For decades, sports and recreation ministry has been viewed and practiced as a means to accomplish evangelistic outreach. The cultural popularity of sports and sportspersons has been a driving force for this sort of practice. Even when integrated into a local church, sports and recreation has been viewed and practiced as a means for the church to reach out and into the community. All too often Sports Ministry has been used as a “calling card” and/or a platform for mass evangelism proclamations.
While this is not a bad practice, it has proven to be ineffective and falls short of the potential the ministry possesses. It is a bad practice because it ignores the centrality of the Word of God as a means for spiritual blessing (salvation and sanctification). It ignores the ministry pattern of Jesus and the counsel of Scripture.
Jesus invested time in the lives of people – especially the Apostles. The “Church” He said He would build is established, built and sustained by the Word of God. If we take just those two principles, it demands that any ministry – especially Sports Ministry – Scripture is incorporated into the fabric of that ministry.
Consider the counsel of God in these passages:
Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.” In other words, the living and written word which people come to faith. Why would we exclude this component in Sports Ministry?
II Timothy 3:16, 17 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” In other words, one’s spiritual growth or maturity is accomplished through the Word of God. Why would we exclude the source of sanctification in our Sports Ministry?
Consider the counsel of Psalm 19
V 7a “The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;” (It is the source of salvation.)
V7b “…the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” (It is the source of wisdom.)
V8a “The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;” (It is a source of joy.)
V8b “The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” (It is a source of enlightenment.)
V11 “…by them [Scripture] your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” (It is a source of protection and blessing.)
When flying, a pilot never questions the value of one wing over another; he knows both are critical. The same is true for an evangelistic ministry. Those evangelized need to hear the Word; those saved need to hear the Word. A successful Sports Ministry must include the incorporation of Scripture to be all it could be.
This is first of a two-part Blog
Written by Rodger Oswald
Founder of Church Sports International (CSI)
Founding Board Member of CSRM
Staff Emeritus CSRM
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