Pancake Tuesday?

I don’t care for grocery shopping. There are too many temptations, and some of the stuff may go bad before I can enjoy it. I make a list and then venture off the list in the candy, ice cream, and chips sections. When I check out, the cashier politely asks me if I found everything I need. I reply that I found numerous things I didn’t need but bought anyway.

A few years ago, I decided to eat everything already in my refrigerator or cabinets and not shop until they were empty. When I came down to only having a cake mix and a can of cream of mushroom soup, I decided this plan wasn’t all that smart. I went shopping at that point.

The idea of getting rid of things already in possession is not new to me. There is a tradition of doing just that in what we know as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, which is the holiday that always happens the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten Season.

Lent never was emphasized during my faith upbringing. My limited understanding of the Lenten Season was it was a time people gave up a bad habit. I jokingly say it’s because, being a good Southern Baptist during those years, I would never volunteer to give up anything enjoyable. I never connected the idea of adding prayer, fasting, or giving up a good habit to spend more time with God or adding something like compassion for the poor to my life. I understood Fat Tuesday as the day to do what you wanted before repenting of it during Lent.

So, forgive me for being this old today before realizing that today is also known as Pancake Tuesday. It’s worse than me just now learning this fact. I purchased a book over thirty years ago, which told Pancake Tuesday’s story beginning in the fifteenth century. It benefits education if I read the book after the purchase. Being a lover of the fried treat, I might have paid more attention to the day before Ash Wednesday. When I dine on the delicacy in a famous country-style restaurant, the crispy crust reminds me of the one in Grandma’s pancakes. Other favorite pancake restaurants feature the picturesque golden-brown finish. 

Recently some of my grandchildren visited. For breakfast, we made pancakes. The kids told me they wanted to help. I was concerned about how well they’d flip the pancake, but they were more proficient at it than I was. Pancakes are a traditional treat I enjoy with all of my grandkids.

My pancake recipe book tells me that pancakes are also known as Johnnycakes, Flannel Cakes, Hoe Cakes, Flapjacks, Griddle Cakes, and in other countries Palacsinta (Hungarian), Pfannkuchen (German), Crepe (French), Platter (Swedish), Po-ping (Chinese), Blini (Russian), and Pannekoeke (Dutch). I look forward to traveling and experiencing pancakes around the world.

I tell one of my favorite childhood stories about pancakes in my first book, Characters of the Bible, where my dad cooked a golden-brown pancake on a church-sponsored camping trip for boys. The normal color of pancakes on these campouts would make you call them “Blackened Pancakes.” In the book, I compared the golden-brown pancake of my father to Aaron’s golden idol. It was admired equally as much. While my dad was bragging about his featured flapjack to the other leaders, my older brother stole it and ate it. 

The day’s celebration began when Pope St. Gregory, in or around 600 A.D., prohibited the eating of meat and animal products during Lent. People would make pancakes to use up their supply of eggs, milk, and butter. In my thinking, that’s forty days without grocery shopping. 

Of course, this day is not about getting rid of supplies or getting in as much sin as one can before forty days of purity. Instead, this day is a day about preparation. Abraham Lincoln said, “I will get ready and then, perhaps my chance will come.” John Wooden, the most successful college basketball coach in history, said it this way, “Once the opportunity arrives, it’s too late to prepare.” 

So, on this Pancake Tuesday, what preparations will you make for not only the next forty days but for the next forty years? What part of your life will you “flip” to sense God’s presence in a stronger way your life? Our preparations are not just to give up something for Lent or add a benefit to others but also to prove that God is sufficient for all we need. 

I hope and pray you’ll enjoy some hotcakes today and that the idea of using up supplies to prepare for a lifelong spiritual journey doesn’t “crepe” anyone out. 



Stevens, D. )1992). Waffles, Flapjacks, Pancakes, Blitzes, Crepes, Frybread from Scandinavia and Around the World. Penfield Press.

