Liberty Classical Academy’s Meaningful Purpose
“Liberty classically educates children to be moral leaders that impact the culture for Christ”
What does that mean? How is that accomplished? Our Christian, private school reaches into the community through a variety of ways. I would like to focus on our athletics program and how it can have an impact on the culture.
We have had three soccer teams, two volleyball teams, a co-op football team, six basketball teams, a baseball team, a golf team, and a track team. That is a lot of teams playing 10, 15, 20 games each. With each game, there are opposing players, coaches, officials, parents, fans, and others participating and/or watching. Liberty athletics comes in contact with many people in the community.
Excellence and Sportsmanship
This brings up two questions – what do they see, and what would we like them to see?
We want others to see excellence on the field or court - good competitive teams - just as we strive for excellence in the classroom, drama, music, and other activities. We also want them to see good sportsmanship. Sportsmanship, according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as – “conduct (as fairness, respect for one's opponent, and graciousness in winning or losing) becoming to one participating in a sport.” We have received many compliments from opposing players, coaches, officials, and fans as to the quality of play and sportsmanship of our teams. We have been chosen to receive the Sportsmanship Award for our athletic conference for three different sports. Does good sportsmanship “just happen?” Usually not - it is an intentional act, or more so, a way of living.
More Than a Sport at a Christian Private School
We teach it, we preach it, and we model it as best we can. We also attempt to take it further. We want others to not only see good sportsmanship, but see the love of God in us as we compete. We want to model Christ, so He is the foundation for everything we do. “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:26-28). This brings us to our athletic department mission statement: "At Liberty, we seek to bring honor to God by developing to the maximum the gifts and abilities He has given us as we serve each other through teamwork, sportsmanship, courage, humility, and respect."
This attitude of service is the spark plug for our behavior. Putting others ahead of ourselves involves focusing on their needs instead of our own desires. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves (Phil 2:3).” Humility is not synonymous with weakness. Rather, it shows self-confidence to the point that one does not need to bring attention to oneself. I love watching sports on television, but I also get frustrated by it because more often than not it glorifies the individual. Contrary to what many believe, life is not always about us!
We are very blessed to have wonderful coaches who not only know their sport well, but are excellent role models who come along side parents to help our student-athletes grow as men and women of God through devotions, prayer, and modeling.
Athletics is a mission field - I am one who became a Christian through athletics. It has been wonderful to see how our student-athletes have made an impact on the community and we look forward to the future as we strive to plant more seeds for Christ!
-Dave St. Martin, Athletics Director