Christian Native Missions and Football

  11.23.2010    Native Missions | Evangelism | Christian Living
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football and christians missions

What does football, Christian missions, and world evangelism all have in common? They are more alike than most think. Let's take a look.

In American football there are four main parts of each team. You have the team management which is made of people who manage the day to day affairs of the team and the players. Next is the medical/training staff that cares for the medical well being of each player. Then you have the coaches who help to develop each player’s ability and plot game strategies. Let us not forget the team players and the fans. Now, let us put this infrastructure into the world of Christian missions and world evangelism and see if there is a close correlation or not.

The Management (A.K.A “The front office”)

In missions, the organization’s management team would be the equivalent to that of a front office. This is the place where all administrative functions occur, enabling a mission organization to get its representatives onto the field so they can be actively involved in the day to day work of saving souls for Christ. Those Christians who are managers focus their efforts on recruiting new missionaries; raising financial resources and distributing them to support the various projects and mission endeavors the team is involved in. Without a front office, it is nearly impossible to put together a working mission’s organization focused on changing the world and bringing glory to God.

The Players

The team players are equivalent to the “field missionaries” who serve in the mission fields of the world. They are locked in battle with the opposing forces, the demonic forces that ally themselves against God and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The players advance their team forward every time they help free someone from the chains of sin, poverty, homelessness, hunger, and any other vice that is an affront against the Almighty God. The players are the ones that score a field goal every time they evangelize an unreached person by sharing the Gospel of Jesus in words and in loving action.  They score a touchdown whenever someone fully accepts the Words of Christ, and commits their life to live in accordance with all that God has commanded.

Each player knows that each team member is valuable and that each player must perform his role to their best ability if the team plans to win.  The kicker is as important to the team as any quarterback, and the offensive players are as important as the defensive players (I Corinthians 12:21-24)

The Medical / Training Staff

Those in the medical and training department do their best to keep each player healthy so they may perform at their optimal performance level. They do this by training the player’s body to endure hardship and they monitor the physical and spiritual attributes of each player being careful to minimize injury on and off the field.  One of their most important roles is to come to the aid of an injured team member.

Unless there is an emergency on the field of play, the medical and training staffs are rarely seen. However, when an unexpected trial or disaster occurs, the medical team rushes into the field of play by providing financial to aid to support the help the injured player recover. Sometimes they send letters and care packages that offer words of encouragement to help mend the heart and faith of those injured.  However at all times, they are always on their knees praying to God, asking God to care for their teammates and to strengthen them at all times.

The Coaches

The coaches are the field directors of a mission’s organization with each coach having an area of expertise. Their role is to be a mentor to each player. They give the players advice on how to improve their game and they disciple the players that have been entrusted to them by the head coach, Jesus Christ.

Coaches are equally responsible for ensuring that the entire team is focused on winning the game. They set strategies for each game as they study and look for deficiencies in their opponents. Once they find a weakness, they exploit it by praying and fasting. Once a path has been opened by God, the coach will then direct his/her players on how to execute their next action.

The Fans

The fans are those Christians who are present in the stands, just a few feet away from mission field, yet cheering as loud as they can to support their team, a Christian missions organization. The fans are those professing Christians that actually support their team with prayers. They also partner themselves financially with the team by buying the tickets that help pay the salaries of the players, the coaches and cover the administrative costs of managing the entire team.  Without such devoted fans, no mission organization would have the financial resources to place a team on the field of battle.

The fans also encourage the missionaries (the players). They root and cheer for their team; no matter the score and regardless of the weather. If the days are hot and oppressive with persecution, they are in the stands cheering. If it is in the dark of night or the cold of winter, they are there cheering on their team.

The most devoted fans tend to have team memorabilia about their home and person. They proudly wave their favorite team’s banner and wear the team jersey with the logo of the organization on it. They are always talking about their team on their spare time. They know facts about their team and they are always eager to learn more. They are always excited when their players score and they are also discouraged when their team seems to be losing ground or a player gets injured.

Unlike the players and coaches, the medical/training staff and the management team, the fans never truly get the glory and honor that is due them. For a vast majority of Christians, serving God will never lead to worldwide fame. Most will never win a “most valuable player” award. Most will never get media exposure or have the opportunity to play on the foreign mission field with the other players or travel with them.  However, even though none of this will happen to the average fan, each enthusiastic fan is as critical to each team as any player, coach, trainer, or administrator.

The Unfortunate Problem

For any team to win a game, much less the championship, all the parts of the team must come together and function as a single living entity (1 Corinthians 12:12-29). The same holds true for any missions “team”. Unfortunately, there are many churches and a large portion of believers that refuse to get involved in the game.
Now, imagine the Super Bowl, the championship game, being played and the team is not able to bring its players to the game? Imagine the team not being able to bringing its coaches and trainers to the game because they simply do not have the finances to do so.

