LAST WEEK’S BLOG POST ASKED THE QUESTION:
Is Sports Outreach Working? The conversation continues this week…
The Sports Outreach Movement that emerged in the mid 20th Century was touted as a most strategic tool for Evangelism, Discipleship and church growth. In addition, most Sports Outreach Ministers and many Lead/Administrative Pastors believed Sports Outreach to be the most strategic tool the church could employ to accomplish the Great Commission. Yet, many church leaders are now beginning to wonder whether it has delivered the promised results. Why? The following statistics combined with those presented last week paint a bleak picture of the local church.
A FEW MORE STATISTICS
Over the course of the next few weeks the question of whether or not Sports Outreach is effectively helping to grow the church will be addressed in this blog. The basis for this discussion will center on the following Six Sports Outreach Ministry Continuums of Tension and their impact on the current trends in Sports Outreach Ministry.
#1: CHRISTIANITY / SPORTIANITY
Christianity needs little definition. Conversely, Sportianity is a term unfamiliar to most. Christianity is one of five major religions in the world. Adherents commit themselves to be Disciples of Jesus, pursuing their faith in Christ above all else.
Sportianity is a term used to describe the ethos and value system of athletes, coaches and fans who commit themselves to pursuing sport above all else. For many athletes, sport becomes the highest priority in life and their involvement in sport takes on a spiritual essence and significance. It can be said, such athletes “worship at the altar of sport.” A life totally committed to athletic goals can thus be described as a “religion,” a religion called “Sportianity.”
From these brief explanations the plight of Christian Sportspeople becomes apparent and is illustrated by the 1st Sports Outreach Continuum of Tension: Christianity-Sportianity. What does an athlete who desires both spiritual significance and athletic success do, when the two world-views collide? They must choose which will receive their allegiance and subsequent involvements. There can be no true ministry within a sports ministry if the so called Christians in the sports world choose sport to be their God.
Subsequent blogs on the Six Sports Outreach Continuums of Tension will continue the discussion on the future of the Sports Outreach Movement. Next up: the four choices Christians make when their faith collides with their sport.
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.