One of the many blessings of remaining in the same geographic area for your entire life is the ability to maintain long term relationships. To that end, I feel most fortunate. My friendships grow deeper and sweeter each passing year. One particular aspect of “commitment to place” has become increasingly encouraging: hearing from former players I coached in the many church youth leagues through the year. Recently, I’ve heard from the following…
“I’m in the church today because of you. I only wished I had listened to you earlier…those days I ran the streets caused me nothing but heartache and trouble…but praise God, I finally listened and now my life is all about Him. Thanks for putting those gospel seeds in my heart at an early age.” Richard
“I don’t know where I’d be without you leading me to Christ. You came into my life when I needed more than just a basketball coach and you always steered me in the right direction. Now I’m trying to raise my boys the same way you taught me and my whole family is in the church. I can’t thank you enough for leading me to Jesus.” Lee
Today, in America, it is illegal to share our faith in Christ in our schools. We can talk about religion, but we can’t encourage anyone to consider Jesus becoming their Lord and Savior. Today, in America, it is frowned upon to talk about a personal relationship with God in many organizations which were birthed to do just that, such as the YM and YWCA. Today, in America, it has become increasingly less acceptable to be associated with a church. Today, in America, there are more children playing soccer on a Lord’s Day morning than are in Sunday School. Today, in America, the slide to secularism increases everyday and the demands of sport lead the way. As recent as the 1970’s most school systems refrained from having any after school activities on Wednesdays so as not to conflict with mid week services at local churches. Today, in America, Sunday afternoons fell to the tyranny of the youth league sport monster and now even Sunday mornings are no longer sacred. Today, in America, even church going followers of Christ organize 5k runs and a myriad of athletic leagues. Today, in America, we have the first generation (25 and under) who are almost totally “unseeded” with the gospel. If this is Today, in America, what will tomorrow, in America be like?
CSRM believes the way to “Reach the Heart of America” is through Christ-centered, Biblically-based, Lord’s Day-honoring and Athletically-superior, Local-Church Youth Leagues! CSRM is praying, thinking and planning for new initiatives to “seed the next generation for the gospel” through youth sports. We are partnering with:
Regardless of what is happening “Today, in America,” we can forge a new tomorrow by reaching and discipling this generation of youth through Local Church Youth Leagues! Will you join the movement?
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.