Youth Sports as Idols

I recently had a roundtable conversation with a group of local church youth workers. We were chatting about the role that youth sports has taken in our current cultural setting. As parents, we want our kids to be able to play, to be able to develop their athletic gifts and abilities, and to be able to move up through the ranks if God has given them athletic talents. Sports are a good thing. But like all good things, sports and children’s athletic achievements can become ultimate things. When that happens, we have wandered into the territory known as idolatry. When sports take up our time, money, attention, thoughts, and devotion, they have taken over God’s rightful and proper place in our lives. Because our kids are watching us, they are learning that this needs to be the way they live as well. One of my youth worker friends gave us this to think about during our conversation: When parents allow sports to become an idol, they are robbing their children of spiritual nurture and costly Christian faith.