Is Sports Outreach Effective?
Again…much of what will be discussed in this blog will not be popular. It may in fact, threaten the beliefs of many in the Sports Outreach World. It is not intended to be intentionally offensive or hurtful. It is however, intended to begin a conversation based upon the hard questions asked within. All truth seekers are invited to continue. This is the eighth in a series of blogs addressing the question: Is Sports Outreach Effective? The conversation continues with this blog on the third Continuum: Para-Sport Outreach Ministry – Local Church Sports Outreach Ministry…
Sports Outreach Continuum of Tension #3: Local Church Sports Outreach – Para-Sports Ministry
The past few blogs have stated: a) that in its current form, Para-Sports Outreach Ministry is a flawed model; and b) why redefining Para-church to Para-ministry is important. This blog sets the foundation for these and other considerations for envisioning more effective and efficient models for the Sports Outreach Movement based on a three level paradigm: Level #1 – Theological Truths; Level #2 – Philosophical Principles; Level #3 – Methodological Models.
Theological, Philosophical and Methodological foundations of Sports Outreach Ministry
Convergence – Level #1: Theological
Sports based Para-Ministries and local church Sports Outreach Ministries share a Level #1 Theological Truth commitment based upon the Theology of the Great Commission and the Great Commandments: Evangelism.
Divergence – Levels #2 & #3: Philosophy and Methodology
Where local church Sports Outreach Ministries and sports based Para-Ministries diverge are at Levels #2 and #3. The Philosophy and Methodology of such Para-Ministries are plainly evident.
First, Philosophically, most sports based Para-Ministries believe Evangelism is best done through the creation of separate ministries rather than through a local church. Second, these ministries believe Evangelism is best accomplished methodologically through Sports personalities, chaplancies and mega-events (see future blogs).
Conversely, local church Sports Outreach Ministries operate on the Philosophy the local church is the vehicle God ordained for Evangelism and Discipleship and its Level #3 Methodological Model is primarily to equip church members to reach friends, family and associates through on-going relationships.
It’s not that local church Sports Outreach Ministries are opposed to Para-Ministries or that Para-Ministries aren’t at times supportive of the local church. It’s also not that local church Sports Outreach Ministries never utilize a mega-event, nor Para-Ministries are opposed to relational outreach; it has more to do with where they are on the Continuums. It has much more to do with how they understand the Continuums and the implications of the Continuums.
An Insidious Theological Problem
While I stated earlier there was a convergence when it came to Level #1 Theological Truth as it related to Evangelism, in reality, there may in fact be a basic and most insidious disconnect in this most foundational Theological Truth. There is a huge difference between viewing The Church’s primary task to be the dual efforts of Evangelism and Discipleship rather than a single focused effort I have termed: Evangelistic-Disciplemaking…the topic of the next blog.
Other blogs and articles on Local Church Sports written by Dr. Greg Linville are archived at: www.csrm.org and http://www.csrm.org/blog201112-2.html This blog is an excerpt from Dr. Linville's yet to be released book. 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
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.