ST. Patrick...The Man, The Myth, The Model for Sport, Recreation and Fitness (SRA&F)Ministers...
Really you say! What can I possibly learn from some guy who's been dead for nearly two millennia? A lot...
The Man: Patrick was really a Briton who felt a call to reach the Celtic Barbarians...and he followed that call even though he was quite a bit older than the normal life expectancy of his day. His mission work in Ireland set in motion a Celtic model of Evangelistic-Disciplemaking that continues to shape the SR&F Outreach Community.
The Myth: Patrick's story has became quite embellished through the years and increasingly secularized...all ending with a day that centers around Green Beer and ungodly revelry. Such "celebrations" and perspectives of Patrick could not be further from the truth.
The Reality: Patrick's efforts changed an entire culture and impacted eternity for millions. Patrick was incredibly effective in his Evangelistic-Disciplemaking efforts which resulted in: a) over 700 churches planted; b) thousands of missionary priests ordained; c) tens of thousands of barbarians being baptized; d) ongoing efforts that continue to reach those far from Jesus and His Church.
While I can only hope to even come close to those numbers, Patrick's model was a guiding light to my personal ministry as a local church Sports Minister. I incorporated the following principles into my SR&F Outreach Ministry....
Perhaps next year you can sponsor a St. Patrick's Day celebration that would include resourcing; training, equipping and empowering a new generation of local church SR&F Outreach Missionaries
Dr. Greg Linville is CSRM's Director of Resource Development and his latest book (Putting The Church Back in the Game) can be ordered through the CSRM website
In Part I and Part II the subject of being biblically relevant was addressed – that relevancy being determined by your ministry’s commitment to incorporating the Word of God into your sports, recreation or fitness ministry activities; as well as by attending to those who have responded to the gospel by getting them started on the “discipleship road.”
Having addressed these two subjects, perhaps it is time to be specific about this process of making disciples.
Matthew 28:19,20 is often used as the “classic” Great Commission verse and often preached as the call to go to the nations and preach the gospel. What sometimes is lost is the priority of discipleship as we obey Jesus Christ. While verse 19 begins with “Go, therefore …” or “Go, ye…,” (giving the impression that evangelism is the key thought here), the fact is in these two verses, there really is only one imperative (command) verb and it follows the command to “go.” The imperative of our Lord Jesus is to “make disciples.” The balance of the verbs in verses 19 and 20 are called participial or helping verbs which tells us HOW we are to make disciples. Sorry for the grammar lesion, but the “go” of verse 19 is actually “as you are going” … to do what? To make disciples. The aspect of evangelism is assumed in these two verses in light of the fact the one evangelized (and the one who responded) would, then, be baptized and taught (the other two “helping verbs”). God’s greater concern is not making converts, but making disciples.
As we consider this in light of Sports Ministry, what tools are available to assist in this process of making disciples … of keeping the Word of God integrated into our programs? While the following is not a complete list, it certainly will get you moving in the right direction. By the way, all of these resources can be found on the CSRM website:
Rodger Oswald was founder of, and long time Executive Director of Church Sports International; Professor of Sports Ministry at The Masters College and is currently a CSRM Staff Emeritus. His writings can be accessed through the CSRM Webstie - https://csrm.z2systems.com/np/clients/csrm/giftstore.jsp
"Beware the I'ds of March." I often wonder if procrastination might be one of my spiritual gifts. I find it easy to put off until tomorrow what I don’t want to do today. In several classroom lectures, I will ask my students how many of them suffer from the same delay difficulties. When several hands go up, I’ll offer them the news of a Procrastinators Support group that meets in Oxford. Some student’s eyes will show a look of hope only to have it dashed when I inform them that I have yet to attend any of the meetings. It’s at that point they realize I pulled them right into the middle of a joke. We discuss procrastination quite often in my classes. I share the following procrastination story:
Last month when we had a follow up in one of our districts, where church leaders had organized a Sports Outreach. After having all sports activities completed (namely soccer and netball which are the most loved in Malawi) we gathered all the people to listen to the Word of God verbally proclaimed. After our Pastor shared the Word of God, one man stood and cried loudly and saying he needed to confess that he had been used to kill Albino people throughout the country. He further stated he wanted to receive Jesus Christ before, he surrendered himself into police hands.
