After the 9th Inning Ministry breakfast in Omaha, Neb., on Saturday, Texas A&M assistant coach Mike Clement made time to talk to The Christian Post about his faith. Coach Clement is in his second year as an assistant coach at A&M and he leads a voluntary weekly Bible study with the team.
His team is currently competing in the College World Series.
CP: Do you find it difficult to speak freely about your faith in an environment that isn’t expressly Christian?
Clement: Years ago that was more of a difficult thing for me, but then I just figured the Lord’s will is for me to share my faith and if that causes a problem, then I’m okay – obviously there’s a better opportunity for me somewhere else. If someone has a problem to the point of letting me go, then so be it, really.
Definitely, it is a challenge. Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom” and I’ve kind of lived my life by that. I’ve just got to figure that if the Lord wants me to share my faith, I’m going to do it no matter where I’m at.
CP: Who are the spiritual leaders on your team and what does their leadership look like?
Clement: Jacob [House, a junior first baseman] and Troy [Stein, a freshman backup catcher] are both leaders in our clubhouse from a players’ perspective and they have an unbelievable platform. We’re one of the few programs in America where we get a great following for college baseball and their platform is sensational for being able to stand up and say what they are living their life for.
We have a solid group of core believers. And I think that, just like with anywhere, if our clubhouse is divided up into 35 players, I would say there are six or seven who are truly seeking God’s heart and then there are probably another 10 to 15 who are on the fence – typical impressionable college kids who could go either way. Maybe one night they are being pulled one way, but can be pulled the other way too and that’s where it’s important for us as believers to pull them to God’s will, or have God pull them to His will through us.
Those six or seven guys who are truly seeking God’s heart are really making a huge impact on the team.
CP: Is there a story that comes to mind about how one of these guys helped reach out to one of the other players who were on the fence? Or do you have a story about how the Bible study itself has impacted players?
Clement: In the fall, when our season is not going on, we really hammer at the Bible studies. The freshman kids on our team come just because everyone else is coming. Then, all of a sudden, you start to preach the Word and – we were in Philippians this fall – and all of a sudden you can just see their eyes light up.
There are some who are off in the corner who don’t care, but most of them start to understand the Word and that’s a really neat thing to see. Your heart just swells. That’s why I do what I do.
We’re going to start the book of James when school starts back up in the fall and I’m excited about it. James is an amazing book. It’s black and white – there isn’t a whole lot to interpret in there. It tells you exactly what you need to know to live your life and I think it’s good for new believers.
CP: What is God telling you during your personal time with Him right now? Is there a particular Bible verse or passage that He keeps bringing to your mind?
Clement: When you go through a baseball season, there’s a lot of different challenges, there’s a lot of different obstacles. It’s the same thing with life. There’s up and downs and it’s a bit of a roller coaster ride. The thing that helps stabilize that is Scripture, the Gospel.
I lean on a number of different verses. Proverbs 17:17 is one. It says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Pulling believers closer is an important thing to me. You can’t put up your walls as a Christian. We’re asked by Scripture to go out and preach God’s Word and that’s what we need to do, and to do that, obviously you need other believers around you as a support group.