Reaching kids for Christ: First Baptist bringing Bible-based sports camp to townWORTHINGTON — For five days in June, area kids will have the opportunity to improve their sporting skills and learn about Jesus Christ at the same time.
By: Beth Rickers, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — For five days in June, area kids will have the opportunity to improve their sporting skills and learn about Jesus Christ at the same time.
The Go the Distance Sports Camp, sponsored by Worthington’s First Baptist Church, will be offered June 14-18 at Prairie Elementary in Worthington. First Baptist is bringing in Uncharted Waters Sports Ministry, based in Colorado Springs, Colo., to offer this day camp opportunity.
“I experienced it in Forest Lake before we moved down here,” explained Doug Knudtson, associate pastor at First Baptist. “Our kids were part of it, and I volunteered with it. It was a high-energy week of learning sports skills. They use concepts, principles that coincide with sports and help with life, based on the Bible.”
According to its website, UW Sports Ministry “is an equipping ministry that enhances the vision of the Church by providing sports-related resources for the effective communication of the Gospel.” Knudtson and the rest of the staff at First Baptist thought a sports camp would be an effective community outreach for the church.
“It’s kind of like VBS with a sports orientation,” stressed Knudtson. “It’s a Bible-based curriculum that also teaches bona fide sports skills. It is a legitimate sports clinic, but then they also come together for music and stories based on popular people in sports.”
The theme for the 2010 camp is based on 2 Timothy 4:7-8: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
As part of the curriculum, each day’s lesson will correlate key qualities that give athletes the ability to “Go the Distance” with similar biblical principles that will help kids to “Go the Distance” in their daily lives. The five daily lessons are:
BE WILLING TO CHANGE: In any endeavor, there will come a time of evaluation as to whether you are going the right direction. To Go the Distance, sometimes a change is necessary. God can assist in that change.
ENDURE HARDSHIP: Everyone has hardships in life, and many times they are undeserved. But enduring (patiently suffering) through those hardships and realizing that God can use that hardship for his glory is crucial to Go the Distance.
KNOW HOW TO RENEW YOUR STRENGTH: In long processes of life, each of us must find ways to renew our strength to keep going. Everyone needs an off-season. Fortunately, we serve a God that never needs an off-season.
KNOW YOU CANNOT DO IT ALONE: Humans were created for community. We were not made to be all self-sufficient. To Go the Distance, we need others to come alongside and support us. The Christian needs to remember that Jesus will be with us always.
KNOW WHERE THE FINISH LINE IS: Remembering the goal of the project or process will help you Go the Distance. As Christians, we must realize that the goal is not a destination but a journey. The finish line is crossed every day we do things God’s way.
Three sports will be offered in Worthington: basketball for boys and girls ages 8 to 12; soccer for boys and girls ages 6 to 12; and cheerleading for girls ages 6 to 12. Space is limited to the first 150 campers.
“You can do other sports, but these are the ones we chose. It’s the base offering that they have as an organization and you could expand on that based on the talent you have in your church,” Knudtson explained.
If the sports camp is well received this year, First Baptist would consider offering it on an annual basis.
“The first year, they recommend bringing their team of experts in, then in following years you could do it yourself,” Knudtson said. “But I just talked to (one of the organizers) in Forest Lake, and she said they continue to bring in the team every year, that it’s well worth it.”
In addition to providing the camp curriculum materials, UW Sports Ministry brings in its team, which includes a head coach and coaches to oversee each sport.
“What we do as a church is recruit volunteers to be there and be relational to the kids,” Knudtson said. “We will have assistant coaches, who are age 17 and older, and junior coaches, ages 13 to 16, who will be paired up with an assistant coach. They will each interact with six to eight kids through the week — will basically have their own team — and will get to know the kids pretty well throughout the week.”
The volunteer coaches don’t have to be sports experts, Knudtson added.
“The key is to have a heart for kids,” he said.
There is a fee for the camp, although First Baptist is subsidizing the cost in order to keep it reasonable for local participants. Scholarships are also available through the church in order to make Go the Distance available to all local children.
In addition to the sports training, the fee will provide each child with a T-shirt, sports camp literature, daily snacks and an opportunity to win prizes.
Registrations for Go the Distance Sports Camp are needed by May 31. To register or for more information, call First Baptist Church, 376-9735, or go to the church’s website: www.fbcworthington.org.