“You know what we get to do today guys? We get to play softball.”
I kept saying this to the team as we warmed up and stretched before our first game. As I was sitting on the bench during the first inning, I could not help but think, “What an awesome opportunity this is.” I watched our team, a group of people who barely knew each other, all run out onto the field sharing the same vision and heart, not just for the game but for people.
As a church, we have a heart for the lost, for the nations, and for our communities. Our Community Outreach team’s mission is to reach the lost and intersect with the secular community within Anne Arundel County and be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Our recent efforts have included a pop-up Tattoo Parlor at Nitro Circus and Navy tailgates; most recently, we formed a Bay Area Softball team that competes in the Anne Arundel County coed Softball League. Nathan Bruins, a Bay Area attendee, came to me and the Community Outreach team in late winter with the idea to start a team – and eagerness to coach it! We thought it was a fantastic idea.
Nathan and the Community Outreach team are looking forward to building relationships with people in our community and familiarizing people with Bay Area in a public setting. We want to be set apart as a team in how we conduct ourselves on and off the field, as children of light.
As I was talking recently to one of our team players, Maddy, she said, “I am really looking forward to connecting with people, not just people from Bay Area but meeting new people I may never have met. I am excited to tailgate after the games and do something most churches are not doing.”
As a team, we plan on taking tailgating to another level with great food, games, music and laughs – all in hopes to spark conversation and build relationships with not only each other but also people from the other teams. We are all showing up and putting our best foot forward, trusting God will do a mighty work.
Josh Shirlen, who oversees Community Outreach, often encourages me and says, “I know someone’s life is going to be changed forever because of your team’s efforts today.” Ultimately, that is our hope, that God would move and use our very diverse, misfit team that includes Cas, who just moved to the area a year ago from New York City; Destiny and Joe, who moved here a year ago from San Antonio; and a handful of college grads, newlyweds, singles, nurses, a graphic designer and teachers who have been brought together for this season.
After sitting out the first inning, even though I am known to be the Manny Machado of our team, coach put me in and I was able to get in the game and play right field. Team morale was up, we were getting into a rhythm, and we all started to see our strengths come out. We walked away losing, but we knew that we gave it our best shot.
Some of us laughed and said, “We actually did a lot better than expected.” We all brushed it off knowing that it is not all about winning, that we had a bigger and better goal in mind. Coach Nathan suggested we have some more practice so we can build unity and sharpen our softball skills, which we all agreed would be super helpful. We can’t wait for the next game!
If you would like to participate in Community Outreach at Bay Area, email firstname.lastname@example.org.