Is Sports Outreach Working?
REVIEW: This series of blogs is designed to explore how the Sports Outreach Movement can develop more effective methodologies. This is done through the lens of the Sports Outreach Ministry Continuums of Tension. Previous blogs articulated insights based on continuums 1-3. The current sub-series considers the 4th Sports Outreach Ministry Continuum of Tension: Mega-event / Process Evangelism. This week’s focus proposes a model for synchronizing the Mega-event with Process-styled evangelistic-disciplemaking efforts.
SUMMARY OF THE MEGA-EVENT / PROCESS-STYLED CONTINUUM: So far I have established that the Mega-event and Process-styled philosophies of evangelism each have liabilities and both have assets What is needed is a synthesis of the two ends of the continuum. This analysis strongly suggests a new Level #2 Philosophical Principle which will lead to a more effective Level #3 Methodological Model. This new philosophy and all new methodological endeavors are based on the Sports Outreach “5-B’s” of evangelistic-disciplemaking which was outlined in the last blog.
A New Model
Historical Sports Outreach Models have provided a certain level of limited success in reaching those far from Christ but, I believe they have fallen far short of their potential. I believe a new philosophy that leads to an improved methodology is needed. The new model I’m suggesting synthesizes the assets of, and mitigates the negatives of, each of the two prevailing models (Mega-event / Process-styled) for truly effective, efficient, relevant and strategic sports outreach. This new model can be accomplished in three steps.
STEP #1 – COMMIT TO WORK COOPERATIVELY
This new model builds on my proposal of a previous set of blogs which discussed the 3rd Sports Outreach Movement Continuum – Para-ministry / Local Church. The proposal of that set of blogs suggested local churches and para-ministries commit to work cooperatively towards an evangelistic-disciplemaking end-goal of seeing the unchurched become dedicated disciples of Christ who are intimately involved in a local church.
STEP #2 – COMMIT TO SYNERGISTICALLY CREATE A NEW MODEL
The second step entails the para-ministries and local churches envisioning, planning for, implementing and cooperating to forge a comprehensive, year-round outreach that maximizes the strengths of both models.
STEP #3 – COMMIT TO ENGAGE AND ENABLE LOCAL CHURCH MEMBERS
The basis of this new synchronized model would be to mobilize a local congregation’s members, and empower them by training, equipping and resourcing them to reach their friends, neighbors and family members through weekly sports and recreation activities and leagues.
What Does this New Methodological Model Look Like?
The foundation of the new model maximizes the Process-styled philosophy by creating a sustainable, year-round set of sports leagues and recreation activities, which enable church members the opportunity to initiate and cultivate, deepening relationships with unchurched people. However, the new model utilizes the Mega-event philosophy in two major ways: a) maximizing the attractional power of a Mega-event to initially draw people to a knowledge of, and an invitation to, join the church’s sports and recreation programs; and b) using the motivational power of a Mega-event to call people to an initial faith in Jesus, or a renewed and deepening faith in Him.
It is true, many churches successfully reach the unchurched through Process-styled evangelistic-disciplemaking activities and never employ the Mega-event philosophy. It is also true churches have reached some through the Mega-event philosophy, but neither approach is nearly as successful as when the two are synergistically combined.
Next week’s blog will change direction and begin a discussion on the controversy of “Sunday Sport.”
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 written by Dr. Greg Linville are archived at: www.csrm.org and http://www.csrm.org/blog201112-2.html
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.