The significance of sports, recreation and overall physical health probably goes without saying, but when those important aspects of life are connected to a deep desire for spiritual health, churches can make a real impact for Christ.
CrossPoint Church in Trussville is meeting just such a need through a ministry where physical fitness and spiritual fitness meet. That type of outreach can have a big impact, which is what the church is seeing.
Brian Harris, minister of recreation at CrossPoint, explained how crucial he believes this type of ministry is to the community.
“Church recreation is a ministry of the church that provides sports, leisure activities and fellowship opportunities to help the local church accomplish its mission,” Harris said. “The mission of the recreation ministry at CrossPoint is to use sports, leisure activities and fellowship opportunities … to connect with God, His people and His plan. CrossPoint’s desire is to use the recreation ministry to bring in just one more to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.”
Harris noted people may not have heard of this type of outreach, but it’s actually been around for some time.
Evolution of ministry
“Sports ministry, activities ministry or church recreation, whatever the name, it is not a new ministry,” he said. “Church recreation has been around a very long time. In the 70s and 80s it was a lot of arts and crafts, camping activities and RA [Royal Ambassador] basketball. Just like other ministries of the local church, church recreation has evolved.”
Harris, who has been involved in CrossPoint’s ministry for nearly 15 years, is passionate about it, having grown up with a love of sports.
“My father, Jerry Harris, was on staff at Shades Mountain Baptist for over 30 years and the minister of recreation there for most of that time,” Harris recalled. “I grew up knowing what I wanted to do and that was to be a minister of recreation. Growing up in the home of a minister and being around the CLC [recreation building] at Shades Mountain … prepared me to fulfill my calling.
“I love sports. I love everything about sports and that includes pretty much all sports,” he declared. “To me, there was no greater job than becoming a recreation minister.”
Under his leadership, CrossPoint has grown to offer multiple sports. There is an array of activities, and everything is done with a purpose.
“Recreation ministry at CrossPoint is not complicated. We offer several events and programs, but not as many as some other churches,” Harris said, adding the church does so by design.
‘Offered with excellence’
“We wanted to make sure that what we offer we offered with excellence. Our biggest program … is our CrossPoint Basketball League. We have two gyms, which definitely helps us host a lot of basketball games.”
The church averages around 75 teams from CrossPoint and approximately 20 from area churches every season. Each plays all the games at CrossPoint, with 25 to 30 holding their practices there as well.
“We typically host around 300 basketball games a year,” Harris noted. “This is a great outreach tool for us because well over half of our participants on CrossPoint teams do not have a local church.
“We have seen many families come to CrossPoint over the years through our basketball league,” he added. “Our coaches are awesome and consider it a great opportunity to minister to families and to share the love of Christ with them. The basketball season lasts almost three months so they have a great chance to build relationships and share the gospel through the game of basketball.”
The recreation ministry also serves the community every day by making the recreation facility, called The Point, available. Harris explained that at The Point people can exercise and take a break from the busyness of life.
“Recreation or leisure activity should be part of each of our lives, but the reality is that it’s often the first thing that gets left out when life gets busy,” he noted. “The Point offers two gyms, a track, a fitness room and a game room for individuals and families to enjoy.
“Over the years we have been able to build some amazing relationships with members of our community.”
Basketball is not the only sport that has made made an impact for CrossPoint. The church has introduced pickleball and a disc golf course as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.
“During the pandemic we also decided to design and build a disc golf course on our campus,” Harris explained. “The popularity of disc golf grew during the pandemic, and we made the decision to build another course in our area. Since Humble Tree Disc Golf Course opened a year ago, we have hosted several hundred [who] have played over 2,000 rounds of disc golf.”
The most important aspect of CrossPoint’s recreation ministry, according to Harris, is its witness for Christ.
“The biggest impact I have seen is the lives changed and transformed by Jesus Christ,” he said. “Only God could use a basketball game, golf tournament, pickleball or disc golf to bring Him glory. If the local church can provide those activities all while telling them about Jesus, we can reach just one more to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.”
To learn more about CrossPoint’s recreation or other ministries visit crosspointchurch.info.
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