What it Means to those in Ministry
Simply put, the second obstacle to implementing an evangelistic-disciplemaking philosophy is it means the death of many sacred cows! At the time of writing, the Sports Outreach Ministry Movement had entered its 8th decade! What this means is, the Sports Outreach Movement can now say what The Church has said for two millennia: “But we’ve always done it that way!” There are three typical “but we’ve always done it that way” rationales for resisting change: a) its hard work for the local church sports minister; b) it’s overwhelming to local church leadership; c) it entails a financial risk…
Its hard work for the Sports Minister. I believe many Church and para-ministry leaders are weary of doing it the old way; are frustrated by the ineffective and inefficient methods they currently employ; and yet find it difficult to risk establishing new methods when the old models are sometimes effective. They know pioneering new philosophies and methodologies will take an enormous effort and will not be achieved without a great deal of cost. Yes, it will take much work, effort, sweat and even a few tears, but it will be worth it. Let’s be real, these dedicated men and women are often overwhelmed by the unending demands of: recruiting, training and supervising volunteer leaders; scheduling hundreds of practices, games, officials and snack bar workers; ordering equipment, uniforms and curriculums; managing staff, social media and weather related issues; manicuring and lining sports fields; cleaning/sweeping gymnasiums; and on top of all of this, they attempt to walk deeply with Jesus, faithfully love and care for their marriages and families and also find time to mow their own lawns! And just when do they have time to turn their current models up-side-down? Yet, I maintain, there is nothing more important these dedicated servants can do than ensure their efforts are the most effective and efficient possible.
It’s overwhelming to church and para-ministry leaders. You know your pastoral staff! Most find themselves in the same boat as do Sports Ministers. The mountain of the “urgent” requests and unceasing demands of the day to day church and ministry activities are onerous enough; adding the major effort of completely re-envisioning the congregational or ministry life to be able to incorporate new philosophical principles and methodological models seems overwhelming. Especially when, people are “already getting saved.”
Perhaps a better definition of this sub-point would be “unknown results” because so few churches and ministries have actually incorporated a strategically, integrated evangelistic-disciplemaking philosophy, it’s hard to fully appreciate why current endeavors should be disrupted; particularly if existing efforts are producing some fruit. It’s always risky to change what has worked at some level, for the unknown, even if the unknown has a promising potential.
It entails financial risk. As mentioned earlier, there are financial considerations. Incorporating such systemic change will always bring additional costs endemic to change. In addition to these new costs, changes sometimes cause a cessation of some current activities or rituals which may alienate some participants and because, in the short run (until the narrative of success is redefined and communicated), financial contributions may decrease.
Church and ministry leaders should count the costs but, should these obstacles keep churches and ministries from boldly seeking to become the most effective and efficient they can possibly become? An old Scottish proverb says: “Choose your change before your change is chosen by someone else.”
The next blog will look at some examples of current Local Church Sport, Rec & Fitness Ministries that are trying to implement the Evangelistic-Disciplemaking principles and programs.
The next blog will look at contemporary models that local congregations are employing to institute the Evangelistic-Disciplemaking Principles.
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 email@example.com
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.