This was a most shocking and amazing confession, as many people albino people have been killed for ritual beliefs in Malawi and Tanzania. All Police intelligence failed to trace the killers but through Sports Ministry Outreach a dangerous criminal surrendered to Christ and right now, he is the hands of police, but importantly is preaching the Word of God as well... from criminal to a preacher! But the Lord wasn't done....
At that same occasion 15 other people also confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ. We will not include any picture due to the sensitive matter, but I can assure you it was a very touching follow up and encouraging to see such people received Jesus Christ. We praise the Lord for His rich outpouring and we thank the entire CSRM family for their support and prayers.
CSRM's Global Network Partner - James Mhango - you can support James at the following...
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Sport, Rec & Fitness Outreach Ministry - "Its not Rocket Science" but has far more eternal significance!
It was one of those awkward internet first dates. We sipped on our hot coffee and, in between the sips, we shared a little bit about ourselves with each other. She asked what I did for a living, and I told her, I was an instructor of sport and recreation administration at Ole Miss.
She asked, as if it were all one word, “What’s a sportandrecreation?”
Being in this field, I’m used to the follow-up question. There were times I would share what I was doing for the church as a sport and recreation minister to my father and he would always ask, “And, they pay you for this?”
I explained to her that in my previous career I organized sports leagues, craft classes, puppet teams, fitness classes, theater productions, outdoor recreation events, and was in charge of a recreation center and a four-field outdoor sports complex. I told her the students in my classes learn how to do the same thing.
She then asked me, “So, what do they do all day?”
I asked her if her children had played sports when they were younger. She nodded that they had. I asked about specific details of putting together a game such as a fully stocked concession stand, bases being out, umpires behind the plate, coaches being present, and other items. When she replied that all of that occurred, I told her that’s what a sport and recreation leader would do.
I sensed she was not impressed when she said, “Oh, I see. Well, it’s certainly not rocket science.”
There was not a second date. In a way, she is correct as it isn't rocket science. It’s more valuable than that.
I went to high school with a guy that ended up working for NASA. He was one of the most brilliant minds I’ve ever known. When I read his posts on social media or talk to him at various high school reunions he never talks about how rocket science helps people know true peace, gain direction in life, or experience love. Those in Sports, Recreation, and Fitness (SR&F) Outreach Ministries offer these opportunities all the time.
In my introductory class for sport and recreation majors, I ask them to think of a favorite childhood memory. The answers include playing a sport as a child, being involved in music or drama, or going camping with their family. No one ever mentions making a good grade in Algebra or having his or her tonsils out. Most, if not all, responses over the past twelve years have always had something to do with a leisure activity.
The programs offered through SR&F Outreach Ministries in our churches provide people in our communities with a chance to see Jesus through coaches, teachers, and instructors. Through a “simple” leisure activity, one has the opportunity to discover the love of God in their own life. Beyond that wonderful truth, the activities offered also provide some of the greatest memories that people share and enjoy the rest of their lives.
Whether it was a memorable coach, going snow skiing for the first time, or seeing “before and after” pictures of a fitness course, programs in sports, recreation, and fitness live on forever with our participants.
For all those that volunteer or earn a living providing memory making programs that help people develop Jesus-shaped lives, we thank you!
Professor David Waddell currently teaches at Ole Miss and is CSRM's Executive Director. He had a long tenure as a SR&F Outreach Minister at a local church in Memphis, Tennessee and has authored three books. Contact him at email@example.com
His books can be ordered at: https://csrm.z2systems.com/np/clients/csrm/giftstore.jsp