Good Contents Are Everywhere, But Here, We Deliver The Best of The Best.Please Hold on!
CEDE Sports, Ministry Development

We frequently tell those in and outside of the sports ministry world the following: The job of a sports minister is the most logistically demanding job in the church. It makes sense right? In order to do the “ministry” you need to do the “sports”…and sports take time. It is just a reality of the job. It’s a reality though that can become dangerous. Gordon MacDonald says this: 

“I am of the opinion that busyness is a deeper threat to the soul than pornography ever was.”

 deeper threat to the soul than pornography ever was.”

In light of this, I wanted to offer everyone here some thoughts and resources so that you may struggle well with your busyness. First, some practical advice:

“Prune” to get more work done

In a vineyard, the vine keeper knows that if a vine is not regularly pruned, new fruit will eventually begin to steal resources from the older, more mature, fruit-bearing parts of the vine. Over time, the unpruned vine will eventually succumb to systemic mediocrity because it simply can’t support that much fruit. There aren’t the resources available. The good fruit suffers in order to support the less mature fruit.

In the same way, it’s critical that we (both individuals and companies) get really good at “pruning” – learning to say “no” to opportunities and projects – that don’t align with the important work that we’re doing. This means passing on opportunities – even really good ones – in order to preserve the energy needed to bring our best effort to the work that we know we need to excel at.

Sit down once a month with your calendar and your projects list, and look for things that might be good ideas, but need to be pruned in order to give you more capacity to do your crucial work. This doesn’t mean that you’re saying no to them forever, it just means that you’re recognizing that you don’t have the bandwidth to do everything all the time. It’s not failure, it’s the first step toward success.

Here’s some more advice on your schedule from Bill Hybels

Bill, faced with more challenges than he could manage, began to search for a way to shorten his list of “priorities.” At the same time, he decided to shorten his time horizon. Rather than saying, “What should I focus on for the next year?” He said, “What should I focus on for the next 6 weeks?” As he admitted, he somewhat randomly chose the number 6. Nothing magic about it, he said it just felt manageable. So, as he described it, an experiment was taking shape.

Bill made a list of all the things he could focus on and decided to rank order the list. He used the following question:

What are the top six contributions I could make in the next six weeks?


Top 10 Mistakes Sports Ministers Make

For 20 years plus CEDE Sports has been committed to come alongside Local Churches to catalyze a vigorous and effective pursuit of their mission to reach their communities through the tool of sports, recreation and fitness. One of the ways we accomplish this mission is mentoring Sports Ministers.

In the process of mentoring, we often discuss best practices from other churches as well as the corollary mistakes that well meaning Sports Ministers make. This discussion also usually includes surveying them about their mistakes in ministry.

The response has been tremendous; evidently this question touched a nerve. This blog is our third installment in the series Top 10 Mistakes Sports Ministers Make. (Please sure to read the first two installments here and here.)

Mistake #4
Evaluating success in numbers or in comparison to the ministry down the street.

Mark Twain once wrote, “Comparison is the death of joy.”

Chuck Swindoll said, “When the Lord makes it clear you’re to follow Him in this new direction, focus fully on Him and refuse to be distracted by comparisons with others.”

Ken Cross says, “Either comparison will puff up or tear you down, but it will never bring contentment.”

Mistake #3
Not developing infrastructure prior to pursuing growth, especially how you pursue the development of coaches and volunteers.

We tend to be so eager to start a league we neglect the hard work of strategic preparation. This could have been the #1 mistake, we see it so often.

My Mom worked many years in a large bank. She would always advocate for the tellers to have adequate training and even a stipend for their clothes because they are the face of the bank!

Those that God brings into your sphere of influence deserve to hear and see the gospel lived out using the tool of sports. Who is the face of the sports ministry? It is too late to develop them after the games begin. If this has happened to you, what will you do for the next season?

Mistake #2
Winning begins to eclipse everything. Sport becomes too big and ministry too small.

This mistake is especially true when your coaches are not developed by the Sports Minister. They simply play sports as they always have, WIN. They are not applying the gospel to what they are doing.

Mistake #1
Those in the sports ministry leadership do not know why you have a sports ministry. Neglecting clear communication of this mission/vision to the coaches, players and the church.

