For Ohio Christian University (OCU) Director of Ministry Programs Dr. Wayne Pessia, sports, recreation, and fitness (SR&F) ministry is an important, growing opportunity.
Churches have been building gymnasiums and sports fields at an increasing rate, and the SR&F ministry movement has expanded in activities and events as active Boomers and Xers age, young parents dive deep into children’s sports, and millennials experiment with nontraditional sports and fitness recreation. Significant to note is the increasing demand for sports, recreation, and fitness pastors which is where OCU can help train new or existing pastors called to this new form of outreach discipleship.
Today churches increasingly are attuned to this trend as they seek to fulfill the Great Commission and be faithful to a Gospel-centered ecclesiology. Using SR&F as a ministry tool is significant inside the church and in para-ministry settings. Organizations that began over 50 years ago, like the Fellowship of Athletes and Athletes in Action, thrive and expand.
Athletics and activity-centered ministries are growing outside of the U.S. as well. For example, the Association of Church Sports and Recreation Ministries and Unchartered Waters Sports Ministry are equipping and partnering with churches. Thousands are impacted through their collaboration.
The world speaks the language of sport. Consequently, an SR&F ministry calls for specialized training. Athletic and sports-minded Christ followers called into SR&F ministry need a biblical, theological, and methodological foundation to be effective. OCU’s new academic concentration fulfills this need.
As AVP of AGS Enrollment Nicole Davis explains, “We are pleased to offer students the opportunity to acquire this new SR&F concentration in this expanding ministry field.”
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