It Takes Just One

In my senior year in high school, the speech and debate squad conducted the election of officers. Oddly enough, I don’t remember what position I sought, nor who was running against me, but I do remember voting for myself. To avoid voter fraud, our coach, Jack Tuckness, had everyone sign their ballot. With the vote count completed, the coach declared I had won by one vote and said something about there being a lesson in politics with that vote. I may have been the only person to understand his reference.

As we are in our country’s voting season, every advertisement calls for every registered voter to vote. It is an essential component in a democracy and is how “the one” can express his or her voice. In close elections, it may take just one vote to make the difference. I hope you feel as good as I do about being that important of a cog in the mechanics of democracy. Your voice is incredibly important. There is power in the one.

I had the joy of serving in the recreation ministry at five different churches for twenty-five years. At that time, I remember planning all sorts of carnivals, sports leagues, craft classes, puppet teams, clown troupes, camping adventures, and fitness classes. When I look back, however, I don’t recall how successful the events may have been. Instead, I remember the people who were involved in those events. I think of the camp counselor that influenced a young man or a young lady while they were in their cabin. Or the coach who helped one of his or her team work through some difficult times as they grew up. The critical part of the programs I led was not how many teams or how many people attended an event. The important part was how individuals, who worked with me, impacted and influenced people one at a time. God gives us all a certain number of people in our lives. With some, I have to realize; I may be the only Christian influence in their life. I must remind myself that it takes just one to make a difference.

I’m afraid, too often, that people minimize their worth to this world. I often wonder about how much of an impact I made or how much influence I shared. Part of the problem is that our culture creates importance in celebrity status. The emphasis on celebrity establishes the idea that only a few may influence the many. I minimize any impact I can have on another because I’m not an athlete, actor, and politician that speaks to the masses. Don’t let celebrity minimize your effectiveness in this world. Even celebrities need people like you and me influencing others one at a time. After all, it takes just one to make a difference.

Although Billy Graham is now in Heaven, he is still recognized and known for his large gatherings to worship and hear the Gospel. I attended one of these rallies in Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, in the 1960s. To see a stadium full of people was quite the sight for a youngster like me. For many reasons, Graham became a celebrity who people looked to for insight and influence.

Graham would get large crowds all over the world. Many people don’t realize that the people in attendance, who needed Jesus, were brought to the rally by someone they knew. Graham may have attracted some on his fame, but most of the crowd that decided to follow Jesus at the rally were there because someone brought them. You see, at times, it takes just one to make a difference in someone’s life.

Tim Tebow has gained significant notoriety for his “Night to Shine,” a prom for teens with special needs. All over the nation, churches and groups participate in these events. While Tebow is the driving force behind the event, the participants receive love and attention from the volunteers who work at the event. You see, it takes just one to make a difference in someone’s life.

Years ago, the church I attend in Oxford, Mississippi, had Tim Tebow speak at our church. Tebow was in town with the Southeast Conference Network to cover the Ole Miss football game. Our pastor, Pat Ward, was able to pull a few strings and book him for our two Sunday morning services. Both services turned into significant attendance efforts. The church staff moved the children from their room to allow for an overflow viewing. The change in rooms meant I was not needed to give the Bible story for the children. The church set additional chairs in every place possible to host the numerous visitors coming in. I felt a little put out.

The skepticism and cynicism of Celebrity Christianity grew strong in me that day. I’m not much of a fan of Celebrity Christianity, to begin with, because individuals do more to minister to others than a famous face can. I sarcastically asked our Discipleship Pastor, Don Ross, if we could get the same crowd if Jesus were to show up and then pointed out, “Oh, wait. Jesus is here every week when some of these people are not.”

I then asked Don if I were to touch the hem of Tebow’s blue jeans, would I be able to play college football. Don encouraged me to start praying. I left and went to a church I once attended, where the pastor spoke on the jealousy King Saul had for David. I realized the reason I don’t like Celebrity Christianity. It’s because I’m not a celebrity. Tebow led two excellent services and continues to influence those who God gives him in his ministry. Even with Tebow, it just takes one to make a difference.

