Clemson football is a big headline today. The Tigers won the College Football Championship last night handily beating Alabama 44-16. Although not in the same conference, the Crimson Tide and Tigers have met each other so often in championships they could almost be considered rivals. One aspect of Clemson that stands out for Christians is their head coach Dabo Swinney.
Swinney is an excellent football coach as the stats would tell you, but he’s also a vocal Christian. As Christians, it’s pretty obvious we love to cheer on our own. This can be seen from the fact that many Christians get excited if any celebrity just happens to mention God. It’s not uncommon to hear someone say, “So and so mentioned God in their thank you speech. They must be a Christian.” I think this is largely due to a desire to want to think that Christianity can be cool or widely accepted in popular culture.
Swinney is different though. He’s not just giving head nods to God after a big win. He’s preaching in his interviews. He’s using a game to grow and make disciples of young men. In the video above he talks about God holding him accountable for the type of men he and his coaches develop through a game. I don’t know if it would be fair to go as far as to call him a college pastor, but Clemson’s head coach is leveraging his influence to transform lives and that is something that I think we’d all do well to learn from Dabo.
No matter where you are, you have influence in someone’s life. Discipleship isn’t an amazing overnight transformation. It is a slow process where we influence others teaching them how to follow Christ not just in what we say, but in how we live our lives. We have a responsibility to those we have influence with. We show them what it looks like to obey Christ’s commands in day-to-day life. We show them what it looks like to repent when we mess up. We teach them what we know. At the end of it all we are constantly pointing them to the One who knows everything.
Your influence may be your spouse, kids, co-workers, friends, or the worker at the restaurant you’re a regular at. We all have someone though. We would all do well to follow Swinney’s example even if the circle of people we reach is much smaller. May our mindset and our aim be that of Dabo’s when he says, "“Hopefully [my life’s] going to be pleasing to my Maker,” he said, “because I know I’m going to meet Him one day, and He’s not going to pat me on the back talking about how many wins I had, how many Coach of the Year trophies we got or how much money I made.”