Remembering the "Why" Behind Your Sports Ministry

A Webinar with Eddie Becker, Kyle Oakley, Noah Ford, & Tracy Stults

In a recent webinar hosted by Upward Sports, league directors from across the country shared their insights and experiences on the importance of remembering the “why” behind their sports ministry. The panelists – Tracy Stults, Kyle Oakley, and Noah Ford – provided valuable perspectives on how sports ministry has impacted their communities and strengthened their relationship with Christ.

The Power of Sports Ministry in Reaching Communities

Sports as a Language to Connect with Kids

Noah Ford, a children’s pastor from Pennsylvania, highlighted how sports ministry serves as a gateway to reaching kids in his city. He stated, “The language of reaching kids is basketball in our city.” By offering basketball, Noah’s church could connect with children and families, planting seeds of faith through their sports ministry.

Filling a Community Need

Kyle Oakley, a league director from North Carolina, shared how his church’s sports ministry filled a gap in their community. With the decline of a local youth sports organization, there was a need for sports programs. Kyle’s church stepped in to provide basketball, soccer, and other sports, not just as activities but as vehicles to share the gospel with their community.

The Impact of Sports Ministry on Participants

Creating a Safe and Encouraging Environment

Tracy Stults, a children’s pastor from Ohio, emphasized the importance of creating a safe and encouraging environment through sports ministry. She shared a story about a seventh-grader who felt valued and poured into during his time in Upward Sports, contrasting it with the win-or-lose mentality of other sports programs.

Planting Seeds of Legacy

Noah Ford echoed this sentiment, recounting how a parent shared a four-page letter detailing her son’s growth in faith and excitement for sports due to the church’s sports ministry. He emphasized that sports ministry plants seeds of legacy, as participants go on to impact the kingdom in various ways.

Strengthening Relationships with Christ

Being the Hands and Feet of Jesus

The panelists consistently expressed how being a lead director in sports ministry has strengthened their relationship with Christ. Tracy Stoltz shared that sports ministry allows her to be the hands and feet of God, creating an environment where kids feel valued and have opportunities to come to know Christ.

Witnessing Scripture Come to Life

Noah Ford echoed this sentiment, saying that he gets to witness Scripture come to life through sports ministry. He cited instances of kids taking ownership of their faith, accepting Jesus during awards nights, and experiencing spiritual growth – all because of the church’s sports ministry.

Tips for Promoting and Sustaining Sports Ministry

Recruiting Volunteers

The panelists shared valuable tips for promoting and sustaining sports ministry. Kyle Oakley emphasized the importance of senior leadership support and setting expectations upfront for volunteers. He also highlighted the “Pray for a Player” initiative, where church members adopt a player and their family, praying for them throughout the season.

Advertising Effectively

Noah Ford shared how partnering with local schools and distributing flyers significantly boosted registrations for their league. Tracy Stults suggested utilizing social media advertising and Facebook marketing to reach a wider audience effectively.

Overall, the webinar highlighted the profound impact of sports ministry in reaching communities, creating safe environments for personal growth, and strengthening relationships with Christ. By remembering the “why” behind their efforts, league directors can continue to make a lasting difference in the lives of participants and their families.

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