by Buffy Brown
We took our kids to Camp KidJam this summer, and when I opened my leader packet I saw an Upward Sports pen inside. I was curious as to what in the world Upward Sports had to do with Orange. Little did I know, that pen would be the catalyst for an outreach adventure our church would be on for the next few months.
Our church had been praying for ways to leave the building and connect with more families and kids in the community. Although we had little money, no field space, no corporate sponsors, and no experience, we prayed God would make a way for us to use soccer to meet new unchurched families in our community.
With a mowed down vacant lot, and a handful of committed church servants, we began our first Upward Soccer Season this past fall with over 100 kids. Around 85 percent do not attend our church! We even stepped out in faith and offered to pay the sign-up fee for any kid at our adopted school in a low-income area to play, and we had several families respond.
Orange and Upward are two powerhouse, professional ministries committed to impacting kids. Combining efforts to make an even greater influence on families (sound familiar?), these organizations have resourced our church with unique and easy way to involve church members with a very non-threatening missional project.
Read what one Upward parent says:
“Two of my daughters are playing in the Upward Soccer League this season and I want to share what an answer to prayer it has been! My older daughter played competitive/travel soccer for three years before becoming stressed out and burned out from the constant practices. She lost her love of soccer and was very discouraged about team sports. Upward was the change in attitude for her! She loves the non-competitive nature of Upward, loves the technique building practices, has really enjoyed meeting new friends, and has commented on how nice it is to not have anyone’s parents yelling at you.” – Misty Small, Wilmington, NC
If your church is looking for a way to build relationships with families in your community, try using Upward on the playing field, coupled with Orange in the church.
Buffy Brown is a children’s director at College Acres Baptist Church in Wilmington, NC. She is a pastor’s wife, and mother of three who loves all things Orange. www.collegeacres.org