Jesus, at times, dealt with large crowds such as the sermon on the mount or the feeding of large crowds. His teaching in the Temple and elsewhere brought in great crowds. However, He also did a lot of work with individuals. In the song, Jesus Christ Superstar, Judas’s character is questioning Jesus and says, “If you’d come today, you could have reached a whole nation. Israel in BC had no mass communication.” Jesus knew that it takes just one to make a difference. The ministry to the masses takes place one person at a time.

Jesus knew that it takes just one. Like Phillip introducing Nathanael to Christ or Andrew bringing his brother, Simon Peter, to meet Jesus, the work of God is carried out by each of us (John 1: 35-50). Sometimes, one person at a time.

In my desire to be a celebrity, I always wanted to be in a place where I could influence a thousand people at one time. Instead, God allowed me to influence a thousand people one at a time.

It takes just one to make a difference.

My Greatest Leadership Trait

Recently, I posted on a social media site the P.T. Barnum quote, “The noblest art is that of making others happy.” ( My younger brother commented, “Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others, whenever they go.”

I jokingly tell people I’m the latter of my brother’s statement.

The youth group I grew up in at First Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri, had a reunion a few years ago. I was one of two people at the reunion that was a part of the youth group and had also come back to serve on the church staff. During the Saturday evening banquet, I served as the Master of Ceremonies. I introduced myself by saying, “It’s an honor to be with you. I had the joy of being in this youth group as well as serving this church on ministry staff. I think the church was glad to see me go both times.”

The statement got some laughter, which was all I was after.

In reality, there may be some truth to bringing happiness upon departure. I’ve resigned from numerous positions in my career. In most of the situations, they immediately or eventually hired someone that took the organization to places I never dreamed of going. While serving that same church that held the reunion, I started a summer day camp and an after-school program for children in the neighborhood around the church. When I left to serve a church in the Memphis, Tennessee area, Blake Hayworth, my associate minister, took over as the recreation minister. Blake, with a loving heart for all people, expanded the ministry of the after-school and summer programs leading to a Saturday evening worship service for the community. I genuinely believe Blake’s departure hurt the recreation ministry of the church more than mine did.

I served in my next church for over five years, and when I resigned from my position, the associate recreation pastor, John Longworth, was promoted into the job. John has a fantastic sense of creativity and is detailed thinking when it comes to putting programs together. He has faithfully led the recreation ministry at this church for twenty years. Recently, John served as the Executive Chair for the Board of Trustees with CSRM. John carried this church through some rough patches and has kept the ministry going forward.

When I think of the leaders that succeed me, I tend to think of the story in 1 Samuel 18 where Israelite troops return home after David had killed Goliath and the ladies of the community were dancing and singing, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” (1 Samuel 18:7 NLT)

Saul’s anger rose with the hearing of this song, and at that point, began to plot how he could keep his eventual successor from taking the throne. I’ve heard that good leaders don’t leave until they know the organization is in good shape, or they know the successor is coming. Saul failed at this trait; however, Moses didn’t quit until Joshua was ready to take the reins. John the Baptist lessened his influence when he saw that Jesus started to proclaim the good news on His own.

In my first book, Characters of the Bible, I refer to John the Baptist releasing his position so that people would follow the true Messiah. “John had learned the lesson on how to lose gracefully. Just as a teacher develops a lesson plan to keep students on a learning path, John had a lessen plan. He would slowly disappear from the limelight and allow Jesus to get all of the attention. John understood and accepted the fact that someone better was on the way.” (COTB, p. 125)

Two years ago, CSRM faced a dilemma. Our Executive Director had resigned after nine months of leadership to begin a marriage counseling ministry, which was more in line with how God had wired him. The Board of Trustees voted to place me in the position as an interim, knowing I could perform the work without the need for remuneration. It was a win-win of sorts, in that I can count my work with CSRM as a service component of my faculty duties at the University of Mississippi.

