reasons for Sports Ministry…

Greetings from KY.  I have been absent from this blog for awhile, but I hope to change that with more regular posting.  One of my friends asked me to contribute monthly to a blog that his church does.  The post below is my first blog post for them that I wanted to share with you all.  It gives insight into why I am so passionate about using sports for Christ and hopefully it will encourage you to do the same.  I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to your feedback!

SPORT_1Hello, my name is Andy Owens and I serve with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Central and Eastern, KY as an Area Representative.  Even before, I went on full time staff with FCA God really gave me a passion for Sports Ministry, where you use sports and recreation as a tool to reach others for Christ.  So, for the past 17 years in some form I have been working full time in sports ministry.  For at least my first few blog posts I would love to share with you about how sports and recreation can intersect with your faith and family.  How these things don’t have to become idols or distractions in your life and walk with Christ but powerful tools.

Most of you will probably agree we live in a culture where sports, athletes, and coaches are very often idolized.  Our kids, and even adults, look up to these figures in sports like they are heroes.   As a result, Christians tend to fall into two categories when it comes to sports and athletics.

The first is that you really can’t tell that much difference between them and the rest of the world.  Even though they claim Christ as king of their life, participating in athletics or having their children in athletics is truly their main priority.  It affects the jobs they take, their moods, how they treat their family and friends, their church attendance and much more.  When it comes down to it, they do have a god in their life, but it is the idol of sports.

The second category that Christians tend to fall in to is that of separation.  They see the danger of letting sports and athletics become a god or at the very least a high priority and so they choose to stay away and not participate.  These people see sports and athletics as worldly and something that should be abstained from.

I would like to suggest to you that the proper way to view sports and athletics is in the middle of these two views.  One of the things I love about the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is our vision statement which says, “To see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of athletes and coaches.”  Both categories I mentioned above will agree that sports have a high place of value in our culture.  So rather than letting it rule our lives or staying totally away from it, let’s use it as FCA does, to impact our world for Christ.

In a sport crazed culture, those who participate are given a platform where there are people looking up to them as an example.  Billy Graham once said that in a year a coach will have the opportunity to impact more people for Christ than the average Christian will in their entire lifetime.  That is an opportunity to share Christ that we can’t waste on a poor testimony or choosing to stay away from.  For the athlete, former NBA star Charles Barkley once said that people shouldn’t look up to him and that he wasn’t a “Role Model.”  The problem with that statement is that in sports you don’t have a choice.  You have a platform and therefore you are a role model!  This is another platform that we as Christians must seek to take advantage of for Christ.

When you walk in any sports arena you see people of different ages, races, religions, and all kinds of other diversities.  As you look at these people it become abundantly clear that sports cross all kinds of social and economic barriers.  So, why as people that have been given the command to “go into the world and make disciples,” wouldn’t we use sports as a tool to obey the command that God has given us!

So, maybe you are reading this and thinking to yourself that you agree with me, but you are just not that into sports.   How does this apply to you?  Well, I would point out that as Christ-followers each of us has been given different gifts that give us each different platforms of influence in our world.  Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  Whatever plat form you have been given, use it to let your light shine before others and point them to Christ.  If you are an artist, use your art to point them to Christ.  If you are a musician, use your music to point them to Christ.  If you are a talker who has been given the gift of gab, use those social skills to point others to Christ.  If you are a coach or athlete, or just love sports, use the tool of sports and athletics to point others to Christ!

In our sinful sports crazed world, we must use the gift of athletics to reach the lost for Christ

Bowling for Churches…

Bowling high qualityWhen KMM opened up the Lee County Recreational Center’s Bowling Center in November of 2007, we made the decision to close on Wednesday Nights and Sundays so that we would not be competing with local churches.  There are enough things going on that pull at our youth and adults to keep them from attending church.  At the same time, one of our goals has always been to be a tool for the local church to use bring people in to hear about Jesus.  So, when approached by churches we make exceptions to our closed rule and open up for various outreaches that a church wants to do.

Yesterday, Erin and I were blessed to open up on a normally closed for our church’s youth group to come out for a monthly youth activity.  A whole van load of kids from Emmanuel Baptist Church in Powell County came out and joined us for a fun afternoon of cosmic bowling to the latest contemporary Christian music and Christmas music, and eating lots of pizza.  We had a great time being able to let the kids enjoy the bowling and fellowshipping with the other youth leaders who brought the kids.  As I made lunch for everyone and watched the joy that this outing was bringing to our students, I was reminded of how thankful I am to be part of a ministry that uses sports and recreation as a tool to bring others to Christ.  And to be able to be an extension for our local churches to use is just another huge blessing.

