Do sports matter to God? Isn’t it frivolous to engage in sports if Jesus makes it abundantly clear that he is returning soon (Rev. 22)? Why not engage in “real” ministry for the salvation of souls? The ability of sports to establish God’s kingdom on earth may be seen in a variety of lights, but God desires his people to use sports to fulfill the great commission and the great commandment: by setting ourselves apart for worship to God in sports, and with God, transforming lives through relationships. If one wishes to give God their whole life, it is obvious that it will not consist of activities that would exclusively be considered “sacred”. On this subject, C.S. Lewis writes, “If you attempted to suspend your whole intellectual and aesthetic activity, you would only succeed in substituting a worse cultural life for a better. You are not, in fact going to read nothing…if you don’t read good books you will read bad ones…if you reject aesthetic satisfactions, you will fall into sensual satisfactions.” Sports matter to God because our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength matter to him. No activity is a wasted effort if it is offered to God, even the humblest; on the contrary, all activities, even the noblest, are sinful if they are not.


We set ourselves apart to Worship God through Sports, and with God, transform lives through relationships.


Worshipping God Through Sports


  • God is Real: His word is True, Obeying him leads to life indeed. (1 Tim 6:19; Deu 28:1-2; 2 Tim 3:16; Ps 119:1-8; Jn 1:1-5, 10:10)
  • Real Problems- We are imperfect people in an imperfect world. We will make mistakes and must humbly make amends because conflict is always an opportunity to glorify God, love others, and grow ourselves. We are peace-makers. We wont condone faking it, and we will lovingly oppose and work to reconcile those who break it. (1 Cor 10:31-11:1; 1 Thess 5:14; 2 Cor 5:18-21; Eph 5:1; Jn 13:35)
  • REAL-ationships- We love and accept everyone, seeking to know the spiritual condition as well as the physical condition of their lives. We encourage and admonish all Christians to act according to their beliefs. Likewise, we are not surprised when unbelievers choose to act in accordance with theirs. (2 Cor 5:14-17; Jn 10:9-11; Phil 3:17-4:1; 1 Thess 5:14)
  • Real Work/Competition - We are given the gift of hard, difficult work for the short span of our lives on earth. We strive to make the most of every day by disciplining ourselves for the purpose of godliness. God is the judge of all that is excellent. To be godly, we too must strive for excellence and persist to recognize excellence in others on and off the field of play. (Phil 4:8; 1 Tim 4:7; Gen 2:15)
  • Real-Time Discernment – We make it real by having quality time versus quantity of time discerning well for self-less ambition. (Eph 5:16, Prov 16:3) 
  • Real Collaboration – change happens through the connections, creativity and contributions of our entire community (Prov 27:17, 1 Cor 12) 
  • Real Devotion – We are devoted to one another to love and encourage (Heb 10:24-25).



Sports leagues have been organized through Watermark Community Church (WM) in Dallas, TX for nearly all of its existence. Softball has been played without interruption for over 12 years. Tammy Nguyen and John Funk jumped on board in April of 2014. In 16 months, we have learned lots and have great hopes for the future. Primarily, we have grown in the areas of making God known, investing in leaders, and connecting others to the body of Christ, known as The Church. 

In the beginning, we drew attention to God by memorizing his word, and encouraging all leaders and participants to memorize a passage of scripture throughout each season. After the initial season, we realized that our meetings needed to equip coaches and not just inform them. In subsequent meetings we sought to present topics relevant to worshipping God in sports and to present material in an engaging way so that captains left with practical applications of God’s word to assist them in leading their teams. These meetings were too infrequent to communicate all that we desired, so we began emailing a short devotional to the captains, weekly, with direct application to the situations they find themselves in while leading their team. 

Knowing we could not witness the fulfillment of the mandates in Scripture through meetings and emails alone, we raised our standards when selecting leaders. We currently have a questionnaire that all potential leaders fill out in order to allow us to get to know their story of grace as well as any other topics to further discuss before entrusting them with stewardship over a team of individuals from all walks of life. 

As we invest in coaches we also strive to provide easy, un-intimidating ways to connect people to The Church; not a building, a body. Our first efforts looked like setting aside a specific Tuesday night to claim as our own, and we invited the entire league to attend The Porch with their team. This seemed to gain greater traction in the second season due to better communication from us, the directors, and more buy-in from the captains who had relationships with their team.



In each of these ways, making God known, investing in leaders, and connecting people to The Church, we hope to excel still more.

First, making God known looks like using the seasonal memory verse on the player level. We also would increase communication around the passage. Instead of writing demos and hoping the coaches use them, we will follow-up and have conversations with Coaches about their team and what support they need from us as Directors/Coordinators/Lead coaches.

Making God known at the venues where we play would require a team of Creatives, creative individuals who could design a setting and a means to share the amazing stories that God is doing, as well as promoting the many ways people can get what they need through community, or life-stage ministries at WM.

In addition, we need to invest in our leaders by tweaking the questionnaire to provide a clearer glimpse into the lives of our potential leaders, which would also allow us to know where they could best deploy their gifts. We hope to recruit leaders in the ministry fair after membership classes. We also need to continue to borrow and create resources to equip our coaches in areas relevant to the setting in which they lead; such as conflict, competition, and community. One desire of ours is to partner with the Unashamed crew, because we see them as offering on the field training by going into the world (where sports exist) and meeting people who may or may not have good feelings toward God or his people. We will expect all coaches who wish to lead with us to participate in an Unashamed weekend. Using these weekends would be an invaluable asset in equipping coaches to better lead their teams toward THE LIFE we pursue.

