Last week, I was sitting with some of the team that is helping me launch the Culture of the Few. We were talking about how following Jesus leads to investing in others and making disciples. As we were chatting, my friend Alex asked me if there had been specific people in my life that had invested in me in a way that had made a difference.
While there have been many, my mind raced back to a man who became a big part of my life during my senior year of high school. Dale Metcalf was a championship caliber basketball coach from Kentucky. He had taken the position of Athletic Director, Assistant Principal and Varsity Basketball Coach at my school late that summer, moving to town just before school started.
As a member of the basketball team and someone whose dream was to become a basketball coach, I was both thrilled and intimidated to hear about Coach Metcalf's resume. Basketball was a huge part of my life and the thought of someone with his experience coming to my small private school was exciting. Even though our team went on to win the regional championship that year and advanced to the State Semi-finals, I had no way of knowing that this coach, who was almost a legend in my mind, would have a far greater impact on my life as a teacher than he did as a coach.
I had grown up attending a Christian school my whole life. A part of what that meant was the fact that in addition to all of the normal classes, that we also had a Bible class. For most of my school career, I was handed a blue "Bible Truths" textbook on the first day of school. Our teachers would work their way through the curriculum so that we would complete the textbook by the end of the year.
I was excited when I found out that Coach Metcalf would be my senior Bible class teacher. I expected that he would do His best to teach his way through the textbook. I was wrong. I don't remember if it was during our first class together or not, but I do remember that he was very clear that we would not be using a textbook in his Bible class.
This may not sound like a big deal, but I had been going through the same drill every year since Kindergarten. It was not that I hadn't learned anything from other teachers, but Bible class was typically very predictable and uninspiring. I didn't quite know what to think about a Bible class without a script.
Coach told us that instead of teaching us from a textbook that he would be sharing things from his life. While the "sharing life" language sounds very natural to me now, looking back I recognize that it was actually revolutionary for me to hear this man that seemed like a legend before I even met him, give to us out of his life experience. As he shared from his life, he directed our focus on the essentials of walking with God and warned us not to become distracted by things that wouldn't really matter in life.
I was disarmed by the vulnerability of this man that I had held in such high esteem because of his coaching record. He was transparent about places where he struggled and about how precious the presence of God was to him. I will never forget the quiver in his voice the day that he shared an especially personal story about the reality of God's holiness and love. Watching this man lead by sharing his life was changing my mindset of what it meant to be a leader of men.
I was particularly impacted by his teaching form 2 Timothy. He shared for several weeks out of chapter 2He walked us through what he called it the "3 D's". He taught us about the Determination of an athlete, the Discipline of a soldier, and the Diligence of a farmer. He did more than read the passage and go over an outline, he opened up his heart and shared with us what the Word had come to mean to him.
The thing that I learned from him that has probably shaped my life the most came as I listened to him speak from his heart about 2 Timothy 2:2. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these things to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
I didn't realize it at the time, but Coach was practicing that scripture as he taught it. In sharing his strengths and struggles, he was investing what he had learned into us. I have talked with several of my old classmates about this recently, and we all recognize that we are still practicing the things that Coach taught us all of those years ago. We are practicing them and passing them on to others.
I truly believe the trajectory of my life was altered as I encountered the Jesus inside of Coach Metcalf. Even though he spoke the truth to us, it wasn't what he said that has made the lasting impact. It was what He lived.
If you have a heart to follow Jesus and make disciples, it is important that you learn how to confidently share your life with those you are walking with. Not just because this is what Coach Metcalf did, but because it is what Jesus did. He spent the last three years of His life with a handful of regular people, trusting that His impact on them would alter history.
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