It’s baseball season. And I’ve got one kid left who plays Little League. Gabe is ten years old and loves baseball (along with almost every other sport he’s ever tried). At some point soon, Gabe will need coaches who really know what they are doing. But for now, at least for this third-grade and fourth-grade rec-league baseball team, he’s got me as his head coach.


Gabe loves that. Which is mostly why I do it.


And I love it too.


Kind of.


Truth be told, there’s a lot I really don’t look forward to. Especially running early-season practices. I don’t always know how to structure our practices to keep them engaged, learning, and having fun the whole time. I’m no baseball guru. I struggle to know what to tell Johnny to improve his chances of making contact with the ball. And then there are all the decisions about who plays where and how much, not to mention communicating to parents about league policies, schedules, and fundraisers. It’s tough stuff! And time-consuming! Thank God for YouTube videos, a few assistant coaches, and some gracious team parents.


But besides investing in my relationship with Gabe, there’s another reason I keep coming back to coaching Little League. I reflect often and pray about my life as a baptized layperson called to impact the secular world around me with the light of Christ. For me, coaching is one of the best ways I have found to expand my circle of influence and relationships further into the community where I live.


I live an otherwise rather “churchy” life.  I work in professional Catholic ministry and constantly interact with priests, ministry professionals, and the most zealous lay people volunteering at their churches. My kids go to Catholic schools. I lead music at a monthly adoration hour. My social media profiles show that I studied theology. Most of my lifelong friendships were forged during intense periods of robust Catholic and Christian community.


So, in what ways am I putting myself out there to be present to people outside of my super-Catholic bubbles? How am I building common ground with adults and kids alike who aren’t as churchy as me?


Coaching baseball allows me to meet Joe who works in engineering and didn’t grow up with faith. I can get to know him, practice genuine curiosity about his interests and joys, and pray for him. Not every relationship I form will result in some big life change, but I have to keep going outside of my bubble, throwing that net over the side of my boat again and again, and seeing what Jesus has in store.


Read our most recent newsletter for additional ideas on connecting with people outside of your usual circle. 


What about you? Maybe coaching baseball isn’t your thing, but how can you push yourself out of your comfort zone and mingle with new people? Where are you building or strengthening relationships outside of your closest Christian community? Each of us is called to be living bridges of trust to a world that can be quite skeptical of devout faith. Your “normalness” can increase the weightiness and attractiveness of your organic witness for Christ.


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a baseball practice to go plan!


Andre Lesperance is a Content Creator and Ministry Consultant at the Evangelical Catholic. The Evangelical Catholic’s mission is to equip Catholics to live out the Great Commission. Learn more.


Read More Like This