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Part I. Sports Ministry Primer

Chapter 1. Introduction to Sports Ministry
Introducing Sports Ministry
A Vision for Sports Ministry
Why Sports Ministry?
The Universal Power and Popularity of Sport
Youth Sports
Sport Helps Define the World
Defining the Term Sport
Harnessing the Power of Sports for the Gospel
Sports Ministry Defined
Review and Discussion Questions

Chapter 2. A History of Sports Ministry
Historic Integrations of Faith and Sport
Muscular Christianity
Sport: A God-Given Ability or a Deterrent to Faith?
Review and Discussion Questions

Part II. Contemporary Approaches to Sports Ministry

Chapter 3. Sports Ministry in the United States
Understanding Sports Ministry in the United States
The Beginnings of Organized Sports Ministry in the United States in the 20th Century
The Values and Goals of These Sports Ministry Organizations and Initiatives
Approaches and Methodologies
Additional Significant National Sports Ministry Organizations
Review and Discussion Questions

Chapter 4. International Sports Ministry
Why Minister Internationally?
Where Sports Ministries Have Gone
Review and Discussion Questions

Chapter 5. Faith Considerations
Designed for Play
The Problem of Competition
The Potential of Competition
The Bible and Sport
Assessing Sport as a Place for Ministry
Review and Discussion Questions

Chapter 6. Gospel Communication
Gospel Communication
Biblical Narrative
Prayerful Dependence on God
Review and Discussion Questions

Chapter 7. Ethical Considerations for Christians in Sport
The Hammer Analogy
A New Christ-Centered Ethos
A Work in Progress
The Tension Between Competitive Sport and Christian Faith
The Compatibility of Competitive Sport and Christian Faith
A Divide Between the Sacred and the Secular
Sportianity: A Critical Review
Christian Ethics Through a Biblical Lens: Linville’s Three-Step Process
Governing Principles for Ethical Behavior in Sport
Ethical Consideration One: Pagan Associations With the Origins of Sport
Ethical Consideration Two: Sport and the Sabbath
Ethical Consideration Three: Considering Gamesmanship
Winning and Losing
The “Salt and Light” of Christian Influence
Review and Discussion Questions

Chapter 8. Financing Sports Ministry
Financial Considerations in Sports Ministry
Financial Management in Sports Ministry
Basic Elements of Financial Management in Sports Ministry
Understanding Financial Challenges in Sports Ministry
Review and Discussion Questions

Chapter 9. Sports Ministry Facilities
The Importance of Planning for the Right Sports Ministry Facility
Determining What Type of Sporting Facilities Are Available for Effective Ministry
The Process of Creating a New Sports Facility: From Concept to Completion
Additional Sport Facility Construction Considerations
Maintaining a High-Quality Sports Facility
Review and Discussion Questions

Chapter 10. Legal Considerations
A Basic Understanding of the U.S. Legal System and Legal Terminology
State Legal Systems
Additional Legal Considerations for Sports Ministries
Key Legal Issues Facing Sport Ministries
Lack of Understanding and Knowledge of Legal Elements and Responsibilities
ADA Requirements for Sports Programs and Sports Facilities
The Importance of a Proactive Risk Management Program
The Importance of Accountability
Review and Discussion Questions

Part III. Developing a Viable Sports Ministry

Chapter 11. International Sport Mission Trips
Benefits of Short-Term Sport Missions
The Importance of Partnerships
Types of International Short-Term Sports Ministry Trips
Short-Term Sports Ministry Precautions
The Importance of Service and Relationship Building
Administrative Responsibilities
Pre-Trip Team Training and Post-Trip Debriefing
Helpful Travel Tips
Review and Discussion Questions

Chapter 12. Sports Ministry in the Local Church
Assessing Ministry Mission and Objectives
Assessing Church and Community Demographics
Four Typical Church-Based Sports Ministry Locations
Hosting Events
Funding Church Sports Ministry
Church Sports Ministry Resources
Equipping Responsibilities for the Sport-Minded
Developing Church Sports Ministry Leadership
Examples of Local Church Sports Ministries
A Precaution
Review and Discussion Questions

Chapter 13. Sports Ministry Organizations
SMO as Parachurch
SMO Examples
Review and Discussion Questions

Chapter 14. Cultural and Leadership Considerations
Cultural and Cross-Cultural Considerations
Jesus Adapts to Cultural Norms
Sports Ministry Application
Women as an Example of Cultural Norm
Discernment Implications
Defining Nonnegotiables
Support for One Another
Leader-Led Teamwork
Review and Discussion Questions

The hope of the Gospel is a universal message, and sports are arguably the universal language. Sharing the former through the latter is a powerful combination for changing lives. And for students with a heart for both, the field of sports ministry presents compelling career opportunities.

Until now, there has never been a college textbook devoted to the subject. With the arrival of Sports Ministry, college and university instructors have a dedicated text for educating students on the how-to process of developing viable sports ministry programs that share the Word and positively influence the world in which we live.

The book begins with a description of what sports ministry is and a historical overview of the sports ministry movement, including stories of prominent individuals and organizations past. Students will learn about the many sports ministries serving today at the local, national, and international levels, such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Athletes in Action, and Missionary Athletes International. Through each chapter’s Sports Ministry in Action and Interview With a Professional sidebars, students will get a glimpse into the lives and ministries of individuals and organizations working in sports ministry and learn about the career opportunities available in the field.

The underpinnings of sports ministry are evangelism and discipleship, and to that end students will learn various methods for Gospel communication within the sports context. The book also deliberates the intersection of sports and faith, weighing the positive and negative aspects of competition and whether competitive sport is compatible with faith. Included are six principles for making decisions regarding sport participation and a three-step process for using biblical precepts to determine ethical behavior in sport.

Chapters dedicated to finances, facilities, and legal considerations inform students on the corporate aspects of running a sports ministry program. These include the five main approaches for securing financial resources, a framework for planning and selecting the right facility, and strategies for mitigating risk.

The final section of the book looks at the implementation of sports ministry programs locally and internationally. Four common types of local church-based events are discussed—onsite, community, jaunt event, and short-term missions—with examples of each included. Students will gain an understanding of key administrative responsibilities for organizing international missions. The cross-cultural nature of sports ministry—both locally and abroad—requires students to cultivate an awareness of and respect for other cultures to foster friendship evangelism, essential to any successful sports ministry.

Sports Ministry is the definitive resource for building an effective sports ministry program. When done right, sport is a powerful platform that God will use to transform lives for His eternal purposes. With Sports Ministry, students will gain the knowledge and tools to share their faith and offer hope to others through the universal language of sport.

Textbook for courses in sport management or sports ministry at Christian and faith-based colleges.