Please keep the ministries of the Lee County Recreational Center in your prayers.  Pray that more churches in our area will take advantage of our facility for their outreaches.  Most importantly, keep praying that whether through Church outreaches or through our own Rec Center Outreaches, that we will be able to share Jesus with many more people!

much needed time…

This past week has been a rough one for me health wise as I was out of commission most of the week with the Flu.  It turned out I was allergic to the first set of flu meds I was given and so after a fun rash, I finally got some meds that seemed to have knocked the majority of this bug out of me and have me feeling much better.  Between both Erin and I being sick and trying to keep up with the kids though, both of us have reached the  half dead feeling.  That’s why the next two days couldn’t come at a better time.

We dropped our kids off with my parents this morning and also got a house/dog sitter lined up and we headed to Lexington for the annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes Coach and Spouse conference.  The opportunity to fellowship with other couples near our age that are involved in school and sports ministry is very exciting.  Also, having a really nice hotel room with Temperpedic mattresses is not a bad thing either.  The most important aspect of the next two days is just being able to spend some time getting spiritually fed and refreshed.  This season of illness and busyness has taken it’s toll on us both physically and spiritually.  So, its awesome to see how God gives us times of refreshment right when we need it!

would you like to have a missionary come share with your church or small group???

Maeven, Andy, Erin, and Judah Owens

This past weekend with our golf scramble I finally closed one of the busiest seasons of ministry that we have had here with KMM.   Between homeschooling our student at the Rec Center, Lock-In’s, tournaments, and the golf scramble it has definitely been a busy season of ministry here.  Now that hopefully things are settling down for a few months Erin and I are hoping to hit the road some to share about our ministry here in Beattyville.

With economic times being tough and many of our financial supporters being older we have dipped some in our regularly committed monthly support.   So we hope to try and get to as many churches and small groups as we can in the upcoming months to share about what God is doing here in KY.

How can you help us?  Well, I am so glad you asked!   First of all pray for us.  Pray that we will be able to make new contacts where we can share our ministry with individuals, churches, and small groups.  Pray for safety as we travel with our two little ones.  And finally pray that we will be able to get our committed support level up!

The next way that you can help is by possibly getting us the opportunity to share with your churches, small groups, or any individuals that you think my be interested in hearing about sports ministry in rural southeastern Kentucky.  Basically we would just like the opportunity to share our testimonies and how God is working here.  When sharing with a group I never bring up finances unless someone from the group asks. My main goal is to share our heart for the ministry and what God is doing.  Hopefully then someone’s  heart will be moved to get involved either financially or through volunteering with God’s ministry here.

What if I already know my church is unable to financially partner with you?  Another great question!   We honestly would just like the opportunity to share anyways.   Maybe the church as a whole can’t sponsor, but you never know what God might do in the lives of individuals and small groups to get them involved in some way.

So, if you are interest in Erin and I coming to share with you or you know someone one who might be please let us know.   God is dong a great work here in Southeastern Kentucky and we would love for you to be a part of it!!!

last night’s FCA Leadership Camp Presentation Update…

Last night, our FCA students presented their desire to attend FCA Leadership Camp to Idamay Bible Church.  We entered the night about $500 short of being able to pay for all six students to attend camp.  Our students did a great job of presenting and I was very proud of them a I know how nerve wracking it has been over the past two weeks to stand up in churches and speak in front of so many people.   God truly blessed us and we received the $500 we need to take all six students to camp.  When you add that in with all the donations we have been given so far as well as a promised sponsorship our kids are ready to go to FCA Leadership Camp at Campbellsville University!

That being said, now comes the hard part.  Please pray for Erin and I as we are now trying to raise the needed $250 for our family to attend camp.  Just like the students we will be receiving training to lead our FCA huddles during the upcoming school year.  It is also just a great time of spiritual refreshment for us and we are taught and poured into spiritually through great messages and fellowship with others in full time sports ministry!   Please pray that God will provide this money and take that burden from us!

To all of you have already been praying for our students and also have given to our students, thank you!  I am confident that God is going to do great things in their life at camp this summer!