Local Church Sports Outreach Ministry Syndromes #4 – King of the Hill
This set of blogs revisits and updates a series of articles that address common obstacles faced by many Local Church Sports & Recreation Ministers. The articles first appeared in CSRM’s Journal “The Sports Minister” and were excerpts from Dr. Linville’s Manual: “Initiating A Sports Ministry in the Local Church.” The end goal of the series is to help identify, define and explain various “syndromes” that can short circuit a successful and effective Sports Outreach in a Local Church.
The “King of the Hill Syndrome”
Due to the great visibility of the Sports Outreach Ministry and because Sports Outreach provides relationships with the greater community, Sports Ministers often gain more notoriety than other church staff members. While this has definite advantages for the church, it often creates some interesting situations for the church and staff.
The Most Readily Known Person
The most readily known person in most churches is the Senior/Lead Pastor. However, in many churches with large and established Sports Outreach Ministries, this is not the case. Sometimes it is the Sports Ministry itself which is well known, but often the most recognizable person from the church is the Sports Minister. This is especially true if the Sports Minister has been at the church longer than a more recently hired Senior Pastor. The dilemma which can result from this is a battle of egos. In the worst case scenario this pits the Senior Pastor against the Sports Pastor and vice versa. Instead of uniting against the true adversary, the two battle each other. If both parties recognize the potential benefits which a truly unified relationship can accomplish, the church and its ministries will flourish. If not, someone will soon be looking for a new church to serve.
Similar problems can occur between the Sports Minister and other church staff members. Sports Ministry for churches is a fairly recent phenomenon and as a result, the sports ministry is what makes news. The reality of this hits when local media; community journals; denominational newsletters and other news agencies all highlight what they consider a novel new church endeavor - Sports Ministry. While the Vacation Bible School of a church may be phenomenal, the local paper will not run a feature story on it, because it is no different than the other 500 Vacation Bible Schools in town. This notoriety has its own way of finding the Sports Minister and thus there is often a jealousy on the part of other staff members. Sports Ministers must be sensitive to this and never make the assumption that their ministry is any more important than any other staff person, and conversely other staff members need to rejoice that their church will reap the benefits of having a high profile ministry. Eventually that high profile ministry will positively impact each of the other ministries through the adding of new people and resources to the church community.
What’s a Sports Minister To Do?
Nothing can replace active, authentic relationships and clear, pro-active communications with church staff, elders and members. Sports Ministers are advised to remember “friends don’t fire friends.” If a Sports Minister is not truly loved and appreciated by the church staff and elders, their tenure will not be long, regardless of how successful their ministry is. A few suggestions…
Next week’s blog will discuss the first Local Church Sports Outreach Ministry Syndrome – “The Just When Do You Work Syndrome”
This blog is an excerpt from Dr. Linville's Manual - "Initiating a Sports Ministry in the Local Church" as reproduced in "The Sports Minister" Journal - Winter 2000. 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.