by Beth Moller 
Sports Editor 

‘I’ve seen deeper friendships on the team.’ -Hannah Gatton

The goal of many sports teams is to build unity and tight team bonds. However, this can be more challenging on a team with mostly individual events like track and field. Over Christmas break, three women on the track team had a vision to strengthen friendships and create a stronger team by beginning a small group Bible study for members of the women’s team. Captain Chloe Gault and teammates Hannah Gatton and Danielle Jibben decided to have the Bible study meet for an hour on Friday nights as a final “pre-meet” gathering for the women to grow together, be vulnerable in a safe environment and pray for each other.

The Bible study was built around the topic of discovering God’s love and has started with members of the team getting the opportunity to share their testimonies and stories of how God’s love has been evident in their lives. “Our intent is to study God’s word about how He loves us to understand that concept more and to realize we don’t need anyone but Jesus,” Jibben explained. “It’s cool to study the Word together since we spend so much time together anyway.”

Gatton added, “Originally the Bible study was going to be focused on a book or exploring the love of God, but I’ve been really happy with the way it has gone. It’s given us a chance to be vulnerable and break pretense before going into the love of God.”

“The [focus of the Bible study] is to facilitate openness and community and to unite all the different disciplines of track while building relationships together in a Christ-centered way,” said Gault. “The purpose is coming to fruition. I’ve seen deeper community and friendships on the team.”

In addition to being a unique sport because of having mostly individual events, track and field is also different in that within the team there are smaller event groups. This means that sprinters rarely train with distance runners and throwers and jumpers have their own routines as well. Gault sees the Bible study as an opportunity to bring all the groups together.

“I am hoping it adds tradition and a level of trust. It’s a team building experience, and I hope it helps people be more encouraging cheering people on at meets,” Gault explained. “We felt like it was something that would be super beneficial that could cultivate community, and different players came together to make it happen.”

The women have already seen an impact from the Bible study. “I feel like there is a genuine sense of love for everyone on the team,” Gatton said. “I’ve gone from completely intimidated to genuinely loving everyone on the team. I would hope that the Bible study gives everyone the experience of being present with people and forming relationships. I hope that it brings the team together.”

Being held on Friday nights is also a unique aspect of the Bible study. It acts as a final pre-meet gathering for players to grow and pray together and connect before the meet the next day. “The fact that it is on Friday nights is really cool because the team is more connected the next day,” explained Jibben. “We share personal stories so then we know each other better. When you share personal stories it connects you better. The goal is to grow closer to Jesus and closer to each other.”

Going forward with the Bible study, Gault, Gatton and Jibben hope that more of their teammates are open to sharing their testimonies while growing closer as a team and as friends. “Each week we’ll have someone share their testimony and get to know an individual deeper and see how Jesus’ love has awakened them,” said Jibben. “We want each girl to feel like it is a safe place to come and ask for prayer and share struggles.”

 

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