The "5B's" of The Sports Outreach Movement: Envisioning Evangelistic-Disciplemaking Through Local Church Sports Outreach - Part #4
The “5-B’s Rubric of Evangelistic-Disciplemaking” of The Sports Outreach Movement – Part #4
This series of blogs describes and explains the “5-B’s” of Evangelistic-Disciplemaking of The Sports Outreach Movement. It continues to explain the first “B” - Belonging
Overcoming the two “Dysconnects”
So far this series of blogs has identified two dysconnects and how to overcome the obstacles for connecting people to the church. This blog will detail how local congregations can enhance their ability to connect people to their church.
Build an Excellent Sports Environment
The unchurched person is first attracted by, and feels comfortable within, a church’s sports program because they experience a sporting environment they recognize and understand, including high quality sports and fitness facilities and equipment which beckons them to participate. They choose to participate because of the excellent sports programs and facilities; they remain involved because they are warmly loved and welcomed by current church members who play, coach and participate alongside them. The two-fold key to attracting and maintaining unchurched people is excellence in the sporting venue and the warm reception of the people of administrating and participating in the venue. Such environments are well received by those far from Christ. Little do they know, they have begun their spiritual journey by “belonging.”
Build the Sports Outreach Around Church Members Leisure Pursuits
While excellence in the Sports Outreach is a pre-requisite for succeeding in overcoming the first “dysconnect,” the key for overcoming the second “dysconnect” is building the outreach around the leisure pursuits of the current church members. It makes no sense to create a high quality Sports Outreach Ministry in a local church if it precludes church members from participating in the outreach, because to do so, eliminates the greatest outreach asset a local church has – its people. This is based on the Level #1 Theological Truth that believes evangelistic-disciplemaking is best accomplished through the “incarnational” ministry of local church members. Building a Sports Outreach around the leisure pursuits of a congregation’s members enables church members to invite their friends, co-workers and family members to participate in sports and recreational activities with them. Such missional programming empowers church members to be personally involved in the evangelistic-disciplemaking process.
For example, a church filled with a “twenty-something” age group is much better served hosting ultimate Frisbee leagues and tournaments, whereas a church populated with senior adults would be advised to incorporate more “life-time” sports such as golf, bocce and bowling leagues, as well as recreational opportunities that would include travel clubs, adult fitness or craft classes, and ball room dances. However, the church which consists primarily of Senior adults should realize they do need to address how they plan to attract the younger generations if they wish to ensure the future of the congregation. The millennial church also has an obstacle. As its members age, the congregation will need to adapt its outreach to include the changing leisure pursuits of its “maturing” members.
The good news is, a local congregation that creates sport, recreation and fitness opportunities which mirrors the leisure pursuits of its members will experience the greatest growth and most importantly, will have the greatest impact for the kingdom because it has matched its sports, recreation and fitness outreaches with the leisure pursuits of its members.
Summarizing the First “B” - Belonging
Belonging is the first and primary step needed to reach secularized, non-churched, non-believers for Jesus Christ. By creating a safe and loving community within a sport and recreation environment, local churches enable and empower their members to reach people far from Christ. It is within this community that the unchurched experience the gospel being lived out and in which they can warmly receive the verbal invitation to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Once the gospel has been lived out (proclaimed) and verbally presented (affirmed), non-believers are ready for the second “B” – believing.
This blog is an excerpt from chapter #3 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/
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.