Category Archives: sports

Sunshine, baseball, and wornout grass

It was a nice sunny day and the entire family headed outside to enjoy the weather. The kids rode bikes, played with sidewalk chalk and just ran around. My wife and I played catch and talked. But then something happened that reinforced the fact that youth ministry is part of my family culture. Upon seeing one of the neighborhood kids (a 7th grader) come out of his house with his glove my wife says to me, “You should see if he wants to come over and play catch with you.” On one side, she figured I would enjoy playing catch with someone who is better at baseball and on the other side, she knew it would be a great chance for me to talk to him.

Joe (not his real name or is it) has a younger brother who is friends with my oldest son. He’s been over to the house before and we’ve talked before, so this was not going to be something completely new.

What I thought would be a 20 minute session of throwing fastballs and trying to throw curves ended up being something much bigger. I’m not sure how long we played or how many pitches we threw, but I know my arm hurt when we were done. In fact, as you can see from the picture, we played long enough to cause some serious damage to the well-being of my front yard.

We talked about school, family, and a little about church. I learned a lot that afternoon about Joe and his world. Something else happened, though. After I had to leave to start grilling for dinner, Joe stayed and played with my boys. He continued to play catch and just hang out – my kids thought it was great. And because youth ministry is more than a job – its part of our family culture – we had Joe and his brother over for dinner, too.

We were glad to have the chances to connect with our neighbors and it was a great chance to minister. But a few days later I learned that it was something more. One of Joe’s teachers goes to our church and a few days after this I was talking to her at church. We were talking about Joe, she was asking me some questions, and I mentioned to her that I had played catch with him earlier that week. She said, “Oh yeah, I know that. He came in the next day and told me about it.” She went on to tell me that she thinks I’ve been (and need to continue to be) a good influence in Joe’s life.

I was a little shocked. Apparently the fact that I spent time with Joe meant more to him than I imagined it would.

I was reminded that sometimes the seemingly small things we do with people, especially teenagers, are much more important then we first think.

Many times in youth ministry we get opportunities to spend time with students. Are you making the most of those opportunities?

Advertisements

Book Review: Pujols by Lamb & Ellsworth


With baseball season on the verge of opening day, I thought I’d share my review of Albert Pujols new biography. Enjoy the review, the book, and Go Cubs!

When I saw there was a biography about Albert Pujols out, I wanted to read it. I did not want to read it because I’m a Cardinals fan – I’m a lifelong Cubs fan. No, I wanted to read Pujols because I am a baseball fan and was curious to read about his faith. I have heard for years that he was a Christian and reading how people live out their faith in their jobs (especially major league baseball) is encouraging and challenging.

Lamb and Ellsworth wonderfully weave together the on-the-field and the off-the-field life of Pujols from his childhood days in the Dominican Republic to the 2010 season with the Cardinals. There are great baseball stories, including some behind-the-scenes looks at how Pujols responds during and after games. You read about Pujols response to hitting a fan with a foul ball and how he reacts after nailing a pitcher with a line drive.

Other chapters are filled with stories of how Albert and DeeDee spend their time helping and serving others. Stories of all the work they do for kids with Down Syndrome and the trips to the Dominican. For Pujols, being one of the best baseball players (if not arguably the best active) in history is a platform to share his faith with the world.

If you are a baseball fan, you will enjoy reading about the game. If you are curious about Pujols (especially in light of the contract negotiations), you will learn a lot from reading this book. If you are a Christian who wants to know how to live out your faith in the workplace, you will glean some ideas within these pages. The subtitle says it all – for Albert Pujols, baseball is more than the game.

My advice (rating) – go out and buy it (4 out of 5)

**I reviewed this book as part of the BookSneeze review program**

Using the Super Bowl within your Youth Ministry

(I posted these ideas last year and over the last few weeks this post has been getting a lot of traffic from searches. So I thought I would repost my 5 tips on using the Super Bowl in your youth ministry.)

The Super Bowl is less than a month away (2.7.10) and we do not know who will be playing. But for most youth ministries, one thing is true – a lot of your students will be talking about it. This can mean the potential to connect with a greater number of students. There are several things you can do within your youth ministry to connect to the Super Bowl “hype.” Take one or more of these ideas and use it within your ministry. And I’d love to hear what effect it has on your ministry.


5 ideas for using the Super Bowl in your youth ministry
.

1. Host a Super Bowl Party
This includes finding a house with enough room to hold the students a big enough TV for everyone to watch. Or you could hold it at church if you have the room/technology.

Supplies:

  • Food (I suggest pizza and chips & dip for sure)
  • TV or multiple TVs
  • Devotion or something for halftime
  • Handout, trivia questions and ideas or quiz sheet
  • prizes for winners of score contest. halftime and end of game
  • prizes for contest sheet winners
  • plastic silverware, cups, plates

2. Create your own Super Bowl Commercial Contest.
Have the students come up with a 30 second commercial that they want to air during the Super Bowl. You could either have them make up a product or use a real one. You will want to set obvious guidelines; language and such. Have them turn the commercials early enough to give you time to watch them and get them ready be viewed. My suggestion is that you watch them during halftime of the game. Plus you can put them on your group’s YouTube, Vimeo, or webpage – that way the students can watch them over and over again.

3. Discuss why the Super Bowl is such a big deal.
Take some time before the big game and talk about why this is the biggest sporting event all year.

4. Participate in the Souper Bowl outreach event.
This is a great way to raise some money and help out a local soup kitchen. Go to the website to find out more and get your students involved. Get all of your downloadable resources here that you’ll need to promote.

5. Use the commercials to start discussion on a number of topics.
After the Super Bowl, you could take a few weeks and steer some discussion to the topics brought up during the commercials. Or use the commercials as illustrations or intro material for the your messages.

How do you use the Super Bowl in your ministry? What have you done in the past? We’d love to hear some of your past highlights, please leave a comment to share with the youth ministry community.

Photo Friday: putt-putt


lining up for a hole-in-one.

—-
These weekly pictures are provided as an available resource for use within your youth ministry. These pictures can be used for background slides, event promotion, or anywhere else you need a good photograph. What I ask is that you do not use them for anything in which you make a profit and attribute me as the photographer. I would also love to hear how you are using them (pictures of your final product would be great, too) within your youth ministry.

Photo Friday: T-Ball Helmets

t-ball helmets.

—-
These weekly pictures are provided as an available resource for use within your youth ministry. These pictures can be used for background slides, event promotion, or anywhere else you need a good photograph. What I ask is that you do not use them for anything in which you make a profit and attribute me as the photographer. I would also love to hear how you are using them (pictures of your final product would be great, too) within your youth ministry.

Photo Friday: Fishing Tackles

Fishing tackles, etc… (a good background for a series/message on evangelism?)

—-
These weekly pictures are provided as an available resource for use within your youth ministry. These pictures can be used for background slides, event promotion, or anywhere else you need a good photograph. What I ask is that you do not use them for anything in which you make a profit and attribute me as the photographer. I would also love to hear how you are using them (pictures of your final product would be great, too) within your youth ministry.

August Photo Fridays

The month of August will focus on sports related pictures.

Pictures will include:

  • bowling
  • fishing
  • putt-putt
  • t-ball

What is your favorite sport?