Kingdom or Community - Lenten Reflections and The Relevance to Local Church Sports Outreach
This past Lent, I was struck by Jesus's reply to Pilate: "My Kingdom is not of this world." Jesus was clear and His response to Pilate was in line with an overall theme....
While the Bible certainly teaches about the Kingdom of God, clearly this Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. How then should we, disciples of Christ, envision ourselves both individually and collectively; and what does it mean for local church Sports Outreach Ministry? There are two New Testament word used to describe Jesus's disciples: Church (ecclesia) and community (koinonia); and one that is not - kingdom (basileia).
Church - two main concepts:
So, the main description of those who are "called out" (ecclesia) is that of a fellowship/partnership (koinonia) of followers of Christ, or what we would describe as a "community," not a kingdom (basileia)! The Church is not called to usher in an earthly kingdom but rather become a witnessing and serving community within the earthly kingdoms. So, more than attempting to create a political system that will bring about peace and justice, we should be about creating a community in which the Kingdom of God is experienced and where all will be loved, respected, honored and treated with dignity and respect.
The Relevance for Local Church Sports Outreach
Local Church Sports & Rec Ministry is the perfect place to create a Christ-centered community in which the Kingdom of God is experienced...where Jesus is more "caught than taught." No election, no government, no human organization will bring about what is needed. It is a place where the first "B" (belong) of Sports Ministry's "5B Rubric of Evangelistic-Disciplemaking" takes place (see other blogs/books on the "5B's"). Our challenge as local church Sports Outreach Ministers is to create a culture and environment within our sports & rec activities that exudes the "fragrance" of Christ. Let's not try to establish a kingdom, but rather create a community...a community that would bring a smile to the face of Jesus.
"My kingdom is not of this world..."
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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 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.