Share the Gospel Using Sports Illustrations

Stonebriar Community Church’s Baseball/Softball Camp was this week and I knew today was the day that the gospel would be presented. I could not wait for the Sports Outreach Director to give me a call. I was the first person he called to tell me all about the exciting events of the day.

First of all, he began the camp day focused on explaining to the campers the concept of sacrifice. As a captivating illustration he told the story of the college softball player who hit a home run recently and tore her ACL while running the bases. The only way for her to get credit for the first home run of her career was for the players on the other team to sacrifice what ended up being their postseason hopes to help the other team score runs by carrying the injured player around the bases lowering her just enough to touch the base until they all reached home.

As Coach C was telling the story two coaches carried a college student around the bases allowing him to touch each base for what was a creative and amazing way to communicate sacrifice. Coach C knew that he would later in the day refer back to that illustration when he spoke of the gospel, the ultimate sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

When it was time to communicate the gospel to the campers, Coach C continued Continue reading


Ed Young and a Sports Themed Sermon
June 3, 2007, 6:03 pm
Filed under: church, Ed Young, Fellowship Church, in-SP-ire, podcast, sermon, sportspastor

I came across this must hear sermon from Ed Young at Fellowship Church, Grapevine called, “Beyond the Bleachers”. If you slept in this morning or need an extra dose of input this week take a listen to Ed’s thoughts on the necessity of involvement in the local church. Anytime that a pastor uses sports as a means of communicating God’s Word, I cannot help but get excited!

Here is the sermon preview from the Creative Pastors Blog:

Playing any sport effectively takes more than a fancy playbook or complex game plan; it takes more than a good theory or well thought-out hypothesis. To play effectively, you need players who are willing to get in the middle of the action and play. The same is true when it comes to the Christian life. God never called us to sit in the bleachers and merely observe the action.

In Matthew 28:19 Jesus commanded his followers to “Go…” In other words Jesus was saying, “Get out of the stands and play the game.” And in this message, Ed Young challenges and encourages us to discover the power and fulfillment that come when we decide to live beyond the bleachers.

You can listen to the sermon on their website or you can download it from iTunes


Check out the new navigation on the left as you read this (IN-SP-IRE). To take you around the SP horn, in-SP-ire will be the home of my favorite Christian Sports Moments, like the Christian influence of Tony Dungy or witness of Dwight Howard. This section will also include some of the best Children’s Sports Moments, many from the camps that I oversee. Finally, this portion of the blog will include Character Building Lessons that can be used at any youth sports camp or team practice or simply as an encouragement to you on that particular day.

NBA Superstar Derek Fisher – “God is Good”

Golden State may have the mascot, but Utah’s Derek Fisher was the real Warrior on and off the court on Wednesday, May 9, 2007. Known around the NBA as a spiritual man that places faith and family above sport, Fisher had the opportunity to live those values in front of the everyone. It turns out that the personal reasons that excused the veteran point-guard from Game 1 were a life-threatening cancer diagnosis and surgery on his 10-month old daughter. Derek spent Wednesday morning in New York, the site of the surgery and on Wednesday evening arrived to the game in street clothes during the third quarter and immediately changed clothes and entered the game. His defense on Baron Davis was inspired as he took over the game. He made the game clinching three-pointer in an overtime thriller won by his Utah Jazz. The hero was congratulated by players from both teams who knew of his rollercoaster of a day and here is what he told TNT’s Pam Oliver:

“It was very, very serious. My daughter’s life was in jeopardy. She has a form of eye cancer called retinoblastoma. And the only reason I’m saying this now is because there are kids out there that are suffering from this disease, and people can’t really identify it. It’s a very rare disease. And I want people out there to take their kids to the opthamalogist, make sure they get their eyes checked and make sure everything’s OK, because we could have lost my little girl had we waited any longer.”

Derek grew up in a Christian home and got serious about his faith as a college student at The University of Arkansas, Little Rock. He was heavily involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes Bible Studies in college and was mentored by A.C. Green as a youngster in Los Angeles. Green is known around the league for his commitment to faith and family as he is very outspoken about sexual purity in a league where sexual immorality is part of the the glamour for most young players. A.C. Green may be retired, but he left an impression on Derek Fisher, a man with three NBA Championship rings, who is now leaving a legacy of his own by living out his faith.

Christians in Sports – Tony Dungy

Sports Illustrated has hit a home run in their latest magazine issue. Pick up the April 30, 2007 NFL DRAFT PREVIEW issue and read “Life of Reilly” (last page). It is a story of how Tony Dungy continues to allow God to use him in powerful ways! Also, there is a great article on future NFL superstar, Adrian Peterson. Don’t miss this issue!

NBA Player Dwight Howard – Witnessing in Vegas

NBA Superstar Dwight Howard must believe in evangelism and “UP REACH”. At this year’s All Star Weekend (in Vegas), the young superstar used all of his 6-foot, 11 inch frame and a 38-inch vertical leap to make a statement. The statement was about more than athletic ability. Orlando’s franchise player used his creativity and freakish skills to bring praise God in this year’s slam-dunk contest. Even though he did not win the contest, the dunk of the night belonged to him. Picture this: While Howard was slamming home a one-handed alley-oop, he used his other hand to apply a sticker to the backboard, two-and-a-half feet above the rim. Most of the crowd thought that he had just slapped the backboard, but the home audience watched the replay as the camera’s zoomed in on the sticker of Howard’s smiling face and the hand-written inscription: “All things through Christ. Phil. 4:13.” While everybody else was partying, Howard was witnessing in Vegas.

Career Highlights (so far):
In his first season, Dwight Howard averaged 12 points a game and 10 rebounds per game, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to average a double-double. In addition, Dwight Howard grabbed 20 rebounds in three games, becoming the youngest NBA player ever to record at least 20 rebounds. His second season started with a bang as Dwight Howard scored 21 points and 20 rebounds in a game, becoming the youngest player ever to score 20 or more points and 20 or more rebounds. On April 15, 2006, in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Dwight Howard pulled down a career high 26 rebounds to go with 28 points. (adapted from

What’s more important than a Super Bowl to Tony Dungy?

“There is just something different about him.” “He has different priorities than other people of his profession.” “You just sense a certain presence about him when you are around him.” What do all of these statements have in common? They are all statements made by sportscastors in an attempt to describe what they perceive as positive character traits of Tony Dungy, head coach of the World Champion Indianapolis Colts. Tony Kornheiser, Billy Packer and others have recently made the comments above. They can almost put their finger on the fact that Tony Dungy is different because he is a sold out believer in Jesus Christ. It is obvious that the Spirit of God is in him. What a tremendous witness! In the last two seasons he has experienced the most horrific experience of losing his son to suicide and the most exciting moment in sports as victors of this year’s Super Bowl. His response to trials and triumphs should be an example to us all that Christ can be seen in our highs and in our lows. I pray that all of us would have an opportunity for people to say of our witness, “There is just something different about them.”