Beyond an occasional sports-inspired sermon illustration, sports are generally regarded as having little relevance to the Christian faith. More often, they are viewed as a welcome and safe reprieve from politics and religion. Quietly, however, as they avoid the discerning eye of the church, sports are slowly overtaking families and overwhelming parents. Under the labels “elite,” “select,” and “travel,” a new experience of sports has taken root in American culture demanding financial burdens, time commitments, and heightened pressures never before seen.
Community leaders from various public sectors have criticized many recent trends in youth sports, but, alas, where has the church been? This new “elite” expression of youth sports is quickly building an intimidating front against the church. As church attendance declines, “elite” youth sports participation is on the rise. This book ventures into the challenging, controversial, and powerful world of youth sports. Young people participate in sports more than just about any other activity, and the church has neglected its role in providing a voice of discernment for what participating in sports should look like. Christians are desperately in need of a manifesto for helping them wrestle with the complex, exciting, and often exhausting world of youth sports.