By: Darien Gabriel
I love ultimate – ultimate Frisbee that is. If Jesus invented a sport, I think this would be it.
I love Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan. It is so clarifying for me. It helps me get hyper-focused on what really matters. Loving my neighbor as myself where I live, work and play.
I love pastoring our local church. I struggle with staying focused, though. I struggle so much that my ministry seems more like a night-hike flashlight beam than a steel-cutting laser beam.
Recently, I decided that I was going to reach out to high school students in our city through the sport of ultimate. I felt led to be more missional and not just preach about it.
I did not start out with a plan. But I did start out with a single focus—take Jesus to local high school students through my favorite sport, ultimate.
My next step was to share this simple, hyper-focused vision to family and friends who shared my love for Jesus and ultimate (mostly in that order too). This included people from at least two other churches. I prayed and shared it over and over.
Then I started asking, “Who’s in?” I started meeting with those who said they were in to talk about how we would do this. We started praying together for God to lead us as we moved forward. We ended up with nine coaches!
We decided to host an 8-week try-out/clinic for high school students (coed). We would teach skills and drills and then scrimmage whomever we could find.
The hope was that we would end up with the nucleus of a team for next season, while influencing students with a gospel culture through our coaching (words and actions).
Weeks passed by, decisions were made and things started falling into place. The big question still remained, however. Would any students actually show up to our first day?
They did. We had about 15 students the first week and averaged that many over eight weeks, having more than 30 different students from six different high schools participate at least once.
Coaches shared their love for Ultimate and Jesus in about 60 seconds at the end of each 2-hour practice. We also connected with students via text and Facebook. We gained traction and built relationships.
We finished our tryout period with a cookout and announced that next fall we would launch the club team, Lowcountry Flyers. Our goal is to compete for our 2018 state title next May.
Our ultimate focus is that God will be glorified through our efforts as we live and proclaim the good news through the sport of ultimate Frisbee.
The word of God compelled me to reach out.
The Spirit of God empowered me to reach out.
The people of God encouraged and joined me in reaching out.
The Son of God was lifted up as we reached out.
What a privilege it was to serve alongside family and friends as an extended family on mission together where we live, work and play. May God bear much fruit through our efforts past, present and future.