First and foremost, 2018 was a year which we have experienced the goodness of God in all 5 trainings we had in the year mentioned. It has been a year of awesome testimonies, through the trainings conducted under the flagship of CSRM Sports Ministry here in Malawi. We have seen pastors, church leaders accepting again Jesus Christ as their personal savior, after listening to the sports ministry tools for preaching the word of God.
It was amazing to experience and see at one training, 13 church leaders and pastors, confessed their sins and re-committed their lives to the Lord and Savior – JESUS Christ. A month later we went back to encourage our dear brethren in the Lord. We found the church has transformed the membership and the building. The church leaders not only recommitted to Jesus Christ but they testified with other leaders, that the tools of Sports Ministry are very helpful and powerful to use in bringing the word of God. One was touched with the verse: “Where the heart is, its where one spends his/her time and money.”
The Baptist church which had a dirt floor now has concrete and other ministries have been born within the church such as kids ministry, outreach ministry, sports ministry and a fundraising committee was established. The church had only 102 memberships, but now, it has increased in membership up to 206! The church pastor, could not believe what he was seeing and how members who were only Sundays worshippers have turned to participating members in everything activity done at church. Above that kids ministry is going very much strong and every week this ministry is joined by new kids.
The church leaders are so puzzled with the way God is using Sports Ministry tools to bring His people close to Him. Pastors and church leaders did know that this tool can covert Muslims to Christianity, it’s not easy here in Malawi, as they have been preaching by using crusades but no one came from Muslim belief to accept Jesus Christ as the true Son of God. As in all 5 trainings and follow ups activities, 210 Muslims came to Christianity and accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
The sports ministry trainings and outreaches, conducted this year, have had a very positive impact in more than 178 churches, as they have now new crop of ministries within churches because they now have the tools of sports ministry! Sports Ministry at first was regarded as a time waster or something done by those who have questionable character, but in the long run, such belief has been washed by the hands of God through these trainings we have had in Malawi. Now almost 1000 churches are inviting us to train their leaders. This is also a huge testimony. The church leaders and pastors, testified that the crowd of people who come and participate during the outreaches is amazing and very much encouraging.
Many kids have accepted Jesus Christ and enjoy playing and being active in sports and church activities, as this also wasn’t there before coming of sports tools imparted in church pastors and leaders. Sports Ministry has transformed church leaders and pastors including communities, it has reduced even crime rate which was committed mainly by idle youth, even at church these youth, couldn’t actively participate in any activities, they thought church is boring, but the coming of Sports Ministry and trainings, outreaches done in the community, have completely changed their mindsets and attitude towards the church. Now are involved in many activities at church, as others, have realized, rejuvenated their talents.
James Mhango - CSRM Global Network Partner
Anyone wishing to support James's ongoing ministry can do so at by logging on to the CSRM website and the Global Network Partner Page or the following hyperlink: https://csrm.z2systems.com/np/clients/csrm/campaign.jsp?campaign=9&fundraiser=1091
At times, I feel as though my entire life's dedication is to barbecue. I was born in Kansas City, Missouri, which is famous for their barbecue. I went to seminary and worked six years for a church in Texas, which is known for barbecue. The past twenty-one years of my life has been in and around Memphis, Tennessee, also known for barbecue.
I often tell friends that my life is all about encouraging grill masters and meat smokers to achieve their best in their craft. It is a wonderful path to walk.
In reality, there have been some recent events that have solidified more of a calling in another direction. In the end, the true calling will help people more than a barbecue reference. These events confirmed an early calling in my life toward a path of ministry. Let me explain.
My earliest memory of anything dealing with sports and recreation in churches came from my childhood. My parents kept me active in a program called Royal Ambassador’s, which was similar to the Boy Scouts. I was in ministry leadership later in life I referred to this program as the baptized Boy Scouts. I also played on a youth league baseball team sponsored by the church. Ed Christian, who had an appropriate last name for church participation, was my coach for the two seasons that I remember in Kansas City, Missouri. My claim to sports fame was playing with future major league pitcher Rick Sutcliffe in one of those seasons.
A move to Springfield, Missouri at the age of twelve opened up more opportunities for me. When I was a sophomore in high school, our church hired a director of activities. He led us in many after church fellowships, banquets, trips, and sports opportunities. God used the leadership of Bobby Shows to guide me toward a calling into the sport and recreation ministry. Following a position as a youth minister at a nearby town, I finished my college years working for Bobby as a recreation assistant in the church’s activities building.
A move to Fort Worth, Texas found me attending seminary and working as a minister of recreation in a local church. Following graduation, I worked in four different churches with responsibility for sports and recreation programs in each location.
When my local church work ended, I eventually ended up teaching sport and recreation administration at the University of Mississippi. My involvement in academics opened a door back into assisting the Association of Church Sports and Recreation Ministers (CSRM). I presented at conferences, and two years ago the organization recruited me to serve on their Board of Trustees. It appears that much of my life's dedication is toward using sports and recreation activities as a way of shaping lives to be like Jesus. In the long run, that is better than barbecue.
In our recent board meeting, we dealt with the resignation of our Executive Director. He had served just under a year with us following the reassignment of the original Executive Director into the position of Director of Resources. The resource division was going strong enough that the board did not desire to add extra work to his job. The financial limitation to finding a new Executive Director was that the person is required to raise their funds for expenses and salary.
With those limitations facing a possible hire and the dire shape of the current finances, a recommendation was made to find a local sports and recreation minister or a faculty member that is already receiving a salary. This person could fill the position during an interim period and work as a volunteer until the board could determine a direction for the future.
Hello, my name is David Waddell. I’m the new Interim Executive Director of CSRM.
The others on the board may not agree with this, but I knew we needed someone gullible enough to take on the position. Calvin Coolidge, in 1927 said, “I do not choose to run for president in 1928.” I wish I thought of that quote during the meeting. The board voted to name me as the chair of the board of trustees as well as the interim executive director for CSRM. The position is for one year unless the board chooses to nominate someone for the job during the next year.
I shared the news with my Department Chair to inform him the responsibilities would not interfere in my regular duties for Ole Miss. The university allows faculty to use time devoted to consultation and off-campus work like this. I was hoping he would tell me I couldn’t take the position, but instead he felt honored that the organization appointed me to the post.
A part of me feels like Esther, who realized her position as queen was designed by God to save the people of Judah. Recognizing she could die for seeking an audience with the king without his request, Esther went forth in confident faith that God may have chosen her, as her Uncle Mordecai stated was for “such a time as this.”
All of those previous experiences in my life, including the significant flaws and failures prepared me for “such a time as this.”
I look forward to working with the board, staff, and the hundreds of churches and ministries worldwide that use sports and recreation as a tool toward telling others about the love of Jesus. Despite my preparations in life for a position like this, I feel a great deal of anxiety as items such as fundraising is nowhere near my comfort level or giftedness. I covet your prayers as I am in great need of divine assistance in this situation.