The whistles have silenced. The equipment has been stored away. The sounds of laughter and balls bouncing have all come to a hush.
Sports Crusader’s Summer 2016 has come to a close, but the eternal investment is still resounding as children and adults from all over the nation and world have experienced Jesus in a refreshing way.
We conducted camps in four states and three countries this summer, reaching more than 3,000 people with the gospel, and 203 people (stateside) indicated a decision to follow Jesus.
I walked many gyms and fields, experiencing a personal, renewed passion for this ministry and the impact it makes on churches and communities.
But when that impact is witnessed in your own community and family, there is a new spark of inspiration.
My family recently moved to Eldon, Mo., where we have quickly been embraced.
Our Sports Crusader’s volleyball team came for its second summer and ministered to some amazing young ladies.
Those in this picture participated in camp and the lone boy is Caleb, my son and their classmate. Standing in the center with her “Just Be” shirt is Caroline Beckmann.
Caroline told me her shirt “reminds me to just be myself, because Jesus loves me the way I am.”
Before camp, Caroline had asked her mom many questions about becoming a Christian.
On decision day, she told her Crusader, Tiff Kempf, that she was ready and wanted to talk to her pastor. With the engagement of her family and local church, we have a new sister in Christ!
Caleb and I recently had the opportunity to attend her baptism in her grandfather’s creek. Surrounded with the beautiful fall colors, her pastor and close friends celebrated her decision.
It truly made me reflect on why I was called to ministry and specifically to Sports Crusaders.
We intentionally connect people to Jesus and the local church. Sports is a great avenue to engage with the next generation and tell them about Jesus. Sports Crusaders creates a welcoming and comfortable environment to talk to coaches about spiritual things.
Caroline did not feel judged by her questions and found the college girls to be people she wanted to be like. She even indicated to me she would like to be a Sports Crusader missionary someday.
Caroline felt God’s call on her heart at camp, decided to pursue a relationship with Jesus, her pastor followed up, and she obediently was baptized and desires to serve Jesus and tell others.
Isn’t that what Christ’s message is all about?
Whatever people are like, whatever walk they are coming from, I try to find common ground to create an opportunity so they will let me tell them about Jesus — just as Sports Crusaders does. May each of us be broken for the lost and seeking the “common ground” which we’re to use to share the gospel.
Thus, even though all our sports equipment is stored away until next summer, God is harvesting his message in every season.
We are so thankful for the many partners who help us continue this 23-year ministry. Find out more about us at sportscrusaders.org.
Cynthia Walker is director of development for Sports Crusaders. This is one of a seies of ministry impact articles that appeared in Word & Way. The section contains stories from organizations and institutions that were invited to share how they were impacting a life, a group or a community.