In my previous blog (January 14, 2019) Part I, the principle of being biblically relevant called on the local church Sports, Recreation and Fitness (SR&F) Ministry to incorporate Scripture as sports, recreation and fitness are used to reach out to the lost as well as to build up the believer.
In this blog (Part II) that theme is going to be continued by using the Apostle John’s reference to believers as “little children,” “young men,” and “fathers” (I John 2:12-14). This was John’s way of describing different levels of spiritual maturity.
In other words, while SR&F Outreach Ministry provides a culturally relevant, viable and valuable way to present the gospel to the unbeliever, at some point the ministry needs to carefully nurture those who have responded to that message and placed faith in Jesus Christ. John’s analogy indicates once saved, we have those who he refers to as “little children.” These are the babes in Christ.
Another analogy is appropriate here … what do you feed a baby? Paul, while trying to help the new believers in Corinth, told them, “I gave you milk to drink, not solid food…” (I Corinthians 3:2). The implication for the Sports Minister is to recognize that new believers don’t need to be “fed” deeper theological truths, but need the basics of the faith to “nurse on.” As your “shepherd/coach” leads his/her team or as a director leads an on-going activity, the ”shepherds” need to help the new believer understand three critical things:
1. The new believer needs to understand the priority of SCRIPTURE in one’s daily life (Read it. Memorize it. Meditate on it. Study it. And most importantly, apply/obey it.) The new believer is a spiritual being and needs spiritual food to grow.
2. The new believer needs to understand the priority of PRAYER (When to pray, how to pray, what to pray.) It is imperative the new believer understands the distinct privilege of approaching the “throne of grace” and entering into intimate relationship with the God who saved them. Amazingly, God inclines His ear to the prayers of His children. HE WANTS TO HEAR FROM US.
3. The new believer needs to understand the priority of the LOCAL CHURCH (Hebrews 10:25). In other words, the Sports Ministry has the privilege of building a path from activity to worship. When babies leave the hospital, they are taken “home,” and the church is home.
By the way, the Apostle Peter uses this same analogy indicating that the one who was a believer would long for the “pure milk of the word” (I Peter 2:2). In other words, if someone is genuinely converted, they will hunger for God’s truth. Shouldn’t your SR&F Outreach Ministry make it possible for them to be fed properly? This principle is particularly poignant when the one who professes Christ has no interest in the Word of God. Remember, the unconverted are blind and the truth is veiled to them (II Cor 4:4) In I Corinthians Paul calls them a “natural man” and, therefore, without the spirit and unable to understand the Bible. These people need the gospel.
Is your SR&F Outreach Ministry biblically relevant? Is the Word of God incorporated into your efforts to reach out? Is the Word of God incorporated as you serve the new believer? If not, it should be. Not because I say so, but because the Bible says so. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
Founder of Church Sports International
Founding CSRM Board Member
CSRM Staff Emeritus