Coach Carter – Progress
Main Point of Discussion: We are liberated from our fears when we shine our light for God.
The Movie Clip: “Progress”
Coach Carter is one of those “feel good” movies. It follows the story of Ken Carter, a former high school basketball player turned successful entrepreneur, and his “calling” to serve Richmond High School as their basketball coach.
Richmond High is a very troubled school and its basketball team is notorious for losing. Coach Carter dreams of turning everything around, beginning with the boys’ character and integrity. His first priority is to help the boys become men, and THEN to win basketball games.
The movie is a great story about how character and integrity grant a person rich blessings.
Introducing the Clip:
Tonight, I’m going to show you a clip from the movie Coach Carter. It’s a few years old, and some of you may have already seen it. If you have seen it, then you know Coach Carter’s famous question is, “What are you afraid of?” For those of us who haven't seen the movie, this clip takes place as Coach Carter has just been overruled by the school board concerning his canceling basketball until the team’s grades improve.
Because the team has allowed their grades to slip, Coach Carter called off practices and games – even chaining the gym doors closed – until the boys could raise their GPA’s. His decision to keep a high standard in place for his athletes angered parents, players, and the community!
But his entire mission of helping the boys overcome their biggest fear is defeated by the school board…or so he thought. Let’s see what happens when Coach Carter walks into the school with the intention of resigning.
NOTE: This brief scene has ONE expletive in it. You will need to make the call about how to deal with it based on your church's standards. Either warn your students and then show the clip, or skip past this line. Nobody knows your group better than you.
- JASON LYLE: Sir, they can cut the chain off the door, but they can't make us play.
DAMIEN CARTER: We decided, we’re gonna finish what you started, sir.
JARON WILLIS: Yeah, so leave us be coach. We got sh** to do, sir. (Coach Carter stands there with a big proud smile on his face and as he turns to leave.)
TIMO CRUZ: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so the other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same as we are liberated from our own fear. Our presence automatically liberates others. Sir, I just want to say thank you. You saved my life.
COACH CARTER: Thank you sirs. All of you.
In this scene it is obvious that Coach Carter’s basketball players have developed great respect for him. They want to finally give an answer to his question “What are you afraid of?” that he has constantly asked them. In the clip, we hear their answer. But if I were to ask you, “What are you afraid of?” what would your answer be?
Divide into Small Groups:
Let's go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we'll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we start, take a second to share your name and whether or not you enjoy playing basketball.
- ASK A FEW: In the scene we just saw, it is obvious that the basketball team has great respect for their coach. Do you have that kind of respect for someone in your life? If so, can you say who that person is?
- ASK A FEW: Coach Carter makes a very tough (and very unpopular) decision to stop the basketball season when the players allow their grades to slip. Have you ever had to make a decision that you knew was right, even though it might be very unpopular?
- ASK A FEW: If you have had to make that kind of decision, were you afraid at the time?
Read the following passage:
2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Read the following passage:
Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Tonight we watched a clip about one young man confessing his deepest fear in life. He knew what his deepest fear was, but he also knew that he had to face it and be honest about it. Only then could he shine as the light he knew he was supposed to be.
Tonight, we also looked at our own fears in light of biblical truth. We learned that Jesus is really counting on us to shine our lights and reveal Him to a world trapped by fear and doubt. If we do not shine our light for God, we too will stay trapped by our personal fears.
Let me share one more thought with you from God’s Word. In 1 John 4:18, the Bible says, “There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear….” In other words, God loves us PERFECTLY! And He has shown us that perfect love by sending Jesus to die for our sins. And because God loves us perfectly, He can be trusted.
So as we live for Him, courageously shining our light for Him, our fears begin to shrink because we know that God is greater than our fears. So go and live courageous lives for God this week!
Close in Prayer
Written by Nick O’Donnell
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.