“I love you coach!” A group of us were walking out of my house about to go to practice when Jay spoke up. “I love you too Jay” I replied… but Jay wasn’t finished. “Coach, I sure do appreciate you, you do a lot for us.” I’m thinking, Wow… it’s nice to be appreciated, I never get this kind of affirmation from kids. “Thanks man, I appreciate you appreciating me.” Then he says, “Seriously coach! You pick us up after school, get us for practice, do things with us, take us to camp… no other coach does that for us. I love you coach and I appreciate all you do for us.” Now I’m speechless… I don’t know what to say. So I just say, “Thanks.”
Jay became a Christian a year ago on one of our summer outings. I’ve known him since he was ten, as a volunteer in his fifth grade class. For the last four years we’ve hung out, playing basketball and other stuff. Last summer he gave his life to Christ. What you might find funny is that he never comes to church. I invite him regularly but he is often busy on the weekends. And this is why what we do is unique. You see, I’m always pastoring. We have church at our house on Sundays, and our attendance ranges from five to twenty on any given Sunday… But during the week I’m at school, at the gym, at the park, on the block, even in your house… and I’m always Pastor Chris. Some call me coach, some call me Mr. Chris, some say “momma who’s that man?” But I’m always Pastor Chris. My goal and prayer is to do what my name Christopher implies, to bring Christ. So even though Jay doesn’t come to church, church comes to him about three times a week; or rather, Christ comes to him. I see more than fifty kids a week this way, not to mention their families.
Jay has an effusive, engaging personality. He stays off the streets and avoids the trouble that plagues a lot of African American boys here by being involved in positive pursuits: family, school, sports. He plays on my basketball team. After he became a Christian he asked if he could invite some of his friends to play ball. I said yeah and through him I now have a half dozen new unchurched teenage boys on my team. And they don’t know it, but they’re at church too. We are about done with our spring season and when we are finished we will have a retreat where they will learn more about the gospel. They will have a chance to give their lives to Christ. I fully anticipate that most of them, if not all, will do so. Not because of my ministerial talents, but because that’s what God does. I’ve seen Him do it over and over and over again in this ministry. Many of our kids grow to be adults leading satisfied lives. Tragically, some do not. But anyone who participates in our ministry comes into contact with the gospel.
This summer we will have basketball, track, retreats, camps and other activities. Our kids have an opportunity to do fun and enriching activities, they cultivate relationships with positive adults, and they hear the gospel of Christ. A typical summer experience for one of our youth involves at least one camp experience, church on Sundays and many outings. This costs us about $350 per youth. We are asking you to pray and consider supporting our ministry this summer. Every little bit helps. Thanks for participating in this ministry with us through your prayers and gifts.
The Lord bless you and your family this summer…