Last year, I was the Assistant Coach of the Redeemer Lutheran boys basketball team. It was great getting to know the team and all the individual guys, but…I didn’t do much. I helped drive, scrimmaged with them, and did the score book. This year, I’m the Head Coach of the Redeemer Lutheran middle school boys basketball team. I miss the high school guys (although I see them at church), but coaching the middle schoolers is fantastic. At first, I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t do too much scheming and play-calling, but it has freed me up to connect with the boys. We’ve only had one game so far, but I can already tell that this will be a fun, rewarding season.

Redeemer is my “teaching congregation” (a church that seminarians select (or are placed at) to worship and join in the ministry wherever we see fit or there is a need). After over a year of being at Redeemer, I barely think of it as a “teaching congregation,” but more so as my home. And I think that’s because of the nature of Redeemer. I’ll post sometime this month about all the great parts of Redeemer (and maybe some of the not-so-perfect parts), but it’s really a close (and also welcoming) community. Coaching is tiring, but I’m thankful for the chance to be with these kids in fellowship. Over the next few months, I’ll be working through this coaching business–how much do I just “be” with the guys, with my genuine interest in their lives and journies? And how much do I try to teach them basketball, hold them accountable for their actions, be a role model, and be a teacher? Luckily, I’ll have plenty of practices, game days, and car rides to figure it out…and all the while will have tons of fun. And hopefully win a few games (although the players already have aspirations of an undefeated season).

P.S. In case you were wondering how our first game went this afternoon, we won 71-28! We’ve got plenty to work on, but I can’t deny the ridiculous talent and hustle the guys have. In many ways, they’ll make my coaching job pretty easy.

P.P.S. This still counts as a Sunday night post, right? Okay, good.