2007 Summer Football Camp

“I love the principles that you are teaching the children in addition to just football skills. My son comes home every night repeating exactly what the coaches are teaching.”
–Football Camp, Unchurched Dad

Week in Review:
Wednesday – Rain kept us inside at the local community college gymnasium, but we made the most of the first day and did more instruction and agility work than a normal camp day. Parents appreciated the fact that we had created a weather hotline that we gave the parents the number to call and we updated it each morning at 6am with the camp location based upon the weather. Fortunately, Wednesday would be our only day inside.

Thursday – Dallas Cowboy greats, Darren Woodson and Roy Williams, made a special guest appearance to talk to the campers about football and character. Each athlete shared his testimony and commitment to living out his faith even though so many NFL players choose not to do so. The kids asked some great questions. My favorite being: When did you start playing football? Roy Williams answered that he was 5 years old and found a life preserver and used it as shoulder pads and begin to tackle everything in his path, including furniture and family.

Friday – My favorite day because we had an opportunity to speak to the group about what it means to be a Christian Athlete. We presented the Good News that God loves them so much that he sent His only Son to die on the cross so that they may be forgiven if they believe in Jesus Christ. Eleven boys, ages 8-13, responded to the message and trusted Christ for their salvation. Praise the Lord!

Saturday – All of the parents were invited to watch their child compete and scrimmage on this final day. We had volunteers from our church ready to hand our frozen lemonade to the families and provide for them a warm welcome. Over half of these families are not from our church. What a tremendous opportunity we have had to impact our commmunity for Christ, through sports. We were blessed with good weather despite uncertain forecasts. We were blessed to have access to the nicest fields in town. And finally, we were blessed with a coaching staff, camp director, and camp volunteers that love the Lord, love the game of football, and loved having the opportunity to encourage and teach the children how to build skills and build character!


SportPastor’s Top 10 Books on Leadership

I was at Barnes and Noble the other day and I picked up two different books on Christian leadership. Each book was about a successful mega-church. Each book was written by a visionary leader that followed God’s prompting to do church in a way that was attractive to the lost and relevant to the unchurched. The difference between the two books was I owned one and I did not own the other one. So I added it to my stack of 10 magazines and headed to the check out counter.

Yes. Yesterday I listed the top 10 magazines that I am currently reading. Well, wouldn’t you know it that the top 10 leadership books on my desk were extremely jealous that they did not get to make an appearance on the SportsPastor blog. So here are the top 10 books on leadership that I am currently reading or rereading. Some are written by and for pastors and others are written by and for leaders in a variety of fields. Enjoy!

10. Hand Me Another Brick
Timeless Lessons on Leadership
How Effective Leaders Motivate Themselves and Others
Charles R. Swindoll

09. Practicing Greatness
7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders
Reggie McNeal

08. Being Leaders
The Nature of Authentic Christian Leadership
Aubrey Malphurs

07. The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader
Becoming the Person that People Want to Follow
John Maxwell

06. Good to Great
Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Other Don’t
Jim Collins

05. Leadership by the Book
Tools to Transform Your Workplace
Ken Blanchard, Bill Hybels, and Phil Hodges

04. The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make
Hans Finzel

03. The Creative Leader
Unleashing the Power of Your Creative Potential
Ed Young

02. Next Generation Leader
5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future
Andy Stanley

01. Spiritual Leadership
Principles of Excellence for Every Believer
J. Oswald Sanders

SportsPastor’s Top 10 Magazines

When I walk into Barnes and Noble, the manager smiles becuase he knows that I will ring up a hefty bill of the latest and greatest magazines. When we are 30 minutes early for a flight, it is yet another opportunity to ring up a hefty bill of the latest and greatest magazines for reading on the airplane. Yes, I love magazines. As a result, my desk is covered with my favorite leadeship books and now 10 different magazines on topics such as leadership, business, technology, sports, and golf (golf is listed seperately because it is no longer a sport to me – you should see me hack…er…play). From the home office in Sioux City, Iowa, here are the top 10 magazines currently on my desk (also featured in left sidebar):

10. Athlon Sports College Football Preview
(Can we give Arkansas’s McFaddin the Heisman trophy yet?)
09. Athlon Sports Pro Football Preview
(Sunday night has better games but not MNF’s Tony Kornheiser)
08. Fantasy Football Magazine
(With the 16th overall pick the Tailgate Tigers select T.J. WhosYourMama)
07. Golf Digest
(Last summer I shot around 85, but this summer I quit before shooting 88)
06. Business 2.0
(If you love the story behind the technology giants, this magazine is for you)
05. Entrepreneur
(As a designer of sports ministries this magazine provides me with start-up insights)
04. ESPN the Magazine
(ESPN has the sports world covered, but the fleece pullover is not needed in Texas)
03. Sports Illustrated
(I would subscribe to this magazine just to read Rick Reilly’s articles on the back page)
02. Mac Life
(Mac Addict finally made it’s way to the States under it’s new name, Mac Life)
01. Mac World
(I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC that exploded and caused the sportspastor to switch to Mac)

Clicks or Cliques?

