Monday, July 31, 2006

Whatever It Takes?

Some of the guys in my church have stumbled across a new ministry opportunity to reach men ... paintball. It all started when one of the men in my church, John Fuller, and his son, Zach, set up a small paintball course in the field next to their house. Over time, the course has grown as they added more and more obstacles and cover. They have even extended part of it into some adjacent woods.

John talked to me yesterday morning about the church officially backing their "Paintball Ministry." He reminded me of our motto that we have repeated over and over since we planted the church, "Whatever it takes."

I was intrigued. They invited me to play late yesterday afternoon, and I had a blast! There were thirteen men there, and six of them were not members or regular attenders at our church. John is convinced that this is a huge opportunity to reach out to the men in our community. We live in the hunting and fishing epicenter of the universe! And Fort Campbell is very close by. We have many military men within the vicinity of our church.

John's passion and his obvious success in outreach to men have started us thinking. We are even considering adding a paintball battlefield on the "back forty" of our 39-acre campus. We know that it is very different, and not very churchy. The more traditional churches in our area will probably verbalize a few negative comments about it. But if it reaches the men in our area, isn't it worth it?

What do you think? Isn't this the kind of "out of the box" thinking that we need in planting new and growing churches? What are some other creative, maybe even outlandish, ways that we could reach men? Please share your ideas.


Blogger Michael Jones said...

Since our job is to reach the lost of communities and of the world, then why not have a paintball course. In regards to what other churches think...

"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."
Galatians 1:10

"Whatever it takes" right, then go for it. Other opportunities might be flag football (I hesitate to say flag, because I'm patial to the real thing.) Any recreational leagues that allow teams to play would be a great way to create/build relationships.

I'll keep thinking though.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Bryan Riley said...

I like it. I have also found that men are crying out for intimacy with other men (and of course I mean feeling safe to reveal our hearts). So, my only concern for activities such as these is if they become the end in themselves. All too often I see churches having a golf tournament, but no followup or time afterward for heart to heart conversation. I have been amazed at how a man will open up if given the opportunity. So, I would say, yes, do these types of things (paintball), but please make sure that many of the more mature men in the faith are prepared to open hearts.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Kiki Cherry said...

Paintball is one of our best outreaches. We've found lots of good sales on equipment, and been able to build a whole set that students in our ministry can sign up for and use.

We charge a small fee for getting the air canisters refilled.

But it is a blast, and a "safe" entry point for a lot of students. You can see some pics on my blog Paintball and Campfire

10:18 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Geoff- That's a super way to do ministry without it looking or feeling like ministry to those you're trying to reach. I heard a non-believer say once that they wanted friendships,real, meaningful relationships, not people treating them like a number or a statistic or worse, a charity case.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Geoff Baggett said...

It is pretty cool. There's just something about grown men, in camo, hunting down and shooting each other. Who would have thought that it could be such an incredible relationship builder?

9:17 PM  

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