Friday, December 23, 2005


Had a talk with my pastor yesterday. About the event on Sunday evening. My pastor not happy with the way I handled the player.

Basically the gist of what my pastor wants to tell me is this (not to be read in specifics but in general): -

"That's not the way we do things in Bethel. There should be grace and flexibility. Especially when relating to non-believers. You will put them off. They are there just to play, recreational purpose. They don't know what you have in mind. "

Told my pastor the reasons I made such action.

"Need to set the standard for the players. Instructions has been given much earlier. Flexibility in terms of grace period has been given. Many times the instructions has been communicated to the players (and to this player in particular). Evangelism through high standards and character in sports."

I would say that the conversation with my pastor does not end properly. Basically what I understand from what he wants to tell me is this.
"My action in asking the player to leave the field is not warranted, not proper, and too harsh. There is a risk of the player having negative thoughts/impressions of Christianity. This will defeat the purpose of having sports ministry, the main objective is to reach out the lost. Until and unless the players are clear to the commitment expected of them, there should not be any rules enforced on them. "

Upon reflecting on the events and on what my pastor said, these thoughts came to my mind: -

1. I could be more gentle when asking the player to leave. I could have approach him one to one and explain the whole situation and ask him to leave. This would not create such a stunning effect to the other players (so that the weak in faith would not be stumbled).

2. There should not be any rules given before starting a club. I'm not really agreeable to this thought. In any games/sports there are simple rules that should be followed. If these simple rules seems so difficult to follow, it shows our attitude and should not play the game as our action could endanger not just ourselves but other players.

3. There is difference in leadership style between my pastor and me. He's more on ensuring that everybody's feelings are look into. The impressions I got is that it is okay to be flexible (in this sense, to lower down our standards) if we could win them to Christ. Well, I'm okay with being flexible but the extent of flexibility and the consequences of that flexibility needs to be define.

As for me, I'm more of the army style. Instructions given should be followed. I demands commitment, not so much to make me feel powerful, but so that they will move to a higher standards in life. Some may argue that I'm following the ways of the world in leadership. Yes, why not? If that leadership style is not inconsistent with the Bible teachings. In fact, Christians should reach higher than the ways of the world. While we take what is good (e.g. commitment and obedience to the rules), we must also include Godly characters to it. If however, our mentality is such that Christian conducts is more of "grace", that it is not necessary to follow rules because we need to have show more grace, we are actually pulling down God's standards for Christians. Paul experienced the same issues (Romans 6), "Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?" Paul clear answer to that issue is "By no means!"
Showing grace to others is necessary but it should not be to the extent that they be allowed to go on "sinning".

4. I think the name Sports Ministry is a misnomer. It should be Recreational Ministry. Different emphasis.

5. Should we risk our integrity just because we want to pacify one person, hoping that that person will come to know Christ? I don't think so. By lowing our integrity we can be in danger of entering hell. Christians can be viewed as people without integrity.

So at the end of this matter, do I think that my pastor is wrong?
Well, no he is not wrong. It is a matter of different leadership style and different perspectives.


Anonymous said...

I think you did right. Discipline is essential in sports regardless whether it's church organized or not. Discipline with repect is important too. Hope the boy comes back.

David Bong said...

Thanks. I guess discipline is needed by everybody. And in sports it is one of the best time to instill this character.

Yeah... I do pray that the boy will come back.

aish said...

yup, i agreed with your views! a non-conformist has it difficult, but will eventually have it good. keep it up!

franklee said...

There is a great difference between disciplining and judging. The Bible says we cannot judge an unbeliever but nothing say about discriplining.
In a war there are both christian and non-christian soldiers and enemies. Do you give the non-christians more grace and forget about discipline?
Christians are the "Bible" a non-christian "reads". I think you are likely to win many souls by not compromising discripline.

David Bong said...

Franklee :- Totally agree with you. Good analogy used.