Have you seriously asked yourself the questions concerning your mission and how you are going to move toward it? Have you written it down in a clear way and communicated it with others in a way that they know what that mission is? If you are unsure, ask your most faithful volunteer to tell you what they have heard and see if it matches the vision God has given you.

Like the ESPN Top Ten Plays of the Day, you might not agree with the order in which these have been laid out. Curiously, I am interested in what you think the top three mistakes would be for you. Have we missed some? Email [email protected] and send me a list of your top three and I will report the results in a future blog.


Top 10 Mistakes Sports Ministers Make

For 20 years plus CEDE Sports has been committed to come alongside Local Churches to catalyze a vigorous and effective pursuit of their mission to reach their communities through the tool of sports, recreation and fitness. One of the ways we accomplish this mission is mentoring Sports Ministers.

In the process of mentoring, we often discuss best practices from other churches as well as the corollary mistakes that well meaning Sports Ministers make. This discussion also usually includes surveying them about their mistakes in ministry.

The response has been tremendous; evidently this question touched a nerve. This blog is our second installment in the series Top 10 Mistakes Sports Ministers Make (Please sure to read the first installment by clicking here).

Mistake #8
Forget about creating a leadership team, it is far too difficult. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

No doubt you have heard the saying, “If you want to go fast – go alone, if you want to go far – go with others”. That applies to Sports Ministry too. Have you thought of what will happen when you are no longer on the scene and you have not equipped anyone to carry on with this vital ministry?

Mistake #7
Being so busy that you are not utilizing the relationships that are built naturally through sports for true discipleship off the field/court.

I read a book one time by Bill Hull about the discipleship making pastor. He bluntly says if the church is not making disciples, the leadership of the church is in sin! The sin is not obeying the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20).

Mistake #6
Not communicating to the larger church body and staff how God is using the ministry and being surprised when they do not value it!

As a former large church pastor, former staff member, church planter, youth pastor, deacon and janitor – I got the most praise for being a church janitor because people noticed the clean floors, toilets etc. The story of sports ministry (usually the best evangelistic tool in the church if done well) must be told, especially to the entire staff. The Senior Pastor needs the stories of what God does to highlight God’s work! The Children’s Minister needs to know and notice that many unbelieving children are on the campus of the church other days besides Sunday. The value of relational ministry and the discipleship that happens must be communicated over and over. This requires that more than just you are noticing what God is doing!


Mistake #5
Using the same volunteers each season and burning them out. Then guilting/manipulating them into keep going, until they are bitter and angry and have to quit or leave the church to get a rest.  

This one need no comments except AMEN and from some of us we need to respond with “Oh Me!”

Can you guess the top four mistakes? Keep a look out for the last blog in this series.


Top 10 Mistakes Sports Ministers Make

For 20 plus years CEDE Sports has been committed to coming alongside Local Churches to catalyze a vigorous and effective pursuit of their mission to use the tool of sports to reach their communities. One of the ways we accomplish this is by mentoring Sports Ministers.

In the process of mentoring, we often discuss best practices from other churches as well as the corollary mistakes that well meaning Sports Ministers make.  This discussion also usually includes surveying them about their mistakes in ministry.

The response has been tremendous; evidently this question touched a nerve.  In the following blogs, I will outline the Top Ten Mistakes we have found, arranged in ascending order from 11 to 1. I know the title of this series of blogs is “Top Ten,” but #11 was so good I had to include it! Plus I am following a Biblical pattern! In the Bible there are a number of places where God says, “six things I hate, seven are an abomination….”

Mistake #11 Avoiding conflicts and difficult people, because deep down you think they might disappear if you ignore them, rather than apply the Gospel to the situation and lovingly confront, giving the individual an opportunity to repent and grow.

This mistake includes with it the fear of looking into the mirror and confronting what might be something that you need to repent and grow from as well!

Mistake #10 Not enough prayer before rolling out the program, during the leagues, or after.

Can we all agree with this one? How easy it is to simply do what we think is best, and not ask God or seek His favor.

Mistake #9 Ministries getting too comfortable with regular attendees and not aggressively seeking to reach the unreached.

“We have our number, church should be happy … but are we keeping the vision for the ministry in front of us?”   We did not start this sports ministry to reach a limited number of lost people. (Also see mistake #10 again!)

