It was a cool winter’s morning. The gym had been set for Upward Basketball and Cheerleading. The floors had been swept, the concession stands stocked and the empty seats awaited cheering families, friends and fans. The miracle that would occur that Saturday would all be worth it.
Duncanville’s First Baptist Church (DFBC) has been serving the Duncanville community and surrounding areas for about eight years through Upward Sports®. Each year the church gears up to serve the community through Upward® basketball, cheerleading and soccer. The church serves about 300 children and their families each year. The Upward Sports® ministry provides an opportunity for church members to serve and share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
On this particular morning, Jan Kreider shared a devotional entitled “The God of Another Chance.” On her way out to her car, she was stopped by a young woman who asked her about this God of another chance. Jan shared the gospel with her and the woman prayed to receive Christ.
The Upward Sports® ministry has allowed DFBC to meet families where they are. The Lord has provided several opportunities to build relationships with these families and the community. It has even opened doors for the church to have an active presence in the elementary schools surrounding the church. Twice a year, DFBC look forward to partnering with secretaries, front desk clerks and principals to serve the children of Duncanville.
Upward Sports has proved to be a great outreach effort. As the church prepares to move forward in its vision to serve well, God is opening doors to do ministry. With the intense focus to have the church look like the City of Duncanville demographically, DFBC is striving to put programs in place to meet the needs of the Duncanville community. As of 2010, Duncanville was demographically spilt 33 percent across the board for Anglos, Hispanics and African Americans who live and work in the City of Duncanville. The harvest is plentiful, and DFBC wants to make sure that they are doing their part.
Currently, the church is in the process of launching an effort to minister to the parents of Upward® participants by providing marriage outreach and community coffee events. These events are designed to discuss topics that may not make it to the pulpit on any given Sunday. As a result of the sports ministry, the DFBC children’s ministry also has launched a character building program to help teach and train children to be productive citizens in society now; rather than later.
Paul, in his letter to the church at Colossae, would share these words, “…pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ…” (Colossians 4:3). God has opened a door for DFBC through Upward Sports®, and if one person comes to Christ through the outreach efforts of children’s basketball or cheerleading, then that’s always a slam dunk for the Savior.
By Will Lane, associate minister of education and outreach at Duncanville’s First Baptist Church.