I’ve had the privilege to be the team chaplain for two different high school football teams in the last five years. Part of my role is to deliver a devotion to the team every week. Below are ten tips I keep in mind as I prepare each week.
1. Keep it short. The players and the coaches have enough to focus on without you going 30 minutes for a devotion.
2. Focus on the current week’s game. Do not focus on last week or next week. Keep their minds on the task at hand.
3. Know the team. Know what game they have that week. Read about them in the paper. Try to remember their names.
4. Keep it simple. Focus on a passage that will help share an illustration for football and life. Don’t introduce the Beast from the book of Revelation.
5. Get to know the coaches. Are they churched? What’s their favorite snack? Do they like you at all?
6. Treat them like men. Most of these men are just a few years away from adulthood. Don’t treat them like boys. Treat them like men and teach them how to become men.
7. Be early. You never know if the coaches may change the practice or pre-game schedule. Be early and ready.
8. Don’t be there for you. If you don’t get to speak one week, don’t cry about it. Offer to help put away equipment or help serve a pre-game meal.
9. Focus on the intangibles. The coaches can teach blocking and tackling much better than you can. Focus on reminded the team about hard work, dedication, character, team work, etc.
10. Open the door for the gospel. You will probably not be able to share the full out gospel. Introduce the gospel to them through biblical stories. Be ready for an opportunity to share if someone asks.