Cliques begin at a young age. It seems like they really begin taking shape as young people begin to specialize their interests, usually in middle school. Some choose choir and drama, others academics, others band, others sports, and some choose a combination of some of the above and some I failed to mention. I vividly remember the drop off process when people would gather and talk before the school day began. I remember the different groups of people who would stand in their various circles only validating the stereotypes that had already been created generations before. There were always a few people that stood on the outside of the conversation circles trying to be associated with crowd they deemed “cool”.

I say all of this to convict those that now do the same with charismatic church leaders and popular Christian bloggers. I hear stories of how Sam wanted to track down Tony at the latest church conference to meet him and invite him to breakfast. It is one thing to network, but it is another to be what I am now officially labeling a “blogger stalker”. I built the blogroll at SportsPastor based upon bloggers I like to read, not of people with which I hope to enter social circles. Remember that these people should serve as leadership resources and inspiration for you, but not be the object of your adoration. Visit their sites and give them clicks, but don’t desire to be in their cliques.

SportsPastor DNA – A Tribute to Dad
June 17, 2007, 8:38 pm
Filed under: Father's Day, ministry, sports ministry, sportspastor

To this day when I visit my hometown I am reminded where I got my love for sports. Dad and I will take a trip to the local YMCA and he will make 9 of 10 free throws and then smile and pass me the basketball. “90%”, he will say. After making 7 of 10 free throws, I will pass the ball back to the man that claims he has basketball in his blood because he was born in Indiana, the “Hoosier state”. And speaking of states, I learned all of the state capitals from my dad, like any good elementary student would, but I had the added benefit of knowing the name of every college team from those state capitals, as well. The teachers really didn’t understand when I would answer, “Austin, Texas…Longhorns!”

To this day when I visit my hometown I am reminded where I got my love for ministry. It did not matter the size of our church, Dad knew everybody. Even the visitors would be surprised to be recognized across the room by my dad, and I believe he is one of the many reasons my hometown church is known for it’s love for people. If I could only be half of the people-person that Dad is, I would be successful in ministry. You have to know people by name and care about what is going on in their life, and Dad does that naturally. In addition, every time I talk to the pastors and teachers from my hometown church, they tell me what an encourager my dad is to them. He has always been best of friends with the church staff, not for influence or politics, but simply because he cares.

It is no wonder that God has called me to design, start, and direct sports outreach ministries. In fact, I believe that is what he used my Dad to wire me to do. It is what I refer to as “SportsPastor DNA”. Thanks Dad! Happy Father’s Day!

Vacation Bible School 2007

Vacation Bible School was a blast! Over 1,000 young people and 350 volunteers gathered at our church for an exciting, fast-paced, and fun week. In recreation we followed the “Make a Splash” theme and played games with everything from water balloons and water balloon launchers to car wash sponges that were passed from child to child in a soaking wet relay. Many of the kids wanted to get drenched so they decided to squeeze the sponges on their head rather than trying to win the relay. That was cool with me. In fact, on Tuesday of the week I felt like a winning head football coach when all of my volunteers caught me not looking and dumped 12 buckets of water on my head. As you can imagine, it was loads of fun for everyone involved.

But the best part was the opportunity to share the Gospel with the young people. Thanks to our good friends at Evantell we were able to use Good News bracelets to make the gospel presentation as clear as possible. I had the privilege to share four times in a row with each rotation of around 200-250 per age group. Over 100 children heard and believed, trusting Christ for their salvation. We counseled those who made decisions with trained counselors to answer any questions the children may have had and to make sure they understood the significance of their decision.

It was a powerful week. All GLORY TO GOD! Pray for us as we follow-up with these young people and their families. If the family is unchurched, pray that this would be the catalyst to get them to reconsider their Sunday morning plans. We hope to also be a resource for them as their child begins his or her new life in Christ. Praise the Lord for the young people who trusted Christ and for those who will never be the same because of the experience of being used by God this week in a powerful way.

Summer Sports Ministry

Summer is officially here for the Sports Outreach Ministry at our church! Starting bright and early tomorrow morning our team leads the recreation for Vacation Bible School. The theme is “Make a Splash”, so you know that the recreation games will include water. It will be fun!

At the end of the month we will have our Summer Football Camp. In July we will offer two more sports outreach summer camps. One will be our Summer Basketball Camp and the other our Baseball/Softball Summer Camp.

Please pray for us as we will have the opportunity to share the Gospel with more than 1500 young people this summer. We will have around 75 volunteers for the summer sports camps and 350 for VBS, both youth and adults. Pray that God makes this the best summer ever!