Sometimes I'm asked "Why all the Greek and Theology?" Two main reasons: 1) Understanding the Theological and Biblical Foundations are essential to envisioning, planning and implementing a local church Sports Outreach that meets the "4-Fold Evaluative Rubric:" Strategically-Relevant & Efficiently-Effective; and 2) Sports Ministers who know their theology and Bible are granted a respect by their Senior Pastors, Elders and other Church leaders. Too often Sports Ministers are seen only as "pray & play guys." I'm challenging all Sports Ministers to "study to show themselves approved," so local church Sports Outreach can be truly respected and esteemed within the "ecclesiastical world." Are you up to the challenge?
A THEOLOGY OF CHURCH - REALLY?
I'm surprised at how many local church Sports, Recreation & Fitness Ministers have never contemplated a Theology of Church! Even now, most reading this blog are saying: "Come on...give me something that is more practical and can really help me reach those far from Christ. If you are looking how to recruit referees, train coaches, deal with irate parents or for relevant post game devotions for your adult leagues....there are many excellent resources available to you already. In fact, just navigate around the CSRM website and you'll be connected with the most recent, cutting edge resources available. But, you'll spend a long, frustrating time trying to find anything about the theology of The Church and its relevance to local church Sports Outreach. This blog introduces the topic...
The first ology(1) of local church Sports Outreach is Ecclesiology. Simply defined, Ecclesiology refers to the biblically-based theological study of The Universal Church of Christ,(2) and also the assembling together of individual believers in local congregations that make up both the “invisible” and “visible” Church of Christ.
DOES A THEOLOGY OF CHURCH REALLY MATTER?
Yes, in fact, this may well be the most important ology to consider to make your Sports Outreach effective. Simply stated, how The Church and its local assemblies are understood theologically, greatly determines how a local church Sports, Recreation and Fitness Outreach Ministry is conceptualized, organized and administrated. One’s ecclesiology determines the overall effectiveness and success of the Sports Outreach Ministry. The Level # 1 Theological Truth of ecclesiology serves as the anchor upon which all other Sports Outreach Ministry Level #1 Theological Truths hang.
(1) Ology is the word I use to identify the theologies needed to truly envision, plan for and implement a local church Sport, Recreation and Fitness Ministry.
(2) The word church is capitalized whenever the Universal Church is being considered. The word appears in lower case whenever it is used to describe a congregation or assembly of believers.
Next week's blog will outline the 6 New Testament words/phrases used to describe and define The Church and its local assemblies.
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
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.