Fast forward those two years, and we find my strength of departure once again a benefit. Nearing retirement, I told the board that in September of 2021, I would step down as the Executive Director. We formed a search team consisting of two long-time board members, Chris Lovette and Dwight McDowell, and the Executive Chair, John Longworth. Their search brought them full circle back to our current staff. They discovered our Director of Church Relations, Dan Stoffer, has some amazing visionary and leadership skills which should propel the ministry of CSRM into the future.

So, once again, the best thing I can do is get out of the way. During this next year, Dan and I will work together so that he is in the best shape to take over one year from now. I know we can count on your prayers, and possibly financial support to assist Dan in the years to come. I’ve signed up for both support mechanisms already. You will find more information about Dan on our website,–full-bio.html.

It won’t be long before the churches, and the people we work with will be saying, “David has ministered to his thousands, and Dan to his tens of thousands.” I look forward to that day!

Rising to the Occasion

The best donut I ever had was from a Mom and Pop shop in Natchez, Mississippi. Don’t go there. They closed shortly after I moved out of that town. You can draw whatever correlation you wish with the timing of my departure and their closing. There were other donut shops in town, but as one of the custodians said, “The others are too doughy.”

It was a regular occurrence for me to pop into the recreation center of First Baptist Church with a dozen of the glazed delicacies. The two custodians for the church, Mike Stewart and David Jackson, and I would enjoy a coffee break with one or two donuts. One of the kids from the youth group was majoring in recreation at Ole Miss and chose to do his internship with us. He quickly became part of the Donut Brigade. Occasionally, one of the other staff members might pop in and have one if there were any left following our coffee break.

The Mom and Pop shop was also a regular visit for me on Saturdays. My three sons were up at the crack of dawn, so I’d get up and let their mother sleep late. I’d make a quick run to the donut shop and pick up a dozen. Of course, I’d give in to temptation and enjoy a warm donut on the way home. I would try to convince my sons that the Mom and Pop of the shop didn’t know how to count well. I don’t think I ever fooled the boys.

On one journey to the shop, I figured out a way to have a donut before getting home with the donuts for the boys. I’d buy the dozen, which came in a box and order two extra in a sack to enjoy on the trip home. The first and only time I tried it, I walked into the house and proudly asserted that all twelve donuts were in the box, which was proof-positive that I didn’t eat any on the way home. I was confident I got away with it until my oldest pointed out that I had some donut sugar on the corner of my lips.

After moving from Natchez to Springfield, Missouri, I returned to Natchez with my wife at the time to sign papers on the sale of the house. I told Lola I wanted to make one more donut stop before heading out of town. As I pulled into the parking area next to the donut trailer, the donut mom poked her head out of the window and screamed, “David Waddell! Where have you been?”

It was at that point; my wife realized I was making more than my Saturday visits to the shop.

While in Springfield, I started tutoring a third-grade young man in math, which may come as a surprise for those that know my lack of math skills, but I figured as a grown man with a Master’s degree I could handle third-grade math. The school’s location was one block away from a national donut chain. I would offer my assistance to the child and then reward myself with a donut to consume on the way back to church.

One time I returned, and my associate minister of recreation, Blake Hayworth, asked if I went to the donut shop following the tutor session. I wondered why he would ask such a question. He pointed to my mouth and commented that I had a little bit of the whipped cream filling above my upper lip.

To say donuts have caused me both joy and trouble would be an understatement. I read in an old Farmer’s Almanac this statement relating donuts to favorite Bible verse, “And he shall separate them as far as the yeast is from the waste.” (The actual verse is, “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103:12 NLT). Another famous saying is, “A second on the lips is a lifetime on the hips!” – Unknown origin

My experiences with donuts bring to mind another Bible verse. Those would be the words of Numbers 32:23b come to mind, “you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” (NLT). Whether it’s a lifetime on the hips, unwiped sugar on the lips, or being screamed at from the window, I never seem able to hide the sneakiness of donut consumption.

