NTC Day 1 Wrap-Up: The Power of Pairings

May 1, 2018

Where in the world could one find a group of university students who show equal bouts of passion towards an all-star soccer game and a rock-paper-scissors tournament?

Yep, National Training Camp has definitely arrived in Guelph, Ontario.

And this year, 64 athletes from B.C. to Quebec are joining forces to discover what it means to invite God into their world of sport, something that comes to us as a gift from God to bring Him the ultimate glory.

I was so captivated by the abundance of energy that immediately permeated throughout this large group. A diverse concoction of emotions began brewing in NTC’s first few hours. Excitement, nervousness, confidence, uncertainty – all are perfectly valid feelings prior to embarking upon such a notorious event among AIA’s campus ministry.

After minimizing some early jitters through group discussions and social activities, day one brought forward a whole new set of experiences, both in the classroom and on the incredible field. Dave Johns, an AIA staff member for nearly 40 years, unpacked two lessons in a five-lecture series exploring the theme of idolatry.

The first session challenged the group to consider who or what we worship, revealing that idols take on many tangible and intangible forms that distract us from the One who gave us these joys in the first place. The second topic explored the concept of maximizing motivation, which isn’t earned by who we are or how we perform, but by knowing whose we are – loved, redeemed, and free children of God.

Then there were the on-field sessions, where various athletic scenarios were simulated to introduce various tools that could be used to practice Christian principles in the heat of competition. Whether it was dealing with external forces like coaches and fans, or concentrating on more personal responses of thankfulness and letting go of mistakes, there was certainly a lot to take in throughout the day’s events.

And the level of competition… well, I was blown away. The tenacity required to endure several games while mentally working through these new concepts is no minor task. I honestly can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the week, if this is an early sign of how God is working through these athletes.

I’ve noticed that these first two days have seen several couplings being weaved together – East and West, worship and motivations, classroom and field, to name a few. All of these pairings, however, have been crucial in order to understand how to bring together two foundational items of this ministry: faith and sport.

By the culmination of this week, no participant or staff member will have mastered what exactly that means, but through devoted practice and prayer, we can all aim to grow a little bit closer to Jesus, and continue to invite Him into every area of our lives.

Written By: Shayna Lewis


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