Is Sports Outreach Working?
REVIEW: This series of blogs analyzes the underlying reasons for why it is that the Sports Outreach Movement has not fulfilled its promise. This analysis is done through the lens of the Sports Outreach Ministry Continuums of Tension. Previous blogs articulated insights based on continuums 1-3. The current series considers the 4th Sports Outreach Ministry Continuum of Tension: Mega-event / Process Evangelism. This week’s focus outlines the core content of Process-styled evangelism: The “5-B’s” of Process-styled evangelistic-disciplemaking.
The “5-B’s” of Evangelistic-disciplemaking
BELONG – The first step in Process-styled evangelism is to create a community that lives out the gospel in vibrant, profound and loving ways; into which those who are far from Christ are not only intentionally welcomed but, more importantly, are irresistibly drawn into. This Level #2 Philosophy was modeled by the 1st century Church, perfected by the early Celtic Church, and has remained a staple of every congregation successfully engaged in evangelistic-disciplemaking. Rather than requiring non-believers to go through some rite of initiation such as becoming baptized or taking a catechism course, these “Celtic-styled” churches understand the other four “B’s” follow, rather than precede, belonging, to a congregational body.
BELIEVE – It is out of belonging to a church community, that non-believers experience the gospel. Rather than hearing the gospel, they experience it. They experience it in all of its fullness, passion and yes, even in its failures. After experiencing the gospel being lived out, those who have been far from Christ find themselves drawn to the truth, love and freedom of the Christian faith. It is within this loving community that belief in Christ occurs.
BAPTIZE – Baptism follows the belief of all who “convert.” Conversions which occur within the Christian community are celebrated by the community through the sacrament of Baptism. In these Celtic-styled communities, baptism follows, and grows out of, belonging to the community, rather than preceding it.
BEHAVE – Once again, we see the distinction the evangelistic-disciplemaking Philosophical Principles of a Celtic-styled Christian community. Rather than demanding those far from Christ to behave in Christ-like ways before they can belong to or be baptized by a local assembly of The Church, they understand Christ-like behavior follows belief in Christ. It does not precede it.
BECOME – The final step in the evangelistic-disciplemaking process is becoming a life-long disciple of Christ. Those who believed, were baptized, are empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit and encouraged by loving brothers and sisters within the community to which the new convert belongs, experience the process of becoming “new creatures” in Christ. Their lives are forever changed!
The synthesis of the Mega-event and Process Evangelism Philosophies
Next week’s blog will build upon the “5-B’s” of the Celtic-styled evangelistic-disciplemaking Process-styled evangelism and demonstrate how it can be synthesized with the Mega-event philosophy for a truly catalytic new Level #2 Philosophical Principle.
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
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
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.