VBS theme creates opening for Sports Crusaders’ ministry
JEFFERSON CITY – The unveiling of “Game Day Central: Where Heroes are Made!” as the theme of this year’s Vacation Bible School (VBS) has opened up an opportunity for Sports Crusaders, the Holts Summit-based camp and training ministry founded by Bobby Shows, to partner with individual churches in their VBS programs.
The sports theme of this year’s VBS is meant to “get kids in the game and help them learn how to become heroes both on and off the field by focusing on Jesus and following God’s plan for their lives.” Sports Crusaders has been doing just that since 1994, so tying a ministry that is “on mission through sports” to the 2007 Southern Baptist VBS is a natural.
“We’re pretty flexible,” said Chris Sisk, public relations director for Sports Crusaders. “Probably the best thing we can offer the VBS is just allow them to see that we’re missionaries right here locally. We can provide speakers and let them see firsthand how sports can make an impact even beyond right at the doorstep, into other countries.”
Sisk, 28, is a former Missouri Baptist College basketball player who has been on staff with Sports Crusaders for two years. He is a typical member of the seven-member staff in that he enjoys working in the sports camp ministry setting where Sports Crusaders is particularly effective, seeing 450 children come to Christ in United States camps in 2006. Sisk, who was a three-year starter in college as a 6-foot-5 forward/center, has a heart to use his athletic ability as a means to sharing his faith.
“Obviously being a little bit taller, kids are sometimes intimidated, but as soon as you get down on that knee and show them that you love them and you care about them and you’re there to hang out with them, they open up to you,” Sisk said.
His difficult family background helps him communicate as well. Sisk was a foster child for eight years, so he is particularly sensitive to any wounded eyes he might see.
“I can relate to a lot of different kids, which is nothing more to me than another opportunity to share about my Lord’s greatness and the things that He can do through a lot of different situations,” Sisk said. “Anytime you go through hard times, people want to know, is there somebody out there who really cares, who really loves me? If we can somehow tell them about the greatest love that we’ve found in Jesus Christ, then kids are going to respond to that.”
The main work of Sports Crusaders is to send about 50 college staff out into camp and training ministry opportunities, mainly in the summer, in five different sports areas—baseball/softball, basketball, cheerleading, soccer and volleyball. Besides camps, the ministry adapts in various local settings to do conferences, seminars, rallies, retreats and sports revivals.
“Our whole purpose is to find a common ground through sports and share Christ through that,” Sisk said.
The VBS theme for 2007 is being spread with the slogan, “the game is on and excitement is in the air.” Sports Crusaders knows all about the importance of talking that language as it pertains to the conversion of souls.
“We want to be able to use sports as a tool,” Sisk said.
Sports Crusaders is supported by the Missouri Missions Offering.