Multiplication Center

Does sports ministry do more evangelism or assimilation?

March 23, 2007

A friend at one of the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination’s largest churches asks what we’re hearing about sports ministry in large churches — is it more evangelism, or more assimilation?

Interestingly, when I went earlier this month to NYC’s largest church, Christian Cultural Center (www.cccinfo.org), they said their biggest front door is the sports ministry as evangelism, which then brings the entire family to church. I’ve seen Upward Basketball (www.upward.org) as a strong outreach in many churches. But it’s also a powerful assimilation tool for the sports participants, much
like being in a small group. So I think sports ministry accomplishes both evangelism and assimilation in many churches, though perhaps it is mainly an assimilation tool in some.

Another colleague mentioned: ChangePoint (www.changepointalaska.com) in Alaska is doing some aggressive Sports Ministry.  They are building the nation’s largest enclosed sports field (or something like that) and calculate that due to community events and sports matches that will be held at the field, one-fourth of all Anchorage residents will step foot on the church campus annually. They are looking for their sports ministry to be evangelistic, but their rapid growth means they desire for every ministry to be effective at assimilating as well.

What are your thoughts?

— Warren Bird, Director of Research and Intellectual Capital Support

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