REVIEW: Many within the Sports Outreach Movement are becoming increasingly concerned about what they believed to be a most effective strategy.Simply stated, Sports Outreach has not delivered its promised results of accomplishing the Great Commission.This series of blogs addresses the underlying reasons for the decline through the lens of the Sports Outreach Ministry Continuums of Tension.Previous blogs articulated insights based on continuums 1-3.This Series considers the 4th Sports Outreach Ministry Continuum of Tension.This week’s focus is on the downside of Mega-event evangelism…
Why Mega-event Evangelistic Endeavors are Often Ineffective There are three main deficiencies of the Mega-event strategy: a) impersonal; b) lack of sustainable ministry; c) cynicism…
IMPERSONAL – Research and personal experience tell us most people who profess faith in Christ and become life-long disciples of Christ do so through personal relationships, not by reading a tract, article or book.My own personal research came through a University course (Personal Faith and Ethics) I taught for the better part of a decade and included over 2,000 students.An overwhelming majority indicated they prayed to receive Christ as a result of a personal relationship with a person, not as a result of any mass media outreach.A sizable percentage was led to Christ by their parents and/or grandparents (hello to all parents and grandparents!).Not surprisingly, there were two other major groups of people who were credited with leading my students to Christ: a) coaches; and b) youth ministers/leaders.
LACK OF SUSTAINABLE MINISTRY – Almost every Christian I have ever heard recap their “testimony” (how they became a Christian), tells a similar story.Those stories have a number of things in common, one of which is, their conversion occurred over a period of time.We know it takes a totally secularized, non-churched, not-yet-believing adult, 6-7 years to profess faith in Christ and in addition, during that time, they need to experience positive relationships with 5-6 followers of Christ.What does this say about “one-off” “Mega-events?”
CYNICSIM – Sadly, at least in America, Christians have been stereo-typed in very negative ways by an increasingly bigoted and intolerant media.In addition, during the last 25 years most Americans have witnessed the “fall” of many “celebrity” Christians.From Pastors who were caught having unethical financial practices and/or integrity issues, to Priests and Preachers molesting children and/or being convicted of sexual misconduct, to a man who was given a prestigious award by a Para-ministry as “Christian Athlete” of the year who was arrested that same night for soliciting a prostitute, is there any wonder why a secular public has become cynical?Most Mega-events are predicated upon the methodology of “Platform Proclamation.”These Platform Proclamations depend upon the “celebrity athlete.”
Yet, there remains a significant place and role for the Mega-event, but before we can fully understand how and why that role can be effectively utilized we need to look at another philosophy of evangelistic-disciplemaking.That philosophy is known by different terms such as: process evangelism; relational evangelism or friendship evangelism and it will be the topic of next week’s blog. Other blogs and articles on Local Church Sports written by Dr. Greg Linville are archived at: www.csrm.org and http://www.csrm.org/blog201112-2.htmlThis 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
IS SPORTS OUTREACH EFFECTIVE? Let me be clear… much of what will be discussed in this blog will not be popular.It may in fact, threaten the beliefs of many in the Sports Outreach World.It is not intended to be intentionally offensive or hurtful.It is however, intended to begin a conversation based upon the hard questions asked within.All truth seekers are invited to continue. This is the seventh in a series of blogs addressing the question: Is Sports Outreach Effective?The conversation continues with this blog on the third Continuum: Para-Sport Outreach Ministry – Local Church Sports Outreach Ministry…
A FEW MORE STATISTICS
There are tens of thousands of churches below 100 members and they are filled with an aging population
Half of all churches last year did not add one new member through conversion growth
REVIEW The first two Continuums in this series on the effectiveness of Sports Outreach have exposed the “Achilles heel” of the major model of Sports Outreach.I have termed the major model: “Platform Evangelism.” “Platform Evangelism” is a methodology which seeks to provide a “platform” for “Christian” athletes & coaches to share their faith.This methodology is flawed on two counts.First, Christian athletes are seldom prepared to speak theologically and thus their “proclamations” are at best, unwise, and at worst, misleading or even heretical.Second, all too often the personal lives of the “proclaiming” athletes don’t match their “proclamations.”The motives of most athletes aren’t wrong, the problem is the model.There is a better model found through the Sports Outreach Continuums
SPORTS OUTREACH CONTINUUM OF TENSION #3: LOCAL CHURCH SPORTS OUTREACH PARA-SPORTS MINISTRY Let me cut to the chase.In its current form, the prevailing model utilized by Sports Outreach oriented Para-Ministries is flawed!At the very least, it doesn’t live up to its promise.The typical end goal of such Para-ministries is to reach elite athletes and coaches for Christ, and then use the testimonies of converted athletes to bring others to Christ.This is a most noble goal.In fact there is no more important goal a person or organization could invest their efforts in than to attempt to bring the world into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.Yet, the goal is not being accomplished to the degree once hoped or promised by this Methodological Model.The motivation of these ministries is right but the Philosophical Principles these Methodological Models are based on is problematic and are becoming less and less effective.It is hoped this series of blogs will strengthen the motivation, but will encourage a re-envisioning of the philosophy and methodologies.
Please hear my heart.I am not “against” my brothers and sisters who work in the various Sports Ministries.We are allies.We are “first cousins” in our mission.Furthermore, I am employed by a Para-Ministry!I’m not against any person or any ministry but I am asking the Sports Ministry Family to reconsider the philosophies and methodologies of our Movement.To that end the next few blogs will further explore this most important Sports Outreach Continuum: Local Church Sports Outreach – Para-Ministry Sports Outreach.