Dearth of Existing Models
One last obstacle to creating truly evangelistic-disciplemaking local church sports outreach ministries…a dearth of existing models. Yet, I rarely meet anyone within the Sports Outreach Movement who says they don’t agree theoretically with an evangelistic-disciplemaking approach to ministry. However, few have actually incorporated it fully into their pragmatic ministry endeavors. Thankfully, there are a few and the following is reflection by Jay Martin of Perimeter Church in Atlanta is evidence of that. He starts his blog with a quote from Robert Coleman…
“Merely because we are busy, or even skilled in, and doing something, does not necessarily mean that we are getting anything accomplished. the question must always be asked: Is it worth doing and does it get the job done? This is the question that should be posed continually in relation to the evangelistic activity of a local church Sports Ministry. Are our efforts to keep things going actually fulfilling the Great Commission mandate of Christ? Do we see an ever-expanding company of dedicated people reaching the world with the gospel as a result of our ministry? That we are busy in the church trying to work one program of evangelism after another cannot be denied. But are any of these “program” accomplishing our objective?” Master Plan of Evangelism Robert E. Coleman
These words haunt me as a ministry leader. I am going to be held accountable for what I do with what I have been given. I’m not going to be measured on the numbers in our programs or volunteers I’ve attracted (this is so easy to do). No, I believe, for us who lead gospel-centered ministries, the question is; are we making Disciple Makers?
In our ministries [at Perimeter] we now strive (we’ve made many adjustments over the years) to create extraordinary environments that discover, develop and deploy life time disciplemakers. In order to do that, we often have to re-evaluate…and stop doing things to start doing others. We’ve shifted from being programmatic to become more people focused (missional). This is where we spend the largest portion of our time and money and the result has been amazing. Take the following testimony we received…
"There is a real change in the way I live my life as a result of what God did in my life through my involvement in Camp All America. I want to thank you ,because the impact that has been made in my walk with Christ, and how I see the world, my growth as a leader is because you all take the time to invest in the summer staff. I'm incredibly thankful for everything y'all have done in my life. I want to personally thank you for providing an environment in which my faith continued to grow. Working out (she was part of our staff fitness initiative) and self-discipline is a parallel to the faith and am overjoyed to have been able to experience it. This summer has seriously challenged me to continue these habits of self-discipline back at school. Y’all have made such a major impact on both my brothers and am so thankful that I got to experience similar opportunities. This ministry has impacted me in a way that it’s taught me to be missional where I live work and play. I work at a place where we are trying to bring the kingdom to our community and I live in a place where there are Muslims everywhere and they need Jesus. I’m called to be missional and I’ve learned that here.”
Yes, Mr. Coleman, I believe we are accomplishing our objective and it fuels us like nothing else we do.
Jay Martin – Director of Sports Outreach Perimeter Church – Atlanta
Perimeter Church is breaking the mold…they indeed are going into all the world and making disciples….not just getting decisions.
This blog is an excerpt from chapter #2 of Dr. Linville's yet to be released book – Sports Ministry Fundamentals. 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 other local church Sports, Rec & Fitness Ministers are archived at: http://www.csrm.org/blog/archives/05-2016
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.