Posted by: naccm | May 20, 2010

Running Through First by Tim Hawkins

There are just some things you don’t do in baseball:

Talk to a pitcher about a no-hitter, take warm-up swings too close to the plate, and when you hit a ground ball in the infield…you NEVER stop on first base…you always RUN THROUGH THE BASE.

Having coached baseball for almost 20 years now…one of the most natural things for a player first beginning is to see first base as the end goal.  They run hard and STOP on first base careful to hold their foot on the bag like they are walking the tight rope with the Flying Wallenda’s.


I always teach the kids to pick a spot two steps behind the bag…that is the target they are really aiming for.

On Monday I sat down with a December graduate from Boston University who was back in town for a week, and an upcoming master’s graduate from Boston College…I had found out both are moving/want to move in or near San Fransisco and are interested in living/developing an intentional/missional community.  This made me think more about how intentional I am with graduates beyond graduation.

I wonder if we suffer the same slow-down in spiritual growth/maturity if we see graduation as the “safe” place, the place where they are now on their own, or at least away from our coaching.   I’m sure we make ourselves available to those who ask, but I wonder if we should have a MORE INTENTIONAL PLAN TWO STEPS BEYOND GRADUATION.

In baseball, there are two base coaches…one at first and one at third-base.  A player is taught to listen to his first base coach until he reaches second.  Then his/her direction no longer comes from the 1st base coach, but transitions to the next base, the next goal.

I wonder if part of our responsibility is to see students through first base and into to second…connecting them with their 3rd base coach.

Do you have an intentional “running through first” plan with graduates?  Would love to hear them.



  1. fantastic post…we’re more of a football family here, so we talk alot about the “intentional hand-off” from high school youth ministers to campus ministries…but we need to re-think being more intentional about passing them back to the local church/community!

  2. This year we started working on a plan to train our graduates for “the after life”. Our plan is to take them through a mentoring course first semester on Biblical Characteristics of a Leader. And then second semester we’re going to take them through a Financial Planning course. This will teach them how to budget, tithe, pay bills, etc.

    My main goal is that our students will walk into a new church and hit the ground running. They’ll know how to serve, tithe, lead…and most importantly that it’s not about consuming but giving.

    Here’s the catch though…we haven’t been too successful with transitioning our students into new churches. They have an experience with Impact and then compare the next place with Impact and it may not be the same atmosphere, worship style, preaching style, ministry philosophy, etc. So, they don’t stick.

    We need to do a better job at being honest about this problem. Talking to the seniors about how church isn’t about those things.

    We’re still learning…

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