Become a Fan of Your Congregation: A Basketball Game Shows You How
I admit it. I am not that into sports. But it’s not always been that way. When I was a kid, I loved listening to Vince Scully as he brilliantly called Dodger games on the RADIO (yes, I started listening to radio right after I stopped using Morse code, I’m that old). When I was in the 8th grade I bought a kit to self-pierce my ears (it was a thing back then too). One game between the Dodgers and Giants got so exciting that I pierced one ear in record time. Ah, such sweet memories. But that was then.
As an adult, I know that I should dislike sports for a variety of very good reasons: traumatic brain injury, bad behavior on and off court, coaches who yell incessantly, the list seems endless. But truth be told, I usually have to quit watching games because …I can’t handle the tension. I walk out of the room just at the last second, yelling, “Let me know how it turns out!”
But I might make an exception for this one basketball game.
The story is this: some kids at a private school, Vanguard College Prep, were scheduled to play basketball against a team of convicted juvenile felons at Gainesville State School in Texas. Knowing that the Gainesville players had no fan base, the Vanguard kids decided to show what it means to have a generous spirit. They convinced half of their fans to enthusiastically cheer on the Gainesville kids during the game. The results were heavenly.
This video says a lot about the way Christians should and – more often than not – do live their lives.
So many of our churches are doing the right thing. We are helping those who society turns away from – precisely the ones that Jesus embraced. We are working with the homeless, the hungry, recovering addicts, and juvenile felons. It’s not about patting ourselves on the back – Lord knows there's more work that needs to be done – it’s about recognizing and celebrating that the church is doing important work. We are striving to love the unlovable and be there for the people who are without hope who walk through our church doors. We are reaching out to our brothers and sisters in the community who need to know the tangible love of Jesus.
Have you mentioned lately how proud you are of your congregation?
Have you told your congregation that what they’re doing in the community matters?
No doubt, the Gainesville-Vanguard players and fans stood just a little taller, had a little weight lifted off their shoulders, and maybe floated out of the gymnasium…better people than when they entered. Precisely the way we hope people in our churches feel when they leave worship or a service project.
As one of the Vanguard players said, “We all need someone to believe in us.” “We all need someone who knows our mistakes and loves us anyway.” Why, that sounds down right Biblical. Your congregation needs you as its #1 fan. Go and cheer them on.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. For the record, she does not recommend piercing one's own ears. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.