Twenty Five years ago: There were a handful of full time local church Sports and Recreation Ministers
Today: There are thousands
Twenty Five years ago: There were a score or so of local churches who were intentionally using sport and recreation for evangelism and discipleship
Today: There are tens of thousands
Twenty Five years ago: There was no inter-denominational Sports Outreach Summit for local church Sports and Recreation Ministers
Today: CSRM’s Sports Outreach Summit will celebrate its 14th year
Twenty Five years ago: There were no local groups of Sport Ministers gathering for training, equipping, encouragement & support
Today: There are such groups throughout N. America and even abroad
Twenty Five years ago: Women Sports Ministers were rare
Today: It is common to see women working in Sports and Recreation Ministries
Twenty Five years ago: There was no network of Sports and Recreation Ministers, nor was there a centralized website for local church Sports Ministers to turn to for resources, equipment, connections and consultation
Today: Thousands of local Church Sports and Recreation Ministers are connected via the CSRM website and the website also connects local churches seeking to hire someone with those whom are seeking positions within the Sports Outreach field
Twenty Five years ago: There was only one group that offered local churches any kind of consulting for local church Sports Outreach
Today: These groups proliferate
Twenty Five years ago: There were no high school seniors applying to Universities to major in Sports Outreach Today: There are hundreds Twenty Five years ago: There were no Sports Outreach courses offered, no Sports Outreach Minors, No Sports Outreach Majors, No B.A. degrees in Sports Outreach, No M.A. degrees.
Today: A dozen Universities and Colleges which offer minors and majors and this fall the U. of Gloucester joined Malone University as only the second University to offer an M.A. in Sports Outreach
Twenty Five years ago: There was no Professional Certification which offered continuing education units and credibility for local church Sports and Recreation Ministers
Today: Local Church Sports Ministers are recognized internationally through the CSRM certification
Twenty Five years ago: There was no intentional and strategic collaboration between ministry scholars and ministry practitioners.
Today: CSRM’s Academic Symposium will celebrate its 12th annual gathering to connect the best of research and seminal thinking with the best practices of sports outreach and evangelism
Twenty Five years ago: First Presbyterian of Colorado Springs was a vibrant and growing church without a relevant vision and strategy for reaching unchurched people through sports and recreation
Today: First Presbyterian is a more vibrant church because “The Link” ministry has mobilized and empower hundreds of church members to reach out to thousands of their non-churched friends, family and co-workers
Twenty Five years ago: There were hundreds of millions of people who were followers of Jesus Christ Today: There are hundreds of millions more who entered into a personal relationship with Jesus through local Church Sports Ministries impacted by Barb’s influence
Twenty Five years ago: Barb Wagenfuhr had not yet begun as a local church Sports and Recreation Minister
Today: Barb Wagenfuhr has been forced to leave her position at First Presbyterian due to a chemically caused brain injury, but as she leaves, she can humbly know all of these listed achievements are in large part due to her efforts
Tomorrow: Barb will have left her official role but her legacy will continue. It will grow and grow as hundreds of thousands more will be added into the kingdom as a result of the path Barb has paved!
Barb you are loved, admired, respected. Please know, as you officially, but regrettably leave your position, you are indeed honored. You have influenced so many. You are the biggest reason why CSRM exists today. You have led by example and by initiative. You are irreplaceable. Someone may be able to take over some of your tasks, but no one is capable of filling the special place you have found in all Sports & Rec. Ministers. It is our sincere hope you will find God’s richest blessing in all of your future endeavors. Our prayers for a full and speedy recovery go with you. Know, you are always welcome at our gatherings. You will be forever in our hearts.
“Well done good and faithful servant.”
Dr. Greg Linville was one of the founding members of CSRM and has served as the Executive Director since 2000. He served for 15 years as a local church sports and recreation minister and coached over 30 years at the junior high, high school and collegiate levels as well as 30 years in rec. leagues. Dr. Linville has consulted with churches from Australia, Africa, Asia, Australia, Caribbean, Europe, New Zealand and North America. He was awarded the world's first honorary Doctorate in Sports Ministry and holds an earned Doctorate as well. He is the author of Christmanship: The Theology of Competition & Sport. Dr. Greg has been married for over 35 years, is the father of two married children and the grandfather of a growing number of grandchildren.