This past week I attended the CSRM Summit and attended a workshop from Greg Linville on assimilating people from your sports ministry into the church. One of the things Greg discussed was the paradigm of the words believe, behave, become, belong.
Traditionally, for a person to be “accepted” by a church, they must (in order):
Believe: Trust Christ
Behave: Have Godly behavior
Become: Grow in Christ and be changed from the inside-out
Belong: Join the church
Should this be the correct order though? How would this process affect Millennials (18-29) and how they view the world? What order should these four words be in for a sports ministry? Should the order be any different (more broadly) for your church? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
For the life of me, I can’t quite remember the order that Greg offered up but here’s my current thinking: In a sports ministry, a person should (in order):
Belong: A non-believer needs to feel welcome and “come as they are” or else–they won’t stay! Who would want to under those circumstances! Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t boundaries (and perhaps I’ll deal with those at a later post) but if you desire to use sports to reach lost people, you’re going to need to tolerate some behavior that may not be “normal.”
Believe: Belief drives behavior. It also drives life change (becoming). Therefore, belief has to come second. In your sports ministry, you can ask people to conform to a certain behavior before believing but that’s a small victory. It’s an artificial change at best. I would rather people change their behavior as a result of coming to Christ as opposed to do it out of respect.
Become: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone the new has come.” ‘Becoming’ is Christ changing you from the inside-out. Remember, it’s a process and we never ‘arrive.’ We’re all in process.
Belong: This is where assimilation happens. If the previous three things have happened with a non-believer through your ministry–AMEN! Remember though, Christ called us to make disciples–not just converts. Discipleship requires time, presence, and a community and all of those are found in the local church. The church was God’s idea, not ours, and He’s ordained it to be His organism for life change.
What are your thoughts?