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  • Writer's pictureJonny Nelson

Leadership in an Action Sports Ministry

Leadership in an Action Sports Ministry

Action sport enthusiasts don’t typically have leaders; they have idols.  In sports like skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, and wakeboarding everyone is an individual and there is very little “team” attitude.  In place of leaders, riders typically look to professional athletes for influence, direction, and lifestyle choices.  Riders regard these athletes as idols and hero’s.

However, in order to have an effective ministry that targets the action sports cultures you have to become an effective leader.  You have to simultaneously be in the culture, but not of the culture.  You have to be able to blend-in and be relate-able, while also standing out and separating yourself from the negative norms that plague the action sports world.  But how do you become this leader?

There are 3 initial ingredients that are crucial in shaping you into a good ministry leader:

#1. Calling:

“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1)

Leading an action sport ministry, whether you choose to start one or become a leader of an existing one, seems like a pretty “sexy” idea.  You get to participate in your favorite sport and talk about Jesus…how could it get any better than that?

In many ways, action sports ministry can be very fun, joyful, and rewarding.  But more times than not, action sports ministry (or any ministry, for that matter) can be really difficult.  James warns us that people in leadership, shepherding, and teaching positions are going to be be judged more strictly because they have a greater responsibility for the people that they are caring for.  Therefore, before you decide to jump head-first into action sports ministry, make sure that you pray, ask, and seek God’s will. God must call you to become a leader, because if He didn’t place you there, He will not bless your efforts.

#2. Humility:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. But rather, in humility value others above yourself, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

Great leaders are humble.  They work toward the good of the ministry, not toward their personal recognition.  In the book Good to Great by Jim Collins, researchers did a study on some of the key characteristics that the most successful CEOs in America had.  Collins writes,

“The [great] leaders never wanted to become larger-than-life heros.  They never aspired to be put on a pedestal or become unreachable icons.  They were seemingly ordinary people quietly producing extraordinary results.”

These leaders were not seeking the own success, but rather the success of the company’s mission.  As a ministry leader, your mission is to honor, glorify, and worship God as you fulfill the Great Commission of taking the gospel to the ends of the earth.  You must learn to put that goal above your own desires.

#3. Sacrifice:

“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.” (1 Corinthians 9:19) “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1John 3:16)

And as you continue to humble yourself to God’s glory rather than your own, you will encounter more and more opportunities to sacrifice yourself for the people you are ministering to.  Sacrifice your time, your talents, your comfort, and your finances.  It isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but God will continue to use your obedience to draw people near to you.

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