College athletics director and sports mom co-authors bust myths about youth sports in new book

Overplayed: A Parent’s Guide to Sanity in the World of Youth Sports

Overplayed_RGBFebruary 18, 2016

News release

Parents don’t owe their kids every opportunity nor should they attend every one of their kid’s games—and that’s just for starters

College athletics director and sports mom co-authors bust myths about youth sports in new book

HARRISONBURG, Va., and KITCHENER, Ont.—College athletics director David King and award-winning author Margot Starbuck, a mom of three teens who play volleyball, basketball, soccer, and baseball, team up to reclaim youth sports from the questionable culture that has grown up around it. They advocate the kinds of sports experiences that can positively shape kids’ lives in their new book, Overplayed: A Parent’s Guide to Sanity in the World of Youth Sports (Herald Press, $15.99 paperback, April 5, 2016).

“The most important thing in the development of a child’s mind, body, soul, and spirit is not whether she plays for her high school’s lacrosse team,” they write. “Like you, we see the long game. We care who children will be when they’re thirty, forty, and fifty years old.”

One of the basic myths they debunk is that there’s no harm in participating in youth sports. While both King and Starbuck believe that participating in sports offers many benefits to kids, they are alarmed by what happens in today’s youth sports culture: overuse injuries, burnout, loss of childhood, misperceptions about the true benefit of sport, and damaged relationships.

They offer practical tips for parents who long to balance their children’s athletic activities with family life, and who wish to nurture their children’s values and faith. Christian parents especially, “who pattern their lives after a guy who taught that we find our lives by losing them, don’t need to be anxious that [their] children get ahead of others,” they write.

In Overplayed, King and Starbuck debunk seven myths about youth sports—ideas that have circulated so long and with such frequency that many of us don’t question them. These myths include:

Myth: Because we owe our children every opportunity, we can’t say no to sports

“Parents don’t owe children any particular experience of youth sports. What we do owe them is a space to discover who they are and who they’re becoming. Sometimes that happens in the backyard and sometimes it happens in organized sports,” they write. “As you consider the kinds of sports opportunities you do or don’t owe your child, weigh the money, time, physical risk, emotional risk, efficacy of early involvement, and relational implications.”

Myth: My child should specialize in one sport

Early specialization, a function of chasing college scholarships, has resulted in increasing rates of injury. Being a multisport athlete reduces the chance of injury and provides benefits that kids don’t otherwise get when they focus on one sport.

Myth: Youth sports instills our family’s values

While sports can help develop worthy values such as self-awareness, socialization, commitment, and character, a child’s experience of sports may also ingrain negative values such as de-emphasis of quality family time, detachment from faith community, endorsement of the macho ideal, demonstration of poor behavior, and economic disparity.

Myth: Good parents attend all their children’s games

Parental involvement in and constant parental presence at kids’ sports activities has achieved epic, and problematic, proportions, the authors say—not only because “parents are nutty.” “Being constantly present to our children at practices, scrimmages, and games is predicated on the faulty assumption that our presence is what’s best for them. That’s simply not the case,” they maintain.

Myth: The money we are investing into youth sports will pay off

Many parents invest in sports activities, including private coaching and elite travel teams, in hopes that their children will achieve the holy grail of youth sports: a college scholarship. The reality is that very few kids do. “The kinds of athletes who earn a full ride to college are, and we mean this in the best possible way, freaks of nature,” the authors write. “They possess truly extraordinary physical capabilities, from the acuity of their vision to the agility of their bodies.”

King and Starbuck urge parents to allow their foundational values to inform decisions about their children and sports: “Sports themselves are neither good nor bad. It is up to us to decide whether we’ll use sports or be used by them.”

In Overplayed, the authors help parents learn how to set good boundaries and to help kids gain healthy identities—both on and off the field, and whether they win or lose. The book is filled with practical tips and resources, as well as ideas for kick-starting conversations with kids, other parents, and coaches.

David King is director of athletics at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

He has given presentations and sermons on the topic at churches, denominational assemblies, and conferences. King has a master’s degree in educational administration from Temple University and has taught and coached at all levels. He and his wife, Deb, have three adult children and two grandchildren.

Margot Starbuck is the author of six books, including the award-winning Girl in the Orange Dress. She is a widely sought-after speaker and columnist at Today’s Christian Woman and is an editorial advisor for Gifted for Leadership. A graduate of Westmont College and Princeton Seminary, Starbuck is the mother of three children and lives in Durham, North Carolina.

A study guide will be available along with the book when it releases on March 8th. One free chapter download of the book is available at:

–Kelly Hughes, publicist:
High resolution photo available.

For more information on this press release:
Melodie Davis
News manager


Online bonus: We’ve produced several shareable graphics below that you are free and encouraged to copy and share on your own social media pages whether Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter. A new one will be added to our MennoMedia Facebook page each Wednesday for several weeks–look for more there!

Overplayed_meme4 Overplayed_meme1

High resolution photo available.

For more information on this press release:
Melodie Davis
News manager

Living in faithful hope – Chronicles commentary published

BCBC_1-2Chronicles2February 10, 2016

News release

Living in faithful hope
Chronicles Believers Church Bible Commentary released

HARRISONBURG, Va., and KITCHENER, Ontario—Readers might skip over 1 & 2 Chronicles on their way to better-known biblical books. If they do, August H. Konkel thinks they are making a mistake.

