TODD BUCK // MILLINGTON FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
Todd Buck is the Sports Minister at First Baptist Church, Millington, TN. The church has both adult and youth leagues in a number of sports. As a strategic thinker, Todd has appreciated his involvement with the CEDE Staff. In his own words he tells this story of the beginning of his ministry.
“I remember one of my first weeks here, the youth baseball season had already begun and I was jumping on a moving train. Fortunately there was a small staff and a group of church members who kept the season going. As I was talking with a few of them near a girls softball game, a parent approached me from another field where our 15 and under boys baseball was playing. They were upset. A parent was arguing with an umpire, as well as saying some negative things to players on the field. I figured I would just have a brief conversation and let them cool down a bit, but I soon learned that the parent was one of the coaches and she was cursing at the umpire and her own team! To add to the difficulty, the senior pastor’s son was playing on this team and his lovely wife was in attendance! This was when I first realized the importance of leading a team of Christ-followers to accomplish a kingdom mission, and not just having anyone fill a need as a coach. Additionally, I recognized the public witness that was being displayed by our church through our league and our coaches. And in this case, it was not a good one. I had to set the tone for what I expected and escorted the coach off the premises. A few months later, a soccer referee stood over a parent on the sideline and cursed at him. Again, I escorted him off the premises and found a fill-in referee for the second half.
Why do you mention this story, Todd?
This story serves two purposes. First, leadership requires holding tight to our beliefs in God and the power of Jesus in our lives. The feedback I received from those decisions was extremely positive. Second, those situations can largely be avoided with proper planning.
How has CEDE helped you to do this?
They have helped our ministry shift our focus from playing sports in order to connect people to playing sports for the love of Jesus. One of the ways this has already happened is through a coach’s development class we called ‘The Ideal Coach.’ This six-week course brought some of our coaches together to examine why we have a sports ministry and how they are to be used by God through the bridge of sports. CEDE has resources and tools that allowed us to examine our ministry at its core. The feedback was amazing. One coach told me that we needed to require all future coaches to do similar training before coaching in our leagues. Another told me he felt like we put tools in his tool belt with which he could communicate the gospel effectively with his players and parents. Yet another told me he had never thought of sports this way and wondered why hadn’t been doing this already. For a sports minister, this was the bee’s knees. (Sounds older than he is, right?) To see Christians realize that they can really play a part in the mission of our church is extremely encouraging. CEDE has been vital to our Recreation Ministry here at Millington First Baptist Church.”
Has the CEDE staff affected you?
Immediately the impact was seen in my own life as a Minister. CEDE gave me encouragement to know that sports really can be used for the glory of God. The staff at CEDE has a wealth of knowledge that they are passing down to me, and each time we meet I leave with a renewed passion for this ministry. My pastor and other staff members have seen and are excited about the growth that is occurring with the help of CEDE in this ministry.
Todd can be contacted at email@example.com if you have questions or just want to encourage him!