About 9 months ago, we had a big breakthrough in our church when we began to reach teenagers in our community for the first time. Our youth group went on a mission trip to Houston and came back wanting to reach out to their neighbors. We started a Kid's Club on Sunday afternoons thinking that we would begin to minister to little kids, but instead, teenagers showed up. Hordes of teenage boys. They wanted to hang out and they wanted to play basketball. Previously, we had put up a couple of basketball goals in our church parking lot. The interesting thing is, in the whole eastern half of Montgomery, there are no public courts to play basketball. So, kids started showing up from all over the city. They started coming every day. On an average night, we'd have 40-50 guys hanging out and playing basketball. We had guys coming to church and several got saved. Their lives began to turn around as they encountered the love of Christ and a body of believers who loved them and accepted them. It has been amazing to watch.
A few weeks ago, a LIFE Group in our church had the idea of scheduling a 3-on-3 basketball tournament to give the guys something to do and to develop a platform to minister to them. It was a huge success. We had around 40 people participate and several responded positively to the gospel being presented. A bunch of people from the church volunteered to put the event together and we plan to do it again in the future. Actually, we are starting a summer basketball league on Monday nights in the church parking lot from all of this. The cool thing is that we are building relationships with these guys and they are becoming our family. God is working. (pic taken by my friend, Chris McCorkle)
Our local newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser wrote an article about the event that appeared in the paper today. A short video is included. It was very positive and really showed the heart of our church in reaching out to our community. Something amazing is happening at our church where we are reaching a tipping point. No longer are we trying to cast a vision for reaching out and loving others outside of our church family. It is just happening. God is moving in our hearts and it leading us to open our arms to all that we come in contact with. This basketball tournament was a great example of how a simple thing like a few basketball goals can change a church and a neighborhood.
We finished up the tournament today. I am really excited about what God is doing and can't wait to see what He has in store for us for the future!