A former pastor of mine, Sam Shaw, used to say, “If we cover our sin, God exposes it. If we expose our sin, God covers it.” Openness, accountability, and honesty with a trusted circle of friends are valuable in fighting the hiddenness of our sin. When our thoughts and deeds are out in the open, sin loses its power on us.

So, my confession today is I bought some donuts. I had to go to the office, so I shared some donuts. Then I got a cup of coffee and ate the remaining donuts. Don’t worry; I made sure none of the sugar remained on my lips.

Happy National Donut Day!



Making Memories

It was one of those awkward internet first dates. We sipped on our hot coffee and, in between the sips, we shared a little bit about ourselves with each other. She asked what I did for a living, and I told her, I was an instructor of sport and recreation administration at Ole Miss.

She asked, as if it were all one word, “What’s a sportandrecreation?”

Being in this field, I’m used to the follow-up question. There were times I would share what I was doing for the church as a sport and recreation minister to my father and he would always ask, “And, they pay you for this?”

I explained to her that in my previous career I organized sports leagues, craft classes, puppet teams, fitness classes, theater productions, outdoor recreation events, and was in charge of a recreation center and a four-field outdoor sports complex. I told her the students in my classes to learn how to do the same thing.

She then asked me, “So, what do they do all day?”

I asked her if her children had played sports when they were younger. She nodded that they had. I asked about specific details of putting together a game such as a fully stocked concession stand, bases being out, umpires behind the plate, coaches being present, and other items. When she replied that all of that occurred, I told her that’s what a sport and recreation leader would do.

I sensed she was not impressed when she said, “Oh, I see. Well, it’s certainly not rocket science.”

There was not a second date. In a way, she is correct as it isn’t rocket science. It’s more valuable than that.

I went to high school with a guy that ended up working for NASA. He was one of the most brilliant minds I’ve ever known. When I read his posts on social media or talk to him at various high school reunions he never talks about how rocket science helps people know true peace, gain direction in life, or experience love. Those in Sports, Recreation, and Fitness (SR&F)  Outreach Ministries offer these opportunities all the time.

In my introductory class for sport and recreation majors, I ask them to think of a favorite childhood memory. The answers include playing a sport as a child, being involved in music or drama, or going camping with their family. No one ever mentions making a good grade in Algebra or having his or her tonsils out. Most, if not all, responses over the past twelve years have always had something to do with a leisure activity.

The programs offered through SR&F Outreach Ministries in our churches provide people in our communities with a chance to see Jesus through coaches, teachers, and instructors. Through a “simple” leisure activity, one has the opportunity to discover the love of God in their own life. Beyond that wonderful truth, the activities offered also provide some of the greatest memories that people share and enjoy the rest of their lives.

Whether it was a memorable coach, going snow skiing for the first time, or seeing “before and after” pictures of a fitness course, programs in sports, recreation, and fitness live on forever with our participants.

For all those that volunteer or earn a living providing memory-making programs that help people develop Jesus-shaped lives, we thank you!

Procrastinator: A”Pear”ently Someone’s Talking to Me

What’s in a Name

It was my freshman year of college. I sat in the English 101 writing class, never dreaming at that point that I would be the author of three books someday. My writing skills at that point in my life barely got me through high school. The professor asked about previous writing experiences. I told him of mine in high school and said, “The main problem with my writing is that I write like I talk.” After hearing me say a few sentences, I got the idea that the professor agreed with me.

One of the assignments was to write a short story on the meaning of our names. My first and middle name was easy as they are biblical names. James means brotherly, and David means beloved. The last name took some research. One derivation of the name, the source stated was that Waddell came from a mustard plant in Scotland called the “Wadel.” My conclusion to the paper was that James David Waddell meant brotherly and beloved hot stuff. According to the grade assigned by the professor, I got the idea he was even in more agreement with the original summation of my writing skills.

