I am sitting here asking myself, “Where has the past week gone?” It has been a busy week. It hit me that touching the lives of others involves work, actually hard work. Jesus modeled that in His life and I have experienced it too in serving Jesus, and so will you.
One of the many realities of being a follower of Jesus, especially as a church planter, is it is hard work. This past week was spent working on our summer community outreach, our Cleat Soccer Camp. This summer will mark our 14th year providing a Soccer Camp in our community. It is hard to imagine that this ministry began with a desire to touch kids and families in our immediate community. Cleat Soccer Camp is a blast! Yet, it involves an army of workers and an incredible amount of work. We have watched Soccer Camps come and go over the years, and I think I know why. They are hard work.
I was joking with those that helped count the postcard mailers for this year’s camp, that I could say, I literally handled 28,180 mailers. The truth be told I handled them at least twice and possible three times in the process of getting them into the mail. I handled 15 13” x 13” x 10” boxes weighing approximately 45 lbs each. The processed mailers fill 40 postal trays and just about fill a 6’ pickup bed to the rim. I share this to remind us that getting the message of Jesus to people takes work. And this is only one part of what it takes to do a community soccer camp. There is equipment that needs to be purchased like t-shirts and balls. There are registrations to be handled weekly, registration kinks that need to be worked out and about 140 players that need to be checked in the first day and each following day of camp. There are the snacks the have to be planned, purchased and donated, prepared and distributed each day of camp for about 160 people. There are the player pictures to be taken (about 140 in about 30-45 minutes). There are coaches, assistant coaches and helpers to be recruited. Last year, we, if my memory serves me correctly, had 14 teams each with a coach and an assistant coach. There is transportation and housing to be provided for our OCU college coach and players (we are planning on at least a team of 7 this year.) There are lunches to be made and dinners provided along with planning any extracurricular activities. There is also the training of the coaches, the occasional problems, and preparation for the daily devotional time. All of this is capped off with an Award Ceremony on Friday and a special Sunday service with a Cookout Picnic afterwards with an Adult vs Kids Game.
So why do we do this? We do it to touch lives and families for Jesus. And as you can imagine it takes work. What I would suggest is that any genuine ministry takes work, especially when it involves outreach. My recent study of the Gospels in our “Life Lessons” series reminded me that Jesus modeled this for us. And I count it a privilege to be able to serve Him in my part with Cleat Soccer Camp each year and the other responsibilities of serving Jesus. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
-Pastor Joe Parkinson