Looking for Leaders
More Than Fun and Funs
by Ken Akers
For many years, Master’s Men has sponsored annual golf and softball tournaments. These events are great for fellowship and provide a little extra income for the department. Most people have no idea how much work goes into planning and carrying out a major athletic tournament. Although it is a lot of work, it’s worth it from both a social and financial viewpoint.
Over the years, a number of people have remarked that these activities hold little spiritual or eternal significance. “How can God get glory from hitting a ball or a catching a line drive,” they ask.
In most cases, not much! But every now and then, something special happens that makes the “fun and funds” seem unimportant by comparison. In 2013, we had not only one, but two cases where sports fellowships had an eternal outcome.
Salvation in the Deep South
Early in 2013, Master’s Men hosted the Deep South Golf Tournament in Albany, Georgia. While the weather didn’t cooperate, God still used the event for His glory. One of the golfers invited a guy from his church to be his partner who was not a believer. As they traveled from their home to South Georgia, they had plenty of time to talk about his relationship with Christ.
In addition to the long ride, these men shared a room during the tournament, and the conversation continued. On the second night of the tournament, this gentleman asked Jesus into his heart. We spread the word and rejoiced together—not over record low scores on the course, but over the miracle that happened in the hotel room. This man became “whole in One!”
An Eternal Grand Slam
The second event happened not long after the National Softball Tournament in August. Many teams bring players who are members of the team and attend church, but who are not part of the body of Christ. In fact, many churches use sports fellowship to reach the lost.
This year was no exception. One young player from Florida was not a believer. He was a great athlete, but he had a real attitude problem. Don’t get me wrong. We have encountered bad attitudes from those claiming to be Christians as well, but this young man was not a believer…at least not during the tournament.
A few days later, I received a call from the pastor of his church. He wanted me to know the young man had accepted Christ as Savior the following Wednesday night at church. I believe the influence and character of those Christians around him played a key role in his salvation. For him, it was a grand slam for eternity.
I could recount many other stories like these, but I simply want to encourage churches to be aware that many people are not saved during an invitational hymn. They are saved because of the relationships they develop with believers, from work to home to the ball field. And that is why sports ministry is more than fun and funds!
About the Writer: Ken Akers is director of Master's Men. Learn more: www.fwbmastersmen.org.