On being missionally bad at basketball

Now, just image how good these two guys would likely be while playing some street ball at a local park with mostly Latinos. Now you know just how bad I played tonight. Really bad…blown 6 foot jumpers and missed layups. I was terrible. But I love it. Playing basketball, which I picked up just last winter, fulfills a triple function in my life.

The first is that I need to stay in shape, but I hate exercising. I have to be competing to stay motivated to run around.

Second, it works out great that I hate exercising alone because I end playing a team sport, which means I get to mix it up with people from my neighborhood. Which means staying in shape is one of my missional activities. I’ve met two high schoolers at the park across the street, a bunch of graduates just starting out in their careers, and I get to play with the hidden minority here in Chicago (i.e. the Latinos). Hopefully soon I’ll be hanging out at the local pub after games.

And it works out great that I’m not very good (I’m a slow, skinny, tall guy…so at least I’m good for rebounding). But its great because if you are friendly you can just ask for pointers on how to get better, and people love to play coach and teach you stuff. One of the best missional activities is not to offer help, but to ask for help.

And lastly, I think everyone, but especially pastors, and especially missional pastors, should have something that they are getting better at. Anything will do, even if it is not ministry related. I think people in ministry should discipline themselves to grow and master something they love as part of their continuing development, as a means of sharpening their lives, as well as relieving stress. It could model train building for all I care. Basically a hobby of some sort (but watching movies or sports does not count!). It was and still is music for me, but now bodily health, missional relationships, and personal development are running through basketball for me. Even if I’m a skinny white guy.

Mission activities that you plan in advance to be with strangers to the gospel are good (going to a regular hangout, being part of a food co-op, or whatever), but when you really love something and share it, then that itself will become actively missional. For me that is what basketball is right now, even though I embarrassed myself tonight.