In biblical times names were attributed to personalities. When bad times hit, Naomi (pleasant) changed her name to Marah, which means bitter. Jacob’s name, which meant deceiver, was changed to Israel, or “a man who wrestles with God.” This passion for names and meanings claimed one of the chapters of my first book, Characters of the Bible: Finding My Stories in Their Stories. The chapter is titled: “Jacob: Roll Call! What’s in a Name.” I have been intrigued throughout history with great names. My oldest son had a friend in junior high by the name of Justin Case. We had a doctor in Springfield, Missouri by the name of M.D. Bonebrake. A Texas governor with the last name Hogg christened his daughter with the name, Ima. It was this passion for names along with an enjoyment of puns that led me to study the different names of coffee shops in churches.

Here are a few that got my attention:
Holy Grounds Coffee House
The Beanadiction
Higher Grounds
Son Bucks
Solid Grounds

When it comes to names for sports, recreation, and fitness centers in churches, I see a different tactic portrayed here. Most call themselves the Recreation Center. The facilities I worked with during my days as a practitioner had the names Activities Building, Family Life Center, Christian Life Center, and the last one I worked in was called the “ROC,” which stood for Recreation Outreach Center. So, what can the name “recreation center” tell us about the churches that house such facilities and ministry programs? Well, recreation comes from the Latin word recreatio, which means refreshes or restores. 1In that mindset, we program activities and events in a refresher center or center of restoration, which is a correct description of what we do. Through sports, recreation, and fitness ministry programs we offer the opportunity for the refreshment of what this life offers through the basics of the cathartic release of stress and the refreshment of our bodies improving in stature.

These ministry programs also serve to provide the hope of restoration through faith in Jesus Christ. Some of my early mentors would spell the word “re-creation.” They would point out the verse in 2 Corinthians 5:17 which states, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” (New Living Translation) In 1993 the organization, Association of Church Sports and Recreation Ministers was created. In the time since that beginning, the name has stood for a group of people sold on serving and assisting the local church in providing leadership and resources for paid staff and volunteers serving Christ and their churches in sports, recreation, and fitness ministries. While some may see us as a “parachurch” organization, our mission has always been to support the local church body, which is why the word, “Church” appears in our name. It was our mission in 1993 and continues to be our mission in 2019.

Bad Call!

The Farther I Go the Behinder I Get

I write this one week before the Board of Trustees and CSRM staff meet for their annual fall meeting. Having served on the board, I know the time we gather will be great for praying, planning, and relationship building. It will be the first fall meeting that I will lead as Executive Director. An agenda is set, and I think we’ll be able to praise the past while looking forward to the future.

To discuss this move forward, I’d like to share a story from the chapter, “The Reluctant Followers: Thar She Plows” in my first book, Characters of the Bible: Finding My Stories in Their Stories.

My career has, however, given me great insight to teach future recreation leaders about leadership, programming, and facility management. I’m presently in a class that deals with recreation facilities and fields. We look at how to design them and how to maintain them. A few weeks ago, the topic was baseball and softball fields. I remember my days at the First Baptist Church of Natchez, Mississippi, where we had two softball fields on church property. I generally do well to avoid actual work in my jobs. My philosophy of leadership has always been to not do anything that I could find someone else to do for me. It worked well with employees, volunteers, and sometimes with family.

Unfortunately, my brothers and sons are all smarter than I am and figured out my system fairly early.

In this particular case, I had a crackerjack team of volunteers that groomed the field, set the bases in place, and laid the chalk foul lines. One particular weekend, during a fundraising tournament, I had to get to the fields and line the baselines myself. I wasn’t worried, as I had watched numerous people do it before. How hard could it be? I mean, really?

I set the frame on home plate and chalked the open areas to create the two batter’s boxes. Then I filled the chalk dispenser and went from the corner of home plate toward first base. About a third of the way up the baseline I turned to make sure I was laying the chalk straight. The problem was, I kept going as I turned to look. There’s a bit of physics involved in this, and I never really understood physics, but I did understand that if I turn my head to the back, my body follows toward that same side. I often make that same mistake in driving an automobile.

