This article is being written as we are getting ready for our Cleat Soccer Camp. I am so humbled by all the Lord has done through this camp! I would like to share a few practical observations about bringing the Great Commission to your community.
The gospel takes work. You might be saying, “Duh!” Think about the practical ramifications of that statement for a moment. Since the curse upon work in Genesis 3:17-18 work for the most part has been… well, a curse. It is not necessarily something enjoyable. It is something that must be done, a necessary evil. Unfortunately, that negative, and I should add un-biblical, attitude often influences our participation in evangelistic events. I love Paul’s words of encouragement to the Corinthian believers. “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV Did you notice that word “labor.” It is an interesting term. It does not necessarily speak of hard physical labor but more so of the weariness that comes from exertion. Paul reminds us that the work of bringing the message of Jesus to others takes work.
We held our first Cleat Soccer Camp in the summer of 2004. This year’s camp is our thirteenth. I have noticed over the years that Thursday seems to be the hardest. Why? Because everyone is weary. If we are not careful it is a time when the morale dips. Team members can become upset with one another for not pulling their weight, showing up late or leaving early or leaving extra tasks on your already full plate. It is easy to loose sight of the fact that you are supposed to be serving Jesus. Paul wrote to the Galatians about this same thing. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 NIV
I am writing to encourage you to be a player. I am writing to encourage you to get involved in ministry and stick with it. You can always find an excuse to leave the ministry to someone else but don’t. The old saying is true in the ministry- “Many hands make light work.” You need to expect that it will be hard and that you and others will grow weary. You should not be surprised when others bend under the weight of ministry too. Use this God given opportunity to be an agent of grace not of wrath because the gospel is at stake.
These verses also remind us to keep our focus on the goal. Both passages remind us that our labor for the Lord is noticed. They also remind us that it is worthwhile even though we may not be able to comprehend the value at the moment. Knowing that one child found Christ or that one family was re-established in the church makes all the effort of Soccer Camp worth it.
Holding a Soccer Camp is hard work but, for that matter, so is all ministry. Fifteen years of church planting ministry has taught me that fulfilling the Great Commission does not come easy. Let me encourage you to roll up your sleeves and get involved in ministry at church. Now is a great time to get plugged in! Paul reminds us that if you do the work there will be a harvest!