Prestonwood Sports Organization

by Jamie Wilder

In my experience, for a parent to wake, feed, dress and get the kids excited to arrive at church by 8:00 a.m. is an act that only the Holy Spirit can make happen. (You may just get an “Amen!” from your neighbor’s front porch if you’re reading this aloud.) However, in my time as Associate Director of Prestonwood Sports Organization, I have quickly seen that while the 8:00 a.m. goal might be too tall a task for the masses on the church front, there is no task too small when it comes to sports.


Without fail, at our sports events, we see people arriving early to get more reps in. The “game day jitters” and excitement are palpable every time we step on a court or field. And it is always a sight to see. Our game days open the door for people to meet neighbors whose doors they never knocked on. We have seen referees, parents and student players come to know Jesus Christ as the Lord of their lives and Savior of their eternal life. 

A few important lessons I have learned since I was asked to launch a new sports program at Prestonwood:

1. Build relationships. Simple, but it cannot be overemphasized. People make things happen. Relationships change lives. You cannot do this on your own, and you need to find trusted people who are as excited about the Great Commission as they are about sports.

2. You are not the face of your league. I tell our coaches at every coaches’ meeting that they are the face of the league. Now why can I say that? Because parents entrust me for logistics and scheduling and operations, but they trust that coach with their child’s safety and well-being. Make it clear that they represent your league (and your ministry) just as much, if not more, than you do. They aren’t spectators, but they are ambassadors of something much bigger than your traditional recreational league.

3. Stand firm in your identity. Major in the majors. You are a ministry first and a sports league second. That may be unattractive to some, but when we met with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees to partner with us, we made this clear. Another word I give to my coaches is that if our league is just like every other league in town, then I’ll give you my boss’s number, and you should ask for me to be fired. Of course we want to be the best run, most fun league around, but if we forsake the Good News, then that is a tradeoff that depreciates over time in kingdom economics.

4. We meet people where they want to be with the news they need to hear. 

You have no idea what that little boy or girl is going through when they walk on the field or court. And the same goes for every parent and official, too. Sports is a refuge for many, but the beautiful part about marrying sports with the Gospel is that we get to share and show that there is a better refuge – One that is as firm as a mountain and whose foundation will not be shaken by a bad call, a dropped pass, or being outplayed.

Sports is a great hobby (and profession!), but it makes a horrible god. Being able to meet people where they love to be and having the honor of sharing the One who loves them most is a joy and an incredible responsibility.

My final word to you comes from the first verse in the 127th Psalm:

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.

 

May the Lord bless you and your ministry, and may many come to know Jesus as Christ for the first time – or better – through their time spent with you.

Jamie Wilder is the Director of Sports Outreach – Football at Prestonwood Baptist Church.

Comments

  1. Great article! Wise words.

Leave a Comment

*