.

2 responses to Soccer and the Kingdom of God

  1. Thanks for this Todd. This is good stuff.

  2. Great post. Thank you.

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