I have been partnering with Upward Sports for 12 years total, 9 of which have been at First Baptist Church in Mineral Wells, TX. I have a “love/hate” relationship with the program. I love the purpose, the support staff and the sports and life skills it teaches young athletes. However, I hate struggling to find volunteers and the time it takes to run the league with limited volunteers. At the end of the season, I am so exhausted!
Although we reached our highest number in participation last year, it was the most difficult year for me. So in July, I told the Children’s Committee that I felt we should consider ending the program, because we could not continue to run the ministry effectively for Christ. The committee agreed to pray with me about the decision, but two friends from our church talked with me and said, “Let’s go to the Upward Sports Conference, then make our decision.” I needed a fresh vision and uplifting encouragement from God in order to continue with Upward Sports. Well, I was about to get just what I needed!
At the conference, Upward Sports challenged us with being “All In.” What were we willing to do to lead others to Christ? Through this message, God began to speak to my heart and remind me that this was HIS ministry. It was valuable, and it should continue. At a break, I turned to my friends and said, “I know this might sound crazy, but I think God is wanting us to…” They were open to what I said and decided to pray about it.
Then, the break was over and a video played on the large screen. It was about an Upward Sports church partner from Alabama who shared the same testimony as mine, and surprisingly, her “All In” challenge was exactly what I had just shared with my friends! They stared at me as tears fell from my face.
We brought this vision back to our church leadership, and they were all in agreement. So for our 10th Anniversary Celebration, we are offering our league to each participant for free! Our church knows this will be challenging. Volunteers will be stretched, and it will be a lot of work. But it will be so big, that it can only be accomplished with God as our guide. I am thrilled to say that First Baptist Church Mineral Wells is accepting His vision for our season and we are ALL IN!