Overcoming Obstacles in Local Church Sports Outreach Ministry #4 - Philosophical Objections
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 originally written by Sports Ministry Pioneer Rodger Oswald and appear here in edited excerpts. The end goal of the series is to help identify, define and explain various obstacles faced by Local Church Sports Outreach Ministers
Philosophical Objections to Church Sports Overview
Having addressed the major Biblically-based objections to Church Sports, I now move to those objections based in philosophical principles. This has more to do with the construct of the local church…in other words what is The Church supposed to do?
The Purpose of Local Church Sports Outreach Ministry
When someone asks the Sports Minister what his or her philosophy is, what they really are asking is; “Why are you doing what you are doing.” Churchmen over the ages have been asking that same question, and even today, the answers vary. However, if one were to spend time in the book of Acts or the Pastoral Epistles (the letters to Timothy and Titus), I believe the consensus would be the local church gathers in order to WORSHIP, EDIFY and EVANGELIZE. The task for the pastor and/or church leadership is to determine how that will take place most effectively in order that people might have a vibrant relationship with God and that the results include the spiritual growth of the individual as the body coordinates to impact the unsaved locally and globally.
The fact that some Churchmen eschew or ignore Sports Ministry is interesting in that recent history has proven sports and recreation is the most culturally relevant and therefore, most strategic tool the local church has to: a) build “body life;” b) build up the believer; and c) build a bridge of relationship that lends itself to incarnational evangelistic-disciplemaking. When asked about this, the responses are very revealing. Some pastors respond with: “They never taught me this in seminary,” or “The really spiritual things take place in the worship center, Sunday School class or home Bible study.” They may even add: “Jesus was not a competitive person and therefore His followers should not be competitive.”
These and other responses speak to the issue of Philosophy. Those uttering these responses reveal the scope of their paradigm (and the fact they are uncomfortable outside that paradigm), or a bias based on a lack of interest in sports and recreation…or perhaps even resistance toward sports due to a negative personal experience.
The fact that someone is unaware of the potential of a prospective ministry should not prevent a person from learning about that potential for the sake of The Church and the gospel. Likewise, it seems as though a prudent person ought to be willing to examine feeling and prejudices based on present need (and ecclesiastical effectiveness) rather than historical biases.
[For further reflection on the Philosophical basis for Sports Outreach Ministry readers are encouraged to review previous blogs on the “3-Tier Paradigm” archived in previous CSRM blogs (http://www.csrm.org/blog)
Next week’s blog will continue the series on Obstacles to Sports Outreach by discussing Practical Objections
This blog is an edited excerpt an article by Rodger Oswald originally published in “The Sports Minister” Journal – Spring 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 and Rodger Oswald 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.