Sports Ministry Today - Fulfilling the Great Commission Through the World of Sports - by Elliot Johnson
Book Review -by Dr. Greg Linville
Sports Ministry Today – Fulfilling the Great Commission Through the World of Sports
By Elliot Johnson
Cross Training Publishing – 2009 – Kearney, NE – ISBN: 978-0-9821652-6-3
Elliot Johnson has another “hit” with his latest book – “Sports Ministry Today.” Johnson’s previous literary endeavors have developed quite a loyal fan base and while this book is a slight departure from his normal inspirationally-based genre, it is sure not to disappoint those who have been encouraged by “coach” in the past.
This book is a leadership primer. It is full of tried and true leadership principles Elliot has garnered and perfected over his nearly 30 years of coaching at the collegiate level. I particularly appreciate Johnson’s focus on evangelism, as the sub-title for the book establishes. I recommend this book to all veteran sports ministers who are looking to sharpen their leadership skills or perhaps gain a new insight into areas they want to review. This book would also be excellent for anyone starting out in sports ministry as the principles found in this book would serve as great foundations from which to build a ministry. For that matter, this book is recommended for anyone in any ministry, as the leadership principles that work in the world of sport will work anywhere.
Chapter #1 is an overview of history and includes a brief survey of 1st century Greek, Roman and early Christian sport and faith integration. This is followed by stories throughout history of how Christians interacted with sport. Profiles include Protestant Reformers such as Luther, Muscular Christianity personalities, and a few pioneers from the Sports Outreach Era of the mid to late 20th Century.
Chapter #2 outlines 12 underlying presuppositions for Sport Ministry. These provide a great foundation for anyone desiring to begin a ministry based upon solid Biblical principles.
Chapter #3 provides a wonderful template for how to maintain a Biblical worldview when involved in athletics. It would be especially helpful for school coaches and athletic directors.
Chapter #4 is where Johnson’s expertise shines: coaching. There is a particularly helpful section for local church sports pastors and all who coach pre-adolescents. This is a must read for anyone who coaches youth as it provides much needed insights and research about why kids play sport and, more importantly, why they quit playing sports. Coach Johnson also includes a number of principles which are incredibly relevant for parents of athletes.
Chapter #5 simply “drips” with sage advice on how to be a leader. It is entitled: “Administration of Sports Ministry Programs” but the jewels outlined in this chapter are relevant for leaders of all stripes.
Chapter #6 is entitled “Sports Ministry to Women” and provides the reader with insights into some of Coach Johnson’s perspectives about the uniqueness of women in sport.
Chapter #7 has a few nuggets on how to engage in prison ministry including a solid template of proper prison ministry etiquette.
Chapter #8 is a brief attempt to address local church sports ministry.
Chapter #9 shares how people with writing and speaking skills can utilize them for ministry.
Chapter #10 is a discussion about the attendant positives and negatives of sports ministry.
Chapter #11 lists a number of the selected sports related ministries
New Concept Found in this Book
What may be new to some who read this book is the fact coaching needs to be different for different ages. Grade school children need to be handled differently than College or Pro athletes. This is known by many but needs to be implemented by all.
The chapter on writing, speaking and media may open the eyes of some on who may for the first time realize these avenues could be God’s call to ministry.
Catch Phrases Worth Remembering