The next Blog will cover Mistakes #8 – #5. Hope this has been helpful!


We are very excited about the future God has for us at CEDE Partners.

In the light of that excitement, we have designed a new website.  We have even changed our name to reflect more who we are and where we are going.

With all these changes, some very core components of what we do will stay the same.

We will continue to offer worthwhile content via our blog.

Since 2009, we averaged 3-5 blogs per week (previously in the CSO Blog) generating a total of 1194 posts in that time.  To be honest, when we started, we didn’t know how our “voice” would be received, but we stepped out in faith and started “speaking” through this blog.  The response has been tremendous.  We now average about 60,000 visitors a year a from over 160 countries, having started with 5,000 visitors per year from less than 30 countries.

This response, along with the urging of God, encourages us to press on.  Our goal is still to have 3 posts per week.  We plan to bring those posts along the following subjects:

1) Gospel Centricity – including discussions on

– What is the Gospel?
– What is Gospel Centered Living?  Gospel Centered Ministry?  Gospel Centered Leadership?

2) Evangelism/Discipleship – including

– The relationship between the two
– The scriptural foundation for both
– Proven methods and practices for both

3) Ministry Development – including

– Coach Recruiting and Development
– Volunteer Recruiting and Development
– Staff Development
– Parent and Player Development

4) Current Trends – particularly in the areas of Technology and Resources

5) Competition/Sports – including discussions about

– Broken sports
– Redeemed sports
– Performance sports – vision and information to help churches deal with travel and competitive sports

6) Fitness – general info but also specifics on how to bring gospel centricity to this area of growing interest in our society

7) Stories – from Local Churches, Leaders, and Ministries

8) Local Church – analysis and trends that impact the sports, rec and fitness ministry movement

9) CEDE Sports – who we are, what we do

10) Personal Growth – spiritually, as a leader, mentally, etc.

We are looking for guest authors and suggestions for posts.  If you have any suggestions for either, please email them to [email protected]

We will also continue to offer strategic resources.

God has impressed on us the importance of “holding fast to the Gospel” (1 Corinthians 15:1,2) and a vision of Gospel Centricity as it applies to life and ministry.  He has given us tools to share that vision with the sports, rec, and fitness ministry movement.  He has blessed these tools as He uses them in the development of effective, multiplying Gospel Centered Sports Ministries.  We continue to pray for further tools to help the movement and will add those to these resources as they become available.

With our new website, we are taking the availability of these tools to another level.  In the RESOURCES section for Churches – all resources from CEDE Partners are FREE for Church Directory Members.  (To join the free Directory, click here.)  We will work to the develop further resources to benefit the movement and offer them from this heart of CEDE Sports (Cede means to yield or submit.)

We are also offering churches and partner Sports Ministries to put their materials in these RESOURCES so that sports, rec, and fitness ministers can find the resources they are looking for in one place.  We do this in the hope of connecting more and more churches to the resources that will fuel their participation in this movement.

If you have some materials you would like to make available in these resources, please email them to [email protected]

The BLOG and these RESOURCES – two key components of what we will continue to do in the future.  To connect with them:

      Sign up for the BLOG and it will be delivered to your inbox.

      Sign up for the DIRECTORY and you will have access to every RESOURCE listed.

If you have already connected with these, please know we pray for you.  If you haven’t connected yet, we hope you will do so.  Our ongoing prayer is for God to be glorified through the expansion of the movement of sports, rec, and fitness ministries in local churches.  


We are excited to start this new chapter in our ministry to churches.

Since 1996, our ministry mission has been to mobilize churches and chaplains through sports. During that time, the initiative of our ministry to Churches – most recently referred to as Church Sports Outreach (CSO) – has worked with Local Churches both in the USA and around the world. Our desire has always been to help catalyze a vigorous and effective pursuit of those Local Churches’ unique efforts to utilize the tools of sports, rec, and fitness.

This initiative to Churches is now called CEDE Partners – an arm of CEDE Sports. Cede means to relinquish power or control. We changed our name:

  • To more fully reflect our hearts desire to be used as catalyst to serve, coordinate, and assist Churches and Chaplains around the world.
  • To more closely link our two areas of ministry under one name – CEDE Sports, CEDE Partners, and CEDE Network (the name of our initiative to Chaplains)
  • To better communicate our collaborative strategy to accomplish our united mission

Our name isn’t the only thing that is changing.