Does this make sense to you? Of course not! Unfortunately, this is what happens day after day because most American “Christians” fail to support their team generously. How can this be when there is hardly a American Christian who cannot give generously to a mission’s organization? Especially since even those who are considered poor in the USA (a family of four making less than $22,020 per year) are richer than 87% of the world’s population.

One reason is that they are only “Christians” by name and simply do not care for the game of missions – this is sad statement indeed. Jesus himself testified that many so called believers would claim to be true believers but their claim would be false (Matthew 7:17-22).

There are also those believers that simply do not understand that each Christian is either called by God to be part of the team directly or a fan supporting the team.  You are either supporting God’s team or you are supporting his enemy’s team (Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:23).

Another reason that most believers fail to support missions among the unreached people is that they are simply more concerned with the things of life and the pursuit of wealth which slowly chokes the person’s interest in the game (Matthew 13:22). Other simply do not even bother to tithe or support missions as they are commanded to by God (Malichi 3:10). Lastly, a believer may be so indebted that they cannot invest the money that has been entrusted to them by God to carry out His will on earth and forcefully advance the Kingdom by supporting the work of missionaries.

Consider these sad facts Christian spending habits and giving to missions:

  • Only a few support the Church: Only one-third to one-half of U.S. church members financially support their churches.
  • Fewer give to mission to the unreached peoples of the world: Less than a five pennies out of every $100.00 USD given to Christian causes that actually support the work of native missionaries who actively preach the gospel to the last remaining 2.4 billion unreached souls of the world. That if five pennies ou of every hundred dollars!
  • Religious Donations: More than $60 billion a year is donated to religious nonprofit organizations. The vast bulk of that sum-more than $40 billion annually-goes directly to churches, almost all of it from individuals.
  • Giving Not a Priority: Christians worldwide had personal income totaling more than $16 trillion in 2007 but gave only 2 percent, or $370 billion, to Christian causes.
  • Donating over Tithing: Overall, only 3 to 5 percent of those who donate money to a church tithe (give 10 percent of) their incomes weekly and only 9% of American "born-again" adults tithed in 2004.
  • Sunday Offerings: The average amount of money given by a full or confirmed member of a U.S. Christian church in 2004 was $691.93 USD. This comes to an average of $13.31 USD per week.
  • Income versus Net Worth: Ninety-six percent of evangelical giving is given out of income, and only 4 percent is given out of net worth.Abraham gave out of his total accumulated wealth (Gen 14:20a; Heb 7:1-10)

What is your decision?

So what role do you play in fulfilling the Great Commission? How are you active in forcefully advancing the kingdom of God on earth? What are you doing to make sure that everyone, no matter where they live has an opportunity to hear the gospel of Christ preached to them in a culturally relevant way?  Do not be deceived, you either serve God’s team or you are an enemy to God.

Do you not know that if you support your mission’s team that you will have so many blessings that you will not have enough room in your life to contain it all? (Malichi 3:10; Matthew 19:21-29). So what are you waiting for? Select a mission’s organization or select a missionary and support them. You can never out give God who can give to you and love you more than you can ask for or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20)

family remove buddhist shrine
Imagine God, our Father, lifting each of His children up and over His head when Good finally triumphs over evil.

Ask yourself this: why do you think God has allowed you to be born in North America or Western Europe rather than among the poor masses of Africa and Asia? Why did God bless you with so much material and spiritual abundance?  Hold on for a minute. Did you just tell yourself that you are not rich? Really...well did you know that according to the United Nations is your household income is comprised of four people and its net income is $36,000 USD per year then you are richer than 85% of the world population! If your household income is $60,000 USD then you are in the top 7.9% of the world richest people!  Now here is the kicker.

If you are part of an American family of four and you are considered to be in “poverty” by the US government, you will be making $22,050 USD per year. Even if you “poor” in American you still richer than 81% of the world population!

Now back onto the point I was trying to make. In light of the super-abundance we enjoy here, what do you think is our minimal responsibility to the untold millions of lost and suffering in the Third World?

Let me end by bringing your attention to this one fact. There is a game that is currently being played between the forces of God and the forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12) and we are in the final minutes of the game (Hebrew 1:2; 1Peter 1:20, 1Corinthians 10:11). Let us not turn away from the game if we have been sitting in the stadium previously cheering. Let us not grow tired and weary for victory is assured to us.

Make a decision to get involved in the only grid-iron battle for lost souls. Jesus assures us that anyone who actively plays and cheers for His team will be fully repaid 100 fold or more in the age to come. So are you part of the management team, the medical/training staff, one of the coaches, a player, or a fan? As a Christian you are called and Jesus demands that you accept one of those roles. Whatever position you are called to participate in, do it with all your might. Fight for your team, work in unity with your team, and support your team every which way you can.

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