Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded. —Matthew 28:19
One of the wonderful things that characterizes Grace Church is how seriously we take the Great Commission. It is always such an encouragement to thumb through our missionary calendar or walk by the east wall of the Worship Center and see the pictures of these faithful servants who are spread across the globe. But not everyone has to cross oceans to obey the Great Commission. Here in Los Angeles, the Lord has truly brought the nations to us. People in our own neighborhood need to hear the gospel, and God has granted us the privilege of bringing it to them.
One of the ways we do that is through sports outreach ministries. Every Monday evening, we open our gymnasium to the community. At 5:30 the gym is set up for volleyball, and 15–20 young men and women come to use the court. At 8:00 the set-up changes, and 20–40 men come to play basketball. After an hour or so, each group takes a break to hear a clear presentation of the gospel. After this break for physical rest and spiritual nourishment, play resumes for another hour.
For many of these visitors from the community, that gospel presentation is the only exposure to Christ that they will have in any given week. Many of them hear the gospel preached clearly for the first time in the gym. The ministry also gives us the opportunity to model Christ’s patience and love by competing in a way that honors Him. And while waiting between games, members of our church family are able to engage in building relationships that hopefully lead to more gospel opportunities.
There are many ways to be involved in sports outreach. The most important way is to pray. Grace Church doesn’t advertise that we have an open gym on Monday nights. The Lord has sovereignly brought these dear people to our doorstep through relationships and word-of-mouth. Please continue to pray that He would bring the right people, and that He would be pleased to call people to Himself through the preaching of His gospel.
Second, you can join us on a Monday evening. We would love to have more members of our church family come and demonstrate Christ’s love both on and off the court.
Finally, you can invite your unsaved friends to join you for some fun and exercise, confident that they will hear the gospel faithfully preached.
Sports outreach is a great opportunity to exercise both your body and your spiritual gifts. And who knows? Perhaps the Lord will use a friendly pick-up game as a tool to equip you to continue fulfilling our Great Commission.