Uttermost Sports uses three main social media campaigns to connect with supporters and partners and raise awareness for our work. #prayforterrorists is designed to break down racial and political obstacles that are often reasons why resources and personnel are not sent to the Middle East. #dohardstuff is based on the idea that because Christ took the form of a servant, we also should embrace difficult circumstances, oppressive governments, and potential persecution. #sportsmissions is a short-hand way to categorize our work in general and connect with other like-minded groups. Read below for more information about why we have created these campaigns!
One of the most amazing ideas in Scripture is that God became a human. This is a paradigm-shattering thought. Divine, holy power chose to explain Himself through fragile skin, calloused hands, and ultimately, spilled blood. More amazing still is that this god-man not only became human but became a human servant. He was not a general or a king or a celebrity. He was a baby, born into poverty, groomed by years of obscure construction work and buried in a borrowed tomb. The God of All Things came to serve, not to be served. This is not a coincidental byproduct or a peripheral attribute; this humble servant is the visible representation of the invisible God, the exact imprint of His true nature. This is not simply descriptive of our Savior; it is prescriptive of our calling to follow Him.
The Church is designed, in the image of our Lord, to be a family of missionary servants, which is, by definition, someone who does what is hard or unpleasant on behalf of someone else. Therefore, the Church bears the burden of dying to our ambitions and embracing the agenda of Jesus, who did nothing on His own, but only did what He saw His Father doing.
Therefore, it is the job description of the Church to do the hard things that the world is unwilling or uninterested in doing. Loving children that are not our own, loving widows that are not related to us. Taking care of the poor, feeding the hungry, and washing the feet of those who walk on top of us. We are called to believe paradoxical truths that will always place us in the minority and force us to swim against the cultural current. Our holy texts are filled with hope and encouragement – not in case we suffer, but for when we suffer. The Father not only sent the Son as a sacrificial example, but He also sent the Helper because we are expected to do hard things.
Because of this, there is no village that is too remote, no context too dangerous, no government too oppressive, no task too menial. The Church is pioneering by nature. We are a sent people. We do not give up because there is no bridge; we build bridges. We adapt, we grow, we contextualize. We are the special forces of the world. We are the first in and the last out. We live differently than the world so that we may serve the world.
We do not accept that there are “closed” countries, as if borders and legislation contain the power to restrict the Spirit. The gospel is for all peoples and we are their servants, slowly, faithfully building relationships, establishing trust, and getting our hands dirty where others won’t. We are advocates, shepherds, and protectors because God, who is the only one who can sit in a high place and condemn us, being rich in mercy, has come low to advocate, shepherd and protect us. We can do no less. We do hard stuff.
Everyone is in favor of feeding refugees.
Everyone wants underprivileged kids to play sports.
Everyone is pro peace.
Not everyone wants to pray for terrorists.
Terrorists should be eliminated. It’s one of the few things that unites people on both sides of the aisle. It’s beyond the scope of this entry to compare Jesus’ ethical values in Matthew 5 with post 9/11 foreign policy, but it seems clear that when it comes to dealing with our enemies, Jesus is both unimpressed with the status quo and comfortable with a counter-intuitive faith. A faith that not only values loving our enemies but is actually based on it.
This is not a national defense strategy as much as it’s an accurate depiction of what the Gospel is. While we were sinners, traitors, rebels — enemies — Christ died for us. Praying for terrorists is not an act of counter-terrorism. Praying for terrorists is an act of theological clarity. It is a cognitive exercise that proves you understand the biblical description of your own depravity. Praying for terrorists is an act of humility and gratefulness that a perfect, holy God would lay down his life for his enemies, both Islamic militants and American citizens.
The majority of the Old Testament is God graciously pursuing people who have set their will against Him, while the majority of the New Testament is written by a violent, religious fundamentalist who encountered the risen Jesus. Praying for terrorists, loving our enemies is the plotline of the entire Book.
We must pray for the violence to end.
We must pray for peace in chaotic regions.
We must pray for Sauls to become Pauls.
We must pray for terrorists because we are them.
Nelson Mandela famously said, "Sport has the power to change the world…it has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers."
He’s half right. Sport does have the power to unite. It does cross racial, generational, and political lines. But sport alone can’t change the world, and it can’t create hope. Only the Gospel can do that. Sport can unite people, but it can’t die for their sins and present them as righteous and pure before a holy God.
Sport is the tool we dig with; the Gospel is the seed that we plant. And let’s pray for rain.