Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Why Volleyball?

The most important thing that volleyball provides me is a bridge to my students.

Why use Volleyball as a ministry tool? Why not some other activity?

Volleyball is unique in some ways among sporting activities.

Inexpensive: A net, a few poles, and a volleyball is all you need to start basic play. If you want expand to include antenna, lines, (outdoor) lights, sand or concrete, even these are much less expensive then some alternatives like turf for football or laying down tennis courts.
Volleyball is friendly for churches with limited space. If you have a 30' x 60' area, you can play volleyball. (Ideally a little larger for runoff area, say 50' x 80' but you get the idea.)

There are many great websites like this one that can help create your playing area.
Easy to Learn/Difficult to master (Not unlike the Christian Faith)
A True Team Sport, each player must depend on the other. (Not unlike the Body of Christ) Some sports can support solo players successfully, if you truly want to play volleyball successfully everyone has to work together. Solo acts can only take you so far.
Boys and Girls of any age and any athletic disposition can play and enjoy a game of volleyball and have a chance at victory if they focus on form and skills. This makes the game very open and inviting for everyone not just the super athletic.

A Fresh Approach to Youth Ministry 

Why use sports at all?
Sports provide several things to ministry. It lets you see how youth react to things in real time. When a point is lost, do they encourage each other or do they start being negative? Might be a great time to write a lesson on 1 Thessalonians 5:11. Do you have one player trying to hog the ball? That opens opportunity to talk about teamwork, generosity and ultimately, the selflessness of Christ. But in my ministry, the most important thing that volleyball provides me is a bridge to my students. It gives us a common topic, a common language to share. I am a recent college graduate, raised in a very conservative family and I am ministering to a youth group largely composed of "bus kids," students the church buses in each week who have little parental involvement in their spiritual lives. We have little in common, until you introduce volleyball. Suddenly, you are not just the Bible instructor, you are a friend, mentor and coach. Conversations started about bumping, setting, and spiking merge into others about Christ and all His Glory. Combining traditional youth group devotions with volleyball practice and scrimmage makes for a wonderful Christ honoring time that both youth and staff will enjoy greatly.  

We see a parallel in scripture with Jesus and His disciples. Jesus did not only arrive and begin dispensing wisdom verbally, he took twelve men and lived beside them, worked beside them. They were open with each other, they discovered each mans strengths and weaknesses and learned to grow and develop as a group. By working through the twists of regular sporting play, a group is grown, beyond the capacity of simply throwing words at them and expecting conformity. Live out respect on the court, live out encouragement on the court, work with your kids, play with your kids, show them who Christ is, and His Glory will shine.

Besides the higher spiritual benefits, volleyball also gives physical benefits! Do you have kids who are hyper? Let them dig from the back row a while and you will soon find them ready to sit and listen to a devotional at the end. Do you or some of your youth need to burn some calories? No better why to do it!

Why this blog?

With this blog, I intend to do several things. First, to provide myself an archive of past lessons. Second, I want to share these with other youth and children's ministers who wish to engage the kids in a new and different way. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.
Blessings on you all!
Travis H.