Local Church Sports Ministry and Gender Issues
The is the final installment of a series of blogs excerpted from Dr. Linville’s yet to be released book. They explore the realities occurring in local church Sports Outreach Ministries in relationship to an evolving culture and shifting trends within sport, The Church, and society in general. The end goal is to aide local church Sports & Recreation Ministers to comprehend, and proactively structure, their outreaches with theological clarity, relational love and cultural sensitivity. This blog specifically provides recommendations concerning gender issues for Sports Ministers who are asking: “What’s a Sport Minister To Do.”
Recommendations for Local Church Sports Outreach Ministries Regarding Gender-related Issues
The Church has a long history of lovingly and warmly welcoming all people regardless of where they are spiritually. Jesus is the consummate model… He winsomely engaged the “woman at the well;” eagerly associated with Zacchaeus; protected the “woman caught in adultery;” and lovingly comforted a grieving Mary Magdalene He found weeping at His grave site. Each of these people were far from being considered a saint. And while Jesus accepted them as they were, He loved them enough to confront their sin so as to move them to true discipleship that leads to eternal life, personal peace and a fulfilled life. His Church must do the same…lovingly, warmly and winsomely, welcome all to come and “belong” to the community in the hope that “belonging” will eventually lead to “believing;” which leads to “baptizing;” which leads to “behaving;” which leads ultimately to “becoming” a dedicated disciple of Jesus. The question a Local Church Sports Outreach Minister should repeatedly ask is: “How would Christ lovingly engage and serve each participant in their Sports Outreach?”
The current divide over gender-related issues has caused a division the Church has not experienced since the Reformation and is of the magnitude of previous theological divides that resulted in the creation of three major traditions: Orthodoxy; Catholicism; Protestantism. While these three traditions have remained divided for centuries, and occasionally flared violent, they found the gospel demands a co-existence that lovingly tolerates the differences. It is my prayer this current divide will skip right past the violence, hatred and evil, and move quickly to loving toleration. I specifically challenge all “traditionalist” to set the standard for loving toleration.
“They will know you are my disciples by your Love for one another.” Jesus as recorded in John 13.35
Next week’s blog will begin a new series – “Local Church Sports Outreach Ministry Syndromes – Leadership Imperatives
This blog is an excerpt from Dr. Linville's yet to be released book. All rights reserved. For any reproduction right, including copying, computer reproduction, etc. contact:
Dr. Greg Linville at CSRM International C/O The World Outreach Center 5350 Broadmoor Circle N. W. Canton, Ohio – USA 44709 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Other blogs and articles on Local Church Sports, sports theology and ethics written by Dr. Greg Linville are archived at: www.csrm.org
A Plea For Grace
This set of blogs has discussed the most socially charged issue of the current day. The author seeks truth; desires to provide both questions and answers to further the discussion; engage in civil discourse; and most importantly provide a haven for love and grace. I encourage all readers to: “know your mind, but not have your mind made up.” As Martin Luther stated, I believe we should be open to being persuaded by Holy Scripture and evident reason (logic). I start by asking for grace when I don’t use the right term to describe something or someone, and I plead for forgiveness when I offend someone due to my own fallen nature which may lead to unintentional insensitivity, ignorance or hurtful language. My intent is not to hurt or injure anyone, but rather, it is to seek Christ’s will for all of us who are attempting to follow Jesus as we travel this path together.
Recommended Books & References consulted for this series of Blogs – A select list of references relevant to this week’s blog (see previous blogs for a more extensive list of references)
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.