I approached Andrew, our Director of Digital Resources at CSRM, as he was standing next to one of the conference presenters at the Ridgecrest Conference Center last month. I recorded the presentation on the new iPad the University of Mississippi issued to me. It was my first Apple product to work with after years of being an Android user.
I noticed to the left of me in the hallway was Dale, a longtime friend from Baylor University. To my right sat John, the Recreation and Senior Adult Pastor with whom I worked in my last church staff position. These two men know me quite well including both my strengths and weaknesses. As I approached, the presenter asked how we were going to transfer the recording from my iPad to the director. Andrew said, “I’ll just have him AirDrop it to my device.”
I replied, “Yeah, that’s what I thought we’d do.”
My two friends, knowing of my technological ignorance, broke out in loud laughter. If you had questioned me before Andrew used the phrase, I would have said an “AirDrop” is when one takes supplies to a place with no roads that need supplies. The “REACH” goes even farther as I was telling the story to Ann Margaret, a lady friend of mine, and when I got to my part of saying, “that’s what I thought we’d do,” she burst into laughter as well.
I think my friends understood that me knowing a technological term like that would be “quite the REACH.” The phrase, “this is a REACH,” according to the website, English Language App is defined as “far-fetched” or “not likely but also not impossible.” 1
When one thinks of using leisure time experiences as a tool for telling people about God’s love and offering the hope of salvation, some would say that is “quite the REACH.” And, yet, it is happening in local churches all over this world and CSRM is doing what we can to assist in this process.
The word, “REACH” on its own has various meanings. The conference referred to above is called REACHGathering and is held for local church Sports, Recreation, and Fitness (SR&F) Outreach Ministers.
In a way, based on my experiences through the years with events like this, the conference encompasses different definitions of REACH from www.dictionary.com. 2
To Get to or Get as Far as in Moving, Going, Traveling, etc. (verb)
People who attend the REACHGathering conference are interested in going as far as they can in REACHing people for Jesus and teaching them how to be like Jesus through sports, recreation, and fitness programs. Topics at the conference included items such as how to deal with Sunday tournament games or how to deal with gender and transgender issues. Breakout sessions dealt with coach recruitment and retention as well as dealing with diverse populations.
I would offer that sports, recreation, and fitness opportunities may be the best method in this world in bringing people together. When one is involved with others in a sport, sitting alongside someone in a craft class, or pitching the tent on the perfect campsite, the thought doesn’t go to the differences in other people. Instead, the idea concentrates on the similarities. The “reach” for others will allow us to get to or get as far as in moving, going, or traveling.
A Continuous Stretch or Extent of Something (noun)
John Wooden, the longtime successful coach at UCLA, said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” 3
It’s incredible at this gathering how many people attend that have been in sports, recreation and fitness ministries for over twenty years. When asked as to why they still attend, the reason includes relationships and that they will learn something new.
Knowledge is a stretching of the mind and heart. It’s a REACH to extend oneself in learning about new techniques or new programs that can help someone else learn how to be like Jesus. To gain new knowledge at this conference and extend all we know about leading in sports and recreation programs is a good “REACH” to attempt.
Range of Effective Action, Power, or Capacity (noun)
In a culture that is enamored with leisure time activities, it behooves churches to do what they can to influence said culture with love and grace. Sports, recreation, and fitness programs provide the “REACH” to gather the people of a community together. The action, power, or capacity of a single program can be the impetus to draw in a person that needs God’s grace and love.
I have heard when missionaries move into different cultures, they learn the culture and then attempt to minister, evangelize, and disciple through the ways of that culture. It is no different for the sports, recreation, and fitness ministries in our culture using all of their action, power and capacity to reach a culture with God’s amazing love and grace.
Join us for REACHGathering 2020
While my knowledge of AirDrops and other technological advances are a “REACH,” I can attest to the fact that the REACHGathering Conference is a more realistic “REACH.” The dates for next year are March 31 – April 2, 2020, at the Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, North Carolina. You may register now
at https://reachlive.org/register. I’ll be there. You can find me around the tech people discussing AirDrops.
in1 Em1Em1 2, Alicja ZAlicja Z 1. (n.d.). What does “this is a REACH” mean? Retrieved April 12, 2019, from
2 Reach. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2019, from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/reach
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