MODELS FOR LOCAL CHURCH SPORTS, RECREATION AND FITNESS MINISTRY GLEANED FROM THOMAS ARNOLD
Thomas Arnold understood the great opportunity and the weighty responsibility of being entrusted with the lives of young men. Any pastor, Sunday School teacher, Sport Minister or coach has this same opportunity and responsibility and should do the hard work of planning how to best be used of God in the lives entrusted to them. Who has God given you to mentor? What plans do you need to make in order to best guide and direct those whom you have an influence over? What areas of your life need to change in order for you to be a better role model?
2. TEACHABLE MOMENTS IN ATHLETICS
Athletics are not intrinsically or inherently good. Thus, the Arnoldian philosophy of a young man becoming virtuous simply by competing is logically fallacious. Conversely, athletics also are not intrinsically or inherently evil, as some have come to postulate. Athletics are neither moral nor immoral, but rather are amoral. The morality of athletics comes from the people who are involved in the athletics. Therefore, athletics and competition can be used for moral or immoral purposes and they can be participated in a moral or immoral manner. Arnold was correct in his belief that participation in athletics provided ample opportunities for teaching character and faith, but Sports Ministers, coaches and others must go beyond Arnold’s approach and be intentional in their use of sports and other activities to develop character in young people by looking for teachable moments in the course of competition and availing themselves of the opportunity to explain the lessons to their athletes as well as how to apply it to their lives. They can not assume character will automatically be developed because of a mere participation in athletics.
3. INFLUENCE MOMENTS IN LOCAL CHURCH SPORTS OUTREACH
Professor Steve Quatro has rightly written that for Local Church Sports Outreach, maximizing the opportunities that Sports, Recreation and Fitness activities provide is the key to successful evangelisitc-disciplemaking. Arnold became a significant mentor to the young men attending his school....likewise, Sports Ministry directors can share this vision with their youth and adult coaches. These men and women can have a life-chaning "influence" on all they coach. The sport or activity provides the "moment," but it remains the coach's responsibility to provide the "influence."
FOR FURTHER STUDY
The Arnolds and their influence on English education, by Joshua Fitch; 1897. Charles Scribner’s Sons, Norwood Press, Norwood Massachusetts.
The Christian Life - Volume #1, by Thomas Arnold; mid 1800's. N. Tibbals & Sons, New York.
The Arnolds, by Meriol Trevor; 1973. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. ISBN: 684-13262-1
The author discusses this topic at length in his book Christmanship: the Theology of Competition.
This blog is an excerpt from a future book "Surrounded by Witnesses" by Dr. Greg Linville. 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 and other local church Sports, Rec & Fitness Ministers are archived at: http://www.csrm.org/blog/
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.