Thanks to invested students and a loyal nationwide fanbase, Brigham Young University knows all about the strength that comes from a home-court advantage.
Emphasizing the importance of each and every fan, Sister Liz Darger posed a question during the Tuesday, May 18, campus devotional: “How can we create a ‘home-court advantage,’ not just for our athletic teams, but for each member of our BYU campus community?”
Sister Darger, BYU senior associate athletic director and a member of the Young Women general advisory council, used three words from the Young Women theme — receive, covenant and minister — to encourage listeners to do their part in helping create a sense of belonging for all.
“While my remarks today were prayerfully prepared with the BYU campus community in mind, I believe the principles I will discuss are universal to all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” she said.
Receiving is a skill that can and should be developed, Sister Darger said. “As disciples of Jesus Christ, we can become trusted receivers as we consistently and continually prepare and practice.”
President Russell M. Nelson taught that among all the blessings and gifts one can receive, “the privilege of receiving revelation is one of the greatest gifts of God to His children.”
“Is your heart prepared to receive?” Sister Darger asked. “Is it prepared to receive personal revelation? Is it prepared to receive a challenging calling or assignment? Is your heart prepared to receive correction, when necessary?”
God promises great blessings to those who make and keep sacred covenants with Him, including access to His power, Sister Darger said.
President Nelson taught, “Every woman and every man who makes covenants with God and keeps those covenants, and who participates worthily in priesthood ordinances, has direct access to the power of God.”
Disciples of Jesus Christ have a covenant responsibility to personally minister to others, Sister Darger said. “With a humble and grateful heart, as we ask in faith, we will receive revelation to guide us in our ministering efforts.”
BYU has several organizational efforts designed to watch over and care for students, Sister Darger said, including Multicultural Student Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, the University Accessibility Center, the Office for Student Success and Inclusion, Women’s Services and Resources, and the newly formed Committee on Race, Equity & Belonging.
To create a home-court advantage for every member of the campus community, organizational efforts must be matched by individual efforts, Sister Darger said.
Sister Darger invited all to do a self-assessment of their individual efforts to support those around them. “As you listen to the following questions,” she said, “please take note of what thoughts and feelings come into your mind and heart:
- How do I treat other members of the BYU campus community?
- Do I cheer for others, encouraging their success?
- Am I patient with others when they make a mistake or offend me?
- Do I invest in relationships with those whom I perceive as different than me?
- When I disagree with others, do I do so in a respectful manner?
- Do all of my relationships within the BYU community reflect devout love of God and a genuine concern for the welfare of my neighbor?”
“To my fellow BYU Cougars, now is the time for us to commit to be season-ticket holders and loyal fans of those around us, including those whom we perceive as different,” Sister Darger said.
“Organizational efforts are important, but they are not enough. Look for the good. Show up early and often. And cheer hard. As we become personal ministers, we can create a ‘home-court advantage’ for every member of our BYU campus community.”