Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

T-Ball Evangelism

Like many bloggers, I have a list of titles for future posts. As I went over the list yesterday, this one jumped out at me. Perhaps because fellow bloggers Trey and Bobby C. recently posted on a t-ball or softball theme or maybe because of the season, I don't know but today, it seems appropriate.

All children love to play ball. Baseball has been called "America's Favorite Pastime". Movies like "The Sandlot" use kids playing ball as the setting for their stories. During the Spring, one does not have to go far to find a field full of gloved kids, focused on the helmeted batter, or at least being yelled at by their coach, usually one of their fathers, telling them to pay attention to the child with the bat. Parents fill the stands, visiting, laughing and cheering on their children as they make plans to eat pizza after the game.
I will never forget the very first time one of my sons played t-ball. He was so excited. He was four years old and he and his friends had been talking about this day for quite some time. His dad got him a glove and helped him break it in, showing him how to wear it, how to catch with it, and how to take care of it after the game. Gameday came and off we went, the whole family and grandma too---off to the ball field. The coach was there along with two other dads, recruited to stand at first and third. The kids were assigned their positions. My son was placed just behind second base and was told to cover that area. Along with the other parents, we watched as the first ball was hit, it was a grounder and five children ran to retrieve it as the batter stopped at first base. The second batter took his position and hit the ball just inches from my son. My son, feet firmly planted, held out his arm with the mitt on the end, but the ball hit the ground six inches away. Again, children ran to the ball like ducks at a pond chasing bites of bread. The scene was repeated several more times, each time, my boy held out his glove and each time, the ball landed six or seven inches away. The game ended with him standing in the exact same spot he'd first been assigned. He had not moved any body part the entire game, except for the one arm with the mitt. That arm was thrust out to catch any ball coming within a two foot radius.
After the game, his daddy asked him why he didn't go after the ball. To which my son, with all the wisdom a four year old could muster replied, "I held out my glove but the ball didnt land there."
Sometimes I feel like we practice evangelism the same way. We have our church builidings, the sign outside tells the exact times of worship. We take special pains to make sure the lessons are uplifting and encouraging. We choose songleaders with good voices, who can read music and can effectively lead a group. We develop programs and classes that appeal to all age groups and genders. We have up to date electronic helps so that neither our classes nor our worship service will be boring. And yet . . .we don't get many visitors. Our seats are taken by the same folks who have sat there for the last 15 years. The only new faces are those of family members who have come to town for a visit. The only baptisms are the children who have grown up in the church and have now reached the age to make this decision. We all stand there holding out our glove but the ball just doesn't land there.
Just as my son had to learn to go get the ball, to dive for it if necessary, to position his glove where the ball was going to land, we need to learn to go get souls. We have to be out among the community, being involved in their lives, ministering to their needs, exampling Christ, and inviting them to worship with us. Even Jesus went from town to town. He could have stayed in Bethany with His friends Mary and Martha. But He went out to where the people were. His message, its the same as ours--"salvation has come". We have much to tell the world, much good news to share with them. But we have to get it out to them.
Every once in awhile, my son may have gotten lucky and the ball may have landed right in his glove without him moving an inch. But these instances would have been few and the number of lost balls in between would have been many. T-ball evangelism does not work. There are many lost souls---all of whom need us to do whatever it takes to bring them to salvation. It requires action on our part, desire to share the news with them, and a true faith that one day Jesus will return and we will be gathered up to our new home. Let's take our friends and neighbors with us.



Anonymous Scotti said...

Excellent analogy for me, a mother of two little leaguers! A great exhortation for us to get off the bench and out into the world with the love of Christ. Thank you!

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are so right---it would be easy to convert those who just happen to wander in the doors of the church---too bad no one is doing that -We must go get them.

Good job Neva


12:52 PM  
Anonymous lisa leichner said...

WHOA! I hadn't come up with such a great analogy, but I had recently been thinking about how I need to stop expecting the lost to come to me and instead to get out and find them myself. It's so hard to do that, but I know we need reminders and motivators such as your post to get us out there. Thanks, Neva!!

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, lets do it!


1:03 PM  
Blogger TREY MORGAN said...

We've been holding out our glove too long. We've been doing it by "turning on the lights" and "unlocking the building," and thinking, "why aren't people landing here?"

Great Point!

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have even heard congregations say things like they know we are here, when they need us they know where to find us. You are right this never works.
Great post


5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you really hit the nail on the head again. This is a big problem with us.

Interested Bystander

6:15 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Household: said...

Fun! We all need to get out of our 'ready' positions and really go for it.

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is true


7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember you telling that story. It is a very cute story and a very fitting analogy.
You are really good at this.
you should keep it up. (wink wink)


8:15 PM  
Anonymous nb said...

Great post!

Just remember to keep inviting people to be on the team. Some people don't even know the ballgame is going on.

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guilty as charged. But I will try and do better. i really have so many in my community who I want to come to church.


8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the idea of us being a part of a team and focusing on the lost ones outside the building. I dont really see a whole lot of conversions taking place inside the church builidng.

Good post

9:49 PM  
Blogger Don Neyland said...

My son played T-ball the same way.. I blame movies like The Sandlot and commercials where the ball always magically lands in the little kids glove AND HIS EYES ARE CLOSED!

Yep, evangelism where 3,000 magically show up to hear the preacher and "get baptized". I think we forget that there was a time when someone took the time to tell us the Old, Old Story and we didn't just show up one day.


1:05 AM  
Blogger Beba said...

I think now, how many times actually i had chance to share Gospels ( Salvation ) with others and i didn't do it, why? I was in hurry ( that is right ) but i could stop for a while... You are right! Catch the ball!

3:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No wonder we are not growing, we are just standing there waiting.
Hmmm. Not sure thats what it means when it talks about waiting on the Lord. We'd better get busy, huh?


7:16 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

That is an amazing analogy! That is a wonderfully put way of remindning us that we need to work to meet those who don't know Christ. Some may come to us, but we miss so many wonderful opportunities by waiting for them. I needed to hear this today- thank you

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We ought to do this better. We aren't ever going to be effective standing still. Evangelism is a verb.


5:22 PM  

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