Several years ago, Ryan Borowicz, then the Director of Sports Outreach at Appleton Alliance Church in Appleton, WI, sent me this story from one of the parents involved in the ministry:
“I just wanted to shout out a praise not only to our God, but to all the staff and volunteers who were helping with the Youth All Sport Camp tonight. While I am pretty involved in volunteering in Discovery Land (Appleton’s Children’s Ministry) and women’s retreat, sports is an area I feel ill equipped to serve, so I sat on the sidelines soaking it all in. The excitement and awe with how well organized it was being run was awesome to have my 8 year old daughter be a part of and I was feeling pretty blessed to be a part of AAC.
So, I was feeling guilty as I sat there, just watching and not volunteering, as I don’t normally get some down time like that. However, God allowed me the opportunity to sit next to a couple who’s 8 year old son was attending for the first time anything at AAC.
Conversation started like this, “Do you attend church here?” No, they did not, but had attended a church service there two weeks ago. They actually attend the Lutheran church just a few houses down fom my house. They had so many questions about how Discovery Land works, I was able to explain AWANA to them, my experiences serving throughout church and that I was actually in the classroom with a friend of their ‘s son, and conversation just awed them, seeds were planted, and God was completely at work. None of which I could have answered had I not been involved in Discovery Land. They were amazed at the enthusiasm that goes into the classroom and beyond, the wordless book, the sights, sounds, liveliness that goes into any given Sunday towards these kids and as evident to them, into kids on the soccer field. Their son is not one for organized sports, but when it was over, he came running all smiles ear to ear. By the end of the conversation, they were considering signing their son up for T and T.
So my guilty feelings of not helping out on the scene with the kids were completely replaced with the awesome opportunity of outreach that can be done with the parents while sitting on the sidelines. A side of the sports ministry I had not thought about occurring in that manner.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the sports ministry in a way that was more of a natural setting for me.”
This story reminds me of the many different and important roles in sports ministry – including the ministry of the sidelines.
If you would like to hear more about how you might get involved or even mobilize your church to this kind of ministry contact us at CEDE Sports.