Playing with Purpose


First Focus

Playing with Purpose

Each Saturday in January and February, the CLC is filled with players, coaches, parents, and officials playing with a purpose. They are a part of our Upward Basketball and Cheerleading ministry. Through a partnership with Tallahassee First Church of the Nazarene, Upward provides 182 children an opportunity to play this season.

Upward occupies a unique space locally. Players are rewarded as much for their character as their skills. They receive stars for demonstrating service and Christlikeness. Coaches, fans, and officials are encouraged to teach through the timeouts. Everyone has equal playing time, and halftime includes a devotional. Coaches encourage players to be at church on Sunday mornings.

The games and the cheerleading still include plenty of competitiveness. Parents and coaches still have opinions; Dads wish the officials would “call it both ways”; but in the big picture, we’re here to compete for the ultimate prize: the goal of the call of God in Christ Jesus.

So how are we doing on that count? Edem Ablordeppey, our director of the program, reports the participants are divided into 22 basketball teams and 1 cheer squad. There are 8 teams in the kindergarten to 1st grade division, 8 teams in the 2nd and 3rd grade division and 6 teams in the 4th to 6th grade division.

There are 40 Coaches and Assistants (36 for basketball and 4 for cheerleading), 3 of whom are non-FBC guys who participate in league ball on Monday nights. FBC utilizes 12 referees, and 6 of these are non-FBC guys who participate in league ball on Monday nights. Four of them are clock/scoreboard operators. Fifty of these children indicate they do not have a church home in Tallahassee.

I am so grateful to Edem and our CLC committee for taking the reins of this ministry. With nearly 27% of participants unchurched, it’s a great opportunity to tell and live the gospel as families on mission. Rhonda Smith will also be inviting these families to participate in our sports camp following Vacation Bible School in June.

Please join us Tuesday evening, March 11, at 6:30PM. in the sanctuary for the Upward Basketball awards ceremony. You’ll have a chance to meet a lot of new faces, thank the staff and volunteers, touch lives, and to experience something that we do in our house most every day. We have fun.