If you have been around church and baseball, I am sure you have heard the joke about, “In the Beginning.” I wanted to take some time to expound on some observations I have made lately from coaching baseball in our community in Rockaway Beach. Our church runs an athletic ministry. We have a baseball field on our campus and batting cages in our worship center. We currently have over 60 kids enrolled in our baseball/softball programs. It has been a joy introducing kids from our rural community to the game of baseball and I have learned a lot from this opportunity over the years! Watching the kids grow in confidence and in their relationship with Christ while having fun playing a sport is one of the coolest parts about our summer ministries.
Coaches are Hard to Find
We have a great staff of coaches at Bridge of Faith and I am thankful to serve alongside them. I watch as kids in rec programs don't have access to coaches like I had as I grew up. We compete in a league at the Branson rec plex. The structure of the is league is that most kids sign up already drafted on a team. A couple teams in the league consist of kids signed up through the rec league. It could be that this structure is best for our area, but I have watched as kids’ rec leagues have moved the direction of signing up as teams and not as individuals. There are some positives to this approach; but, let me share with you what I see happening: I see kids that are talented being drafted by one team. The reason these kids are talented is because they have someone working with them at home and training them in the game. These families that I just described work to get on teams were the kids share the same experience.
So, what you often have is a team of 12 players that have parents who have the capability to coach a team just coaching their kid on a team of 12 other kids. This parent turns their focus away from coaching a team and focuses simply on coaching their kid.
Gone are the days were all the parents with coaching ability signed up to coach and the kids were drafted by all the coaches. This helped to split up the coaches and train more kids in the game of baseball.
Churches Struggle to Find “Coaches”
What does any of this have to do with the church? In my observation, the same thing is taking place within the church. Church members who are fully capable of teaching or leading a "small group" are joining "teams" or other small groups. The most "talented" churches recruit some of the most talented families to meet together weekly. Just as in baseball, the family capable of coaching a team or leading a small group is now focused on just their family. Ministry is often limited to growing the same people deeper in the Word rather than seeking people who are far from Jesus and sharing with them the love of Jesus. What if we could bring back the days of those who are educated in Scripture are spread out to train up those who don't have knowledge of Scripture. What kind of growth would we see?
What happens if baseball coaches and programs continue to go this direction? What happens if trained Bible teachers don't spread out? Keep checking back for more observations between baseball and church
Author: Jonathan McGuire, Lead Pastor of Bridge of Faith Community Church
Unique mission trip opportunity in the Ozark hills!
Bridge of Faith Community Church recently hosted a now bi-annual, “Gonna Be” tour. This near three-hour event includes small seminars about the history and rich heritage of the lake town, Rockaway Beach, and its surrounding areas. In addition to the mini talks, it also includes appetizers on the deck of the White River Coffee Company, a bus tour through the Ozark hills in the Rockaway area, insights to the needs of people living in this historic region, and much more.
An autumn tour will be scheduled, and churches and potential investing partners (individuals or businesses) are invited to inquire about attending the free tour to discover a unique, sobering, authentic mission field right in the midst of the Ozarks!
What You Can Expect
Starting off early evening, appetizers and cool drinks are offered while a small talk is given from a lady who was born on the Bridge of Faith Village property! She actually lived in the house that is now the Paxton Home, and later lived in the BoF Thrift Store! Attendees can get a glimpse into the fun, prosperous past of Rockaway Beach and Lake Taneycomo, and then discover later how the area began to take a downturn for the worse. Over the next decades, addiction, lack of opportunity, and hopelessness would consume many in this area. As Bridge of Faith entered the scene in the early 2000's, a lot of work would need to be done to rebuild the area physically and spiritually. One brick at a time, and one person at a time, much progress has been made; but, much more progress is still left to go.
The next phase of the tour includes a sightseeing tour on a bus where attendees will be able to catch a first-hand look into the reality of the current living situations for many in these Ozark hills. For hundreds, life is grim; and, for some, running water and electricity are a goal. Most are searching for opportunity.
The tour will continue with another small talk from a lady who has a history steeped in Rockaway Beach who helped to ensure that Rockaway Beach would always have a Bible-teaching church in the small town. This is followed by an earnest discussion hosted by the Bridge of Faith pastor, Jonathan McGuire.
Tours are given of the greenhouse, The Village property, which is in a stage of rebuilding, and more. Testimonials, stories of local needs and victories are shared, and the tour ends the night with a dinner and invitation to invest and partner with Bridge of Faith to transform generations that transform communities here in the Ozarks.
More than Anticipated
At the recent Gonna Be Tour, we heard the following comments:
"This feels like a mission trip!"
"I never knew all this information...so rich in history!"
"I saw a property that would make a great business."
"This is far more interesting than I imagined; I am eager to learn more and do more."
"We're looking forward to getting involved."
If your church or business is interested in domestic missions, Rockaway Beach is planted right in the middle of the heartland. It is rich with Ozark Mountain history, and has a unique small-town lake heritage. Once, the premiere place to vacation in the Midwest, Rockaway Beach, MO is now struggling to get back on its feet, and we invite you to be a part of this hope-filled endeavor through partnerships, or through scheduling a mission trip to work alongside church members to rebuild the area physically and spiritually, through practical care, building endeavors, and through hands-on ministry.
The Gonna Be Tour is a fundraising tour to help the church continue to make restoration advances; and, we greatly desire to develop long-term collaborative relationships with other churches and businesses within and outside the Ozarks.
Schedule to join a tour: The fall date for the Gonna Be Tour is TBA. To get put on the invitation list or to inquire about the tour, please email email@example.com with "Gonna Be" as the subject line.