For the love of people and the game

May 23rd, 2013 at 10:54 am

We love the thrill, the camaraderie, the competition, the drive to push ourselves to do more. And this all comes from sports! Whether we are athletes ourselves or just a super fan, sports play a huge role in our lives. Our weekends are usually filled with games, whether that’s for a team we or our kiddos play on or from watching the game of “our” collegiate or professional sports team. Our DVRs are scheduled to capture our favorite championship games and our cable packages are packed with sports networks.

And it’s not just an American thing. Though we Americans are pretty diehard about our football and basketball teams, the rest of the world are staunch fans of futbal (soccer to us Americans), rugby, cricket and even sports like ping pong (although, if you came up to the Texas Baptists communications department, you would find some pretty dedicated ping pong players!).

For decades, sports have been a staple in our society. Yet, we often overlook this area when we begin to think about sharing our faith in Christ. If sports have such a prominent role in our lives, wouldn’t this be a natural channel for building relationships where we could let the hope that we have in Christ intentional flow to others?

We often make sharing our faith in Jesus very mechanical when it doesn’t have to be. There definitely is a place for training in how to clearly and simply share the story of Christ and how others can join this journey. But I think often we lose sight of the heart of sharing our faith.

Jesus called us to first go out and have compassion and a heart for people in our Jerusalem… those in our natural realm of life. For us, that’s people in our neighborhoods, our communities, our jobs and our hobbies like watching professional sports with friends or playing in a recreational soccer league through the local YMCA. These are areas of our lives where we have natural connections and relationships. Shouldn’t we start caring for people here and then be willing to share why we care for people so much?

For me, if I take the time to stop and remember what Christ has done for me, then often my heart is overwhelmed where I desire others to have the same freedom and hope that has be poured on my life. Romans 5 says that before I came under Christ’s sacrifice, I was considered an enemy of God, extremely lost in my way. But now, I am found and reconciled and have been given hope for the crazy life that exists now but also forever. And that’s worth sharing. That’s worth loving people so well that they are willing to listen to what I have to say about the life I have found in Christ.

During the next few weeks, we are going to take a look at a few individuals and churches that are using natural connections and the love of sports as avenues for Christian hospitality and the love of Christ to flow forward to touch the hearts of fans and athletes. You won’t want to miss these great stories about how something as simple as handing out water bottles at the soccer field is allowing the gospel to be proclaimed in our Texas cities and sports complexes.

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