Not a problem, I thought to myself. No one else was there, so I kicked dirt around the angled part of the line and set the chalk dispenser back where I first turned. Off I went again. This time I was smart enough to stop walking as I turned to view my work. Now I realized there was a break in the line, with the new line starting about a half-inch outside the original line. More dirt was kicked, and the line began once again from the beginning point. I’d worked on the process long enough that I now had an audience. Early arrivals for the tournament were sitting on the bleachers, enjoying my varied attempts to chalk a straight line.

Finally, after several attempts, one of my talented friends took over. He claimed it was so I could be free to deal with the administration of the tournament and minister to the people attending. That may be, but I also know he wanted a straight line between home plate and first base.

Some other people had difficulties with straight lines as well. While Jesus was walking at one time, a man said he wanted to follow Jesus wherever he would go. Jesus let him know He had no place to lay His head. Jesus then offered a couple of invitations to follow Him. One person answered that he wanted to wait for his father’s funeral. I don’t get the idea it was happening soon, or else Jesus wouldn’t have told him to let the dead bury the dead.

Another man was invited, but he wanted to wait in order to say good-bye to the family. Jesus pointed out that one who looks back while plowing is not fit for the kingdom of God. Looking back always causes the head to turn in the wrong direction, thus making a straight path much more difficult.

Our main point of concern cannot be where we’ve been, but instead where we are going. I think God would want us to recall, remember, and recite how He has worked in our lives. I don’t think remembrance is what Jesus is referring to in this case. I believe Jesus is trying to keep us grounded in the circumstances of the day and to look at where God is taking us tomorrow.

Chef Gusteau, in Ratatouille, said, “If you focus on what you left behind you will never be able to see what lies ahead.”

Please keep the staff and board in your prayers as we move forward to the future. Pray as well how you might help us with the finances or functions of the organization.
 Waddell, D. (2015). Characters of the Bible: Finding My Stories in Their Stories. Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan

Though She Be Little

While the mega-churches gain all the media attention, the little churches in America keep reaching, worshipping, and ministering to their congregations and communities. According to the National Congregations Study, 59% of all churches in the United States had an attendance of 99 or less on any given Sunday. Another 35% had between 100 and 499, which means 94% of all churches are not in the mega-church category.

When I consider the number of small churches, the Shakespeare quote from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, of which I take totally out of context, comes to mind, “And though she be but little, she is fierce.” (Act 3 Scene 2, page 13)

When David was a shepherd boy, he was sent to deliver food and supplies to his older brothers, who were serving in King Saul’s army. When David heard the giant, Goliath, poking fun at the Israelite’s God, he was offended. David proceeded to take on the giant one on one. Saul points out that David is a small boy and can’t fight the giant. Even Goliath says, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with a stick?” (1 Samuel 17:43 NLT)

As you may know, the little guy won that battle, and it vaulted David to be king.

A church may be small, but its influence in a community possesses the incredible strength of God. In this day and age of mega-churches, it’s easy to play a comparison game. Many small churches rule out viable ministries because they don’t consider themselves large enough to do the things other churches can do.

Let’s rethink the model.

Sports, recreation, and fitness ministries seem to find themselves in larger churches with larger ministerial staff pools to lead the efforts. Okay, I’ll grant that point. However, any church, planted in the community where God is working, can have an eternal significance with the people of that community.

In the book, Sports Ministry That Wins, contributing author Joe BW Smith, gives suggestions for smaller churches and how they can still influence their communities. He speaks of churches taking on unique paths to use the cultural enjoyment of sports as mechanisms for sharing Christ and His love. Smith not only gives excellent ideas, but he also crafts the ideas in keeping with the theology and traditions a small church may hold.

One of the visions I have for CSRM is to extend our influence into smaller churches. There we can work with ministry volunteers and offer consultation, resources, and prayer support for their efforts in using sports, recreation, and fitness ministries to reach their community.

Don’t let your size be of any issue in fulfilling God’s mission in your church and community.