We are excited to announce the opening of the CEDE Partners Church Directory. This Directory is a tool that can be used by any church in the world that is involved in sports, rec, and fitness ministry. It is FREE and will provide an opportunity for sports, rec, and fitness ministers to

  • Connect with other sports, rec, and fitness ministers for support, encouragement, and ideas
  • Access resources from CEDE Partners, other churches, and partner ministries who share this vision of mobilizing local churches

Right now we are just beginning the process of encouraging churches to join the Directory, with close to 100 churches now Directory members. It is our desire that hundreds and eventually thousands of churches join this Directory, providing needed support to the multitude of sports, rec, and fitness ministers in the USA and around the world.

With that in mind, I want to encourage you to join this Church Directory and start experiencing these benefits. It is FREE and as simple as filling out a brief registration form, which asks you for information that other churches would want to know about you and your sports, rec, or fitness ministry. To fill out that form, just click

As a Directory member, you will then be able to take advantage of the resources assembled.  We are just starting to build this library of materials that we hope becomes
the place for sports, rec, and fitness ministers to find what they need to build the kingdom of God in their context.

Finally, look around the
CEDE Sports website and the tab titled Chaplains. There you can learn more about how us and how CEDE Network works to mobilize Chaplains around the world.

As we launch these new efforts, we look forward to your involvement and welcome your input on how we can better serve you in your ministry.




I believe that propositional statement to be true.  You may believe it or not.  If you do, you can without that belief really connecting with you.

However, if I said “I had a motorcycle wreck on June 22, 2013. I was riding with two of my friends about 20 minutes from my house when I rounded a curve. It was an unfamiliar road and I didn’t quite make the curve, ending up on the shoulder. I thought I would just ride it out and just ease back on to the road. However, something caught my front wheel, flipped the bike, and sent me about 30 feet into the air, with me doing a somersault in the process. I landed on my left side in between the road and a metal fence.  In the process of flying off my bike, I broke my left ankle and right thumb. On the fall, I banged my left elbow, taking eleven stitches to heal up. I went back to the accident scene two weeks later and saw the fence and the road – each about 3-5 feet from where I ended up in this sort of ditch. As I looked at that grass “cradle” where I landed, I started to weep. I got a real glimpse of how close I came to hitting either the fence of the road – neither of which would have been good. I wept over what could have been and out of gratitude for God’s protection.”

Then you would understand why my belief connects with that truth that motorcycles are dangerous. My story connects me to it. If you cared about me, that story would connect you with it as well.

The power of story to connect is important to remember as we think about the Gospel.

As I have asked people over the years, “What is the Gospel?” I usually get a propositional statement or two like:

–       Jesus died for my sins.

–       Jesus died for my sins so I could go to heaven.

–       Jesus died for my sins so I could be in relationship with him now and then be with him forever.

All these statements are propositions. I believe they are true. But, when it comes to describing the Gospel, they are incomplete. They don’t tell the story.

In not telling the story, these statements don’t connect with us in a way that The Story of the Gospel can.

So let me ask you a couple of questions about the Gospel:

–       What do you tell people when you tell them the Gospel?

–       What do you train others to tell people when you train them to “share the Gospel”?

–       Does what you tell them describe the great Story of the Gospel that God has been telling since CREATION, through the FALL, and REDEMPTION, and ultimately ends up in the CONSUMMATION?

You may be telling people the truth, equipping others to tell them the truth, but you may not be telling them or equipping them to tell others the whole Gospel. The result – you may be telling them the truth, but you may not really be connecting with their hearts as you remove those truths from the STORY of the GOSPEL.

If you would like some resources to help you both understand and share the Story of the Gospel with others, check out the following:

–       The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler

–       The Story (Tract)

–       The Gospel Project

Remember – “If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away when needed.  Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.” Barry Lopez

How different would our evangelism be if we thought this way? God has given us the Story of the Gospel. We need to care for it and learn to give it away when needed because there are those in our spheres of contact who need the Story of the Gospel more than food to stay alive.


Looking for Sports Outreach Group? We are now Cede Sports