Rural High School Sports and Pastors

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by USN2Pulpit, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. USN2Pulpit

    USN2Pulpit
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    Pastors (of rural churches), how often do you attend your town's High School sporting events? I ask the question because in many small towns, HS sports is culturally very important. I've realized great things by simply attending from time to time - especially home games.

    You'd be surprised to know how many of your congregation attend these events, and I get introduced to new prospects all the time when I go.

    Not only that, it's much more enjoyable and "real" than sitting at home watching TV! Recreation and outreach...all at the same time! It's a "win-win" situation that I would highly recommend to any rural pastor.
     
  2. PastorSBC1303

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    I go to every sporting event I can make it to for exactly the reasons you listed above. HS sports in my town is huge, especially football. The entire town comes out to the games and it is a great time to meet people and get to know people on a different level. This past football season I was walking around and I was introduced to a new couple in town who was looking for a church home. From that one visit during a football game, they have become a major part of our church. I too would encourage every pastor to get out to the school events.
     
  3. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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    Just as an additional note to this thread, I attended our boys High School basketball game last night and was able to meet another new couple in our town and got an opportunity to make a contact for the church.
     
  4. USN2Pulpit

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    THAT'S what I'm talkin' 'bout!

    Me, too...I was at a game, and one of the players asked me a bunch of questions. It was good to be there, and it was a good game, too!
     
  5. koreahog2005

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    Ditto for me. I was a rural pastor before I became a missionary to South Korea. It was very important to go to football, basketball, and baseball games. I had an immediate connection with a teenager at church when I could say that I saw him or her performing at the games.
     
  6. ktn4eg

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    I offer no criticism for attending sporting events at your local HS. It is a great opportunity to do all of the positive things that my Baptist Board friends have thus posted.

    However, what about those who are NOT athletically inclined due to any number of reasons (e.g., physiological ones such as perhaps having a birth defect, or maybe they're just not interested in sports)?

    How do you suggest we reach people that do NOT attend sporting events (HS or otherwise) because they either cannot or choose not to attend due to lack of interest in sports?

    Again, I'm not criticizing attending sporting events as a "ministry outreach" (or whatever else you wish to call it), but we also should not neglect the young folks who may be "non-jocks."

    Any suggestions about how we should reach these people?
     
  7. koreahog2005

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    That's a good point. At football games, of course, the band usually performs, and a lot of parents are there to see their kids in the band. In the rural county where I pastored, the students who were considered cool by the other students were the athletic kids. Generally speaking, all other things being equal, if they were blessed with big and/or fast bodies, they didn't have too many esteem problems. Kids talented in the arts, academics, or some other area that only the Lord may know about seemed to be the ones with esteem problems. One good thing about both the international schools and the national schools in South Korea is that the students with aptitude in the fine arts and academics are considered just as cool, if not more so, than kids blessed with athletic ability. I wish the situation was more like that in America. If your kids, particularly your sons, are not blessed with big, athletic bodies, they will not be looked upon favorably by a lot of other students. It's my understanding that a lot of high school students who are not athletes are using steroids to look "buff." Of course, there are a lot of good schools, public and private, in America. There are special high schools that emphasize the fine arts, and there are exemplary all-around schools that strive for a good balance, but in my experience growing up in the city and pastoring in a rural area, I have seen a lot of non-exemplary schools that seem to emphasize sports above everything else. Still, sports is a big part of American culture, and it behooves us to be at the big cultural event with our Christian influence.
     
  8. USN2Pulpit

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    Of course we wouldn't ignore these people...Why not start another thread along those lines?

    This is but one form of ministry - and there are many - but to a rural pastor, I have found it to be very important.
     
  9. PastorSBC1303

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    In my community everyone, atheletically inclined or not, comes out to the games. I am not talking about just those who play, but our entire community comes to games. On a Friday night in the fall, you can talk to just about everyone in our town while at the hs football game. Therefore you can reach out to many different people at one time.
     
  10. ktn4eg

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    Maybe what needs to be clarifed is how one defines "rural" areas today...as opposed to, let's say "suburban" areas.

    Many areas of our country that may have been "rural" for decades are rapidly becoming "suburban" areas...which increasing are becoming more of a blend between what most would consider as "urban" areas and that of the traditionally "rural" areas.

    While, granted, the HS sports venues in both rural and suburban areas are an excellent place for outreach, in areas that are increasingly suburban, today you may find families that not only are not orginally from that area of the US, but also ones that originally are not even from the US at all (e.g., hispanic, oriental, and now from eastern or middle eastern countries).

    Whether or not you agree with the current immigration polices of the US, the fact is that these people are here, and they are here in increasing numbers.

    I live in the outer fringes of Nashville--once considered by many to be the "Buckle" of the Bible Belt in the South. Yet, TN has the 4th largest hispanic population in the US, and a growing middle eastern population--not only just in the cities, but also in the suburban and even in what many may call rural areas.

    Historically (although not exclusively) the hispanic population comes from a Roman Catholic background. The middle eastern population is predominately Islamic (although there are radically different varieties of Islam...as the news reports from Iraq will tell you).

    If we as Evangelicals fail to reach these non-American people groups that are increasingly moving to not only many of our suburban areas but also even to many of what were once (or maybe still are) rural areas, who WILL reach them?

    This was brought to my attention in a most dramatic way about five years ago.

    While driving through what was basically a suburban section on the fringes of Nashville I read the bumper sticker of the car that had a TN license plate that was right in front of me:

    ALLAH SAVES!
     
  11. PastorSBC1303

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    ok maybe it is just me, but what does that have to do with the topic of rural pastors and sporting events at high school?
     
  12. USN2Pulpit

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    ktn4eg, you haven't said anything I disagree with. Even if it is "off-topic." If, you really want to discuss your views on the subject, I'd encourage you to open a topic concerning your last post. I think it could be pretty interesting.
     
  13. ktn4eg

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    That's fine with me. [​IMG]

    Not sure when I'll get time to do it in the next couple of weeks, though--been working a lot of OT on the midnight to 8 am shift, and right now things are getting a little blurry!! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

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