The Sabbath/Lord’s Day in Relationship to Sports Outreach Ministry
Who would ever say listening to 50% less sermons would enhance the spiritual formation and growth of an individual disciple of Christ and yet that is exactly how churches have functioned for the entirety of the 21st century! Who would recommend a disciple of Christ to never attending a weekly Christian Education Sunday School class…and yet that has become the norm for most disciples of Christ. It would seem local congregations have succumbed to the culture of Professional Sports and the leisure pursuits of the “modern” day family by accommodatingly only offering one hour “worship” services. What once was the “Lord’s Day” has become, at best, the Lord’s hour! The utter significance of setting aside an entire day for spiritual development has never been more evident. Its time to state the obvious: true discipleship includes honoring Sunday…the entirety of the day…to the Lord.
Thus, the second aspect for understanding the importance of commitment to and participation with a local congregation is one of the most controversial issues that has confronted the Sports Outreach Movement through the decades: What about Sunday Sports?
Many Sports and Recreation Ministers wrestle with whether or not to program sports outreach activities on a Sunday, and almost every Christian athlete, coach and athletic director has already made the decision to play, coach or organize sport on Sunday. Christian families are also faced with the question of their “sporty” kids’ priorities and commitments. Specifically, should their children participate in “travel team,” AAU or other specialized and/or elite athletic sports activities if they occur on a Sunday? The issue of Sunday Sport is indeed uniquely linked with, and connected to, the Level #1 Theological Truth discussion on commitment to and participation with The Church.
The answer to Sunday Sports cannot be determined quickly and must not be pre-determined by the often emotional desire to play sport at a high level…even if that desire is tied up with a desire to utilize one’s sport to glorify God and/or reach others for God.
The answer can be ascertained by reflection on five key Theological Truths: a) Sabbath Day; b) Lord’s Day; c) Ecclesiology in relationship to church association and participation; d) Missiology in relationship to biblical principles of reaching those far from Christ; and e) Soteriology in relationship to evangelism and discipleship. Each of these are addressed in my forth coming book by making real life applications from Biblically-based Level #2 Philosophical Principles. For the purposes of this blog taken from a specific chapter and section, it is assumed that true disciples of Jesus will be regularly participating in a local congregation and abstaining from any regular, organized sporting activities and events.
 See Chapter 7 in my book Christmanship which outlines a theological foundation for Sunday Sport issues.
This blog is an excerpt from a future book by Dr. Greg Linville. 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/
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.