7 Ways to Share Your Life Through Sports
By: Tim Briggs
1. Spend time with the people you are trying to reach outside of the sport.
I have found that it is very difficult to have any deep or significant conversation in the midst of a game/sports activity. Nor is it much easier to have a significant conversation before or after the event. Connecting with people outside the sporting activity is essential. So, ask them out to lunch or invite them over to watch a game.
2. Ask good questions.
You’ll be surprised what a good question can do to open someone up. Stay away from one-word answerable questions. How and why questions are your best friends when trying to get to know people. If you are going to be dialoguing with someone about the gospel, it helps if you have a history discussing deeper questions. Use how and why questions to help bore down with a person.
3. Work in teams.
Doing this alone can be difficult, so find another believer (preferably one who is already involved in your sporting activity) to help you reach out to a non-believer.
4. Be vulnerable.
Vulnerability invites vulnerability. It helps to get deep with a person when discussing the gospel. Depth in a relationship prevents a spiritual conversation from being awkward because the person is not as guarded or defensive. Vulnerability naturally leads to trust. Trust leads to some great conversation. So, model vulnerability in the relationship.
5. Get your family involved.
When applicable, have your family get involved in the process. For example, if you are a man trying to reach out to another man, invite the other family over for dinner. Ask your wife to reach out and connect with your friend’s wife. Have the kids play with each other. Getting families involved makes the process of developing a relationship much easier.
6. Take an interest in what they are interested in.
Like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9, “To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law…To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”
Take an interest in what the person you are trying to reach out to is interested in. What college and pro sports teams do they follow? What is their occupation? What books do they read? Learn about what they love and learn to love what they love.
This can’t be underestimated. Pray for opportunities to connect. Ask for wisdom and discernment in how to connect with the person you are trying to reach. Ask God to give you clarity on what your role in the process should be.
The last thing I will mention is that these 7 things are useless without love. Without truly wanting to love the person you’re reaching out to, these will all seem like gimmicks. No one wants to feel like a project. If your goal though is to love the person no matter how he responds to your attempts to engage with him/her spiritually, that person will be able to sense this. People want to be cared for, not to be sold something. So ask yourself this humbling question, are you willing to invest time in a person and love them even if they don’t become a believer? Or, are you just merely looking to make a notch in your evangelism belt to avoid some guilt? It makes a difference.
Tim Briggs is the creative media pastor at Church at Charlotte in Charlotte, NC. He blogs regularly at Church Sports Outreach, www.csosports.org.