Sport, Rec & Fitness Outreach Ministry - "Its not Rocket Science" but has far more eternal significance!
It was one of those awkward internet first dates. We sipped on our hot coffee and, in between the sips, we shared a little bit about ourselves with each other. She asked what I did for a living, and I told her, I was an instructor of sport and recreation administration at Ole Miss.
She asked, as if it were all one word, “What’s a sportandrecreation?”
Being in this field, I’m used to the follow-up question. There were times I would share what I was doing for the church as a sport and recreation minister to my father and he would always ask, “And, they pay you for this?”
I explained to her that in my previous career I organized sports leagues, craft classes, puppet teams, fitness classes, theater productions, outdoor recreation events, and was in charge of a recreation center and a four-field outdoor sports complex. I told her the students in my classes learn how to do the same thing.
She then asked me, “So, what do they do all day?”
I asked her if her children had played sports when they were younger. She nodded that they had. I asked about specific details of putting together a game such as a fully stocked concession stand, bases being out, umpires behind the plate, coaches being present, and other items. When she replied that all of that occurred, I told her that’s what a sport and recreation leader would do.
I sensed she was not impressed when she said, “Oh, I see. Well, it’s certainly not rocket science.”
There was not a second date. In a way, she is correct as it isn't rocket science. It’s more valuable than that.
I went to high school with a guy that ended up working for NASA. He was one of the most brilliant minds I’ve ever known. When I read his posts on social media or talk to him at various high school reunions he never talks about how rocket science helps people know true peace, gain direction in life, or experience love. Those in Sports, Recreation, and Fitness (SR&F) Outreach Ministries offer these opportunities all the time.
In my introductory class for sport and recreation majors, I ask them to think of a favorite childhood memory. The answers include playing a sport as a child, being involved in music or drama, or going camping with their family. No one ever mentions making a good grade in Algebra or having his or her tonsils out. Most, if not all, responses over the past twelve years have always had something to do with a leisure activity.
The programs offered through SR&F Outreach Ministries in our churches provide people in our communities with a chance to see Jesus through coaches, teachers, and instructors. Through a “simple” leisure activity, one has the opportunity to discover the love of God in their own life. Beyond that wonderful truth, the activities offered also provide some of the greatest memories that people share and enjoy the rest of their lives.
Whether it was a memorable coach, going snow skiing for the first time, or seeing “before and after” pictures of a fitness course, programs in sports, recreation, and fitness live on forever with our participants.
For all those that volunteer or earn a living providing memory making programs that help people develop Jesus-shaped lives, we thank you!
Professor David Waddell currently teaches at Ole Miss and is CSRM's Executive Director. He had a long tenure as a SR&F Outreach Minister at a local church in Memphis, Tennessee and has authored three books. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
His books can be ordered at: https://csrm.z2systems.com/np/clients/csrm/giftstore.jsp