Konkel, professor of Old Testament at McMaster Divinity School, is the author of 1 & 2 Chronicles, the 30th volume in the Believers Church Bible Commentary series.

Chronicles offers a lot to today’s church, Konkel believes. “The main theme of Chronicles is hope,” he says. “If we are faithful to our calling, then the hope God gave to David and his people is realized.”

The Chronicler wrote a history that starts with creation and carries the story of his own people up to his current time. Writing at the time of the Persian Empire, after Israel’s return from Babylonian exile, the Chronicler offered encouragement to the people of his small nation.

The writer has “a vision of the nation that is apart from the state,” says Konkel. He notes that the Chronicler four times uses the term “the kingdom of God.” Chronicles provides a starting place to understand the New Testament meaning of the kingdom of God, says Konkel. This understanding of the kingdom is elaborated by Jesus and Paul in the New Testament.

As in all volumes of the Believers Church Bible Commentary series, 1 & 2 Chronicles includes tools such as sections on “The Text in the Biblical Context” and “The Text in the Life of the Church.” Here Konkel connects the Chronicler’s stories of faith and exile, of struggling to rebuild, to the life of believers past, present, and future. “This story should inspire us to be faithful to the calling God has given us,” he says.

Konkel_AugustHKonkel relates the story of his own Mennonite Brethren grandparents, Ukrainian refugees in Canada who were defrauded by their land agent and who lost multiple children while farming in Saskatchewan. “Their faith was their strength, carrying on through tragedy,” he says. In the commentary, he looks at key Anabaptist figures of the Reformation. The story of faithfulness in struggle has many applications across the international church today. “It parallels us, who we are, the road ahead; this is the calling we need to be faithful to,” says Konkel.

Each Believers Church Bible Commentary includes a variety of theme essays. The 1 & 2 Chronicles commentary looks at how the Chronicler treated warfare in his account. Konkel addresses how and why we write history, and suggests the purpose is not so much what happened in the past as how the past has affected our situation today.

Other essays examine how ancient authors worked to compose biblical books, the idea of promise to David, and how Chronicles relates to other Old Testament books, such as Ezra and Nehemiah.

The Believers Church Bible Commentary is a cooperative project of the Brethren in Christ Church, Brethren Church, Church of the Brethren, Mennonite Church Canada, and Mennonite Church USA.

In addition to teaching at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario, Konkel is president emeritus of Providence University College and Theological Seminary in Otterburne, Manitoba. He also was instructor in Old Testament at Providence and has served as a pastor. He is the author of commentaries on Job and on 1 & 2 Kings in other commentary series.

1 & 2 Chronicles is available in paperback for $29.99 USD from Herald Press at 800-245-7894 or, as well as at bookstores.

Ardell Stauffer

High resolution photo available.

For more information on this press release:
Melodie Davis
News manager


Herald Press and Blue Gate Musicals Team Up to Produce Mennonite Girls Can Cook Show

Press Release – January 29, 2016






NASHVILLE, TN, January 27, 2016: Herald Press, the publisher of the bestselling MGCC_BlueGateComedycookbooks, Mennonite Girls Can Cook and Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations, and Blue Gate Musicals, the producers of five hit Broadway-style musicals from Amish Country, have teamed up to produce the all-new one-act comedy, MENNONITE GIRLS CAN COOK!

Herald Press collaborated with 10 Mennonite women in 2011 after they had garnered over 1 million followers on their blog,, to produce the bestselling cookbooks Mennonite Girls Can Cook and Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations. The women (seven from British Columbia, two from Manitoba, one from Washington) share recipes and their faith to inspire hospitality, while donating all royalties from their books to help needy people around the world.

Blue Gate Musicals, (BGM) was formed in 2010 to create original, heartwarming, and entertaining musicals, which includes hugely successful Broadway-style musicals: The ConfessionHalf-StitchedJosiah for President, and Our Christmas Dinner, with a brand new musical opening in April 2016, The Home Game.

Dan Posthuma, president and producer of Blue Gate Musicals, notes, “The authors of the popular Mennonite Girls Can Cook series have captured the hearts (and appetites) of many thousands of people with their stories of family, memories of mealtime, and testimonies of faith—including accounts of their parents and grandparents escaping religious persecution in Russia with nothing but ‘the shirts on their backs, and recipes in their heads.’ Blue Gate Musicals is pleased to take a bit of a different twist on these well-loved books, and bring them to our theaters in a fun, inspirational, and entertaining stage presentation.”

Martha Bolton, scriptwriter, notes, “I am so excited to be working on this fun project! The Mennonite Girls Can Cook brand has already taken Canada by storm, and now we get to bring them to the Blue Gate stage for this brand new, laughter-filled show that we hope will have theater-goers coming back for seconds!”

Mennonite Girls Can Cook, a comedy in one act, is full of excitement, confusion, and just plain frantic fun when a small town cable TV cooking show, hosted by two Mennonite women, attracts the attention of a Hollywood producer. “It’s an ideal recipe for hilarity, as these lovely ladies gear up for the ‘Big Time,’” says Producer Dan Posthuma. “This brand new one-act play mixes faith, food, and friendship into a comedy that really sizzles!”


For general information, visit: or

Click here to buy Mennonite Girls Can Cook and here for Celebrations.

Information on shows and to buy tickets:

For Shipshewana, Ind. (SEPTEMBER 13-OCTOBER 15, 2016)

For Sugarcreek, Ohio. (SEPTEMBER 13-NOVEMBER 4, 2016)