Finally, to provide better opportunities to connect to The Church we would like to allow the local church body at WM opportunities to engage in sports. Since sports are played by all ages, we would like to create offerings for all ages. Strategically, we would offer to ages 18+ initially. A useful partner in this would be the Community Team because of the camaraderie found within teams. The Sports Ministry would be a natural gravitation for many groups going through the Grouplink process. This avenue would also disseminate knowledge of this ministry to others within the body who have yet to discover its existence. We believe by increasing participation among WM members, we will attract their friends and co-workers whom they invite to play with them; thus expanding the opportunity to connect with people currently living outside of the grace God has provided for them.

Another way to connect people already devoted to working out their own sanctification to the work of the Church is to have regular service opportunities. We desire to capitalize on the unique camaraderie initiated through sports, and we want to organize a seasonal service project during each sport season (Spring, Summer, Fall) with trusted ministry partners. We would primarily utilize partners already affiliated with WM, and would use the same examination process as the EF team when assessing new partnerships. We are excited for the opportunities our teams would have to serve together, and talk about the why behind the service with the people they are with. We would communicate clearly that nothing we do could be called a random act of kindness, but motivated from the deep love that we have experienced from the one who gave his life to prove our worth.



Previously, WM Sports was led by four Directors/Coordinators, and approximately 40 captains of individual teams, depending on the season. Almost all of these were active, WM members. In the past 16 months, we offered four different sports to play.

Until now the organization of the sports ministry utilized four WM members with the primary responsibility of overseeing the sports currently offered. They include, Tammy Nguyen and John Funk as directors, overseeing and initiating communication amongst all other sports leaders. Randy Valdez and Jason Armstrong coordinate the soccer efforts. John and Tammy organize softball and volleyball and coordinate with a partner outside of WM to offer flag football, with an emphasis on Christ. In any given season there are 15-20 teams playing softball with 1-2 captains per team. There were 8 teams involved in the initial volleyball season (now 12), and in the previous soccer season there were 4 teams. It is ideal for each team to have two captains, but all have at least one per team.



To accomplish our vision and to truly set ourselves apart for worship to God in sports we need more leaders who are devoted to the real God, and humble enough to recognize their real problems while joining in the real work to call others out of darkness and into a REAL-ationship with Jesus Christ and his Church. We estimate a need for over 100 volunteers in the next calendar year, which we would aspire to fill with committed members at WM.

The leadership is organized into three tiers with the directors and WM staff overseeing the scope of the league. There are four roles within the Directors description. We recently welcomed our third Director to the team, Will Eskel who heads up the Events Director role. He is responsible for leading all efforts to host off-field events. This includes any sanctioned event such as Sports night at the Porch and the seasonal service project. Tammy Ngyuen primarily oversees the Director of Sports Coordination although she also currently serves as our Director of Technology. She communicates with all coordinators and venue managers to ensure smooth operations of the leagues. As the Director of Technology, she built/ updates the website with dates and information regarding leagues, and she manages registration through ServiceU. John Funk serves as the Sports Relations Director and is primarily responsible for planning discipleship/equipping opportunities for coaches, overseeing conflict resolution when necessary, and overall vision setting. All Directors are closely related and often share tasks, but we envision one person fulfilling the primary functions in each component of this role. Additionally, we view the relationship with WM staff as a critical component to the strength and success of our leaders, and would seek walk with someone on staff as a mentor; checking in monthly for support. Directors must continuously recognize their need for gracious provision of revelation of Gods Word, and community to spur them on. All Directors need to actively participate in ED within the first 12 months of service, and/or enroll in a similar degree program at a Seminary or Disciple Training Program (i.e. WM Resident, or The Forge).

The second tier includes Sports Coordinators/Lead Coaches, and the Creatives. The Coordinators/ Lead Coaches are responsible for discipling the coaches within their sport and disseminating the equipping material from the Directors to the coaches. This role will allow for more intimate relationships to form since the Lead Coaches will have 3-5 Coaches on their team. Throughout the season they will check-in with them, attend their games and help train them to grow in their role as a coach. The lead coach will report to the Director of Sports Relations for all necessary equipping materials and guidance.

In addition to the task of a Lead Coach, the Sports Coordinators also build relationships with venues to organize the overall gameplay of each sport.

The Creatives will work with all the Directors to create engaging resources to distribute online as well as at the venues. They are tasked with creating a portable Resource Center to operate on all game nights. This will facilitate more opportunities to connect people to other pertinent ministries, as well as to promote the fan experience at the games by engaging people and communicating stories of the outstanding work God is performing in our midst.

Underneath the Sports Coordinators/Lead Coordinators are the Coaches of individual teams. These individuals will fill out the coach’s questionnaire to ensure a mature, grounded walk with the Lord before we entrust them to shepherd a team of people. They will build intentional REAL-ationships with their team through communication on and off the field (Co-ed sports require one captain/asst. of each gender to fulfill this responsibility). Coaches give pre/post-game encouragement/devo, and ensure clear communication amongst their team. Additionally, all Coaches must participate in an Unashamed weekend before returning as a Coach for a second year.



Our current operations do not allow us to fully control our product. We utilize third parties to make the schedules, hire officials, and authorize rules. We dream that their would be a director who could give 40+ hours/wk to create the schedule, contract with officials and allow us to promote our values and mission throughout every aspect of the sports ministry. Ultimately, this persons job description would necessitate compensation for their time devoted to this ministry; however, a greater benefit of this relationship would come through the  shepherding/care of the WM leaders over this persons life through staff prayer and the study of Gods word. This intimate relationship and participation in the leadership of WM would propel the ministrys potential impact into the God zone. The zone where it is almost embarrassing to speak of the hope we have that God would take this ministry and run away with it. Only he fully knows the limits of its potential impact on the community, and by extension, the world.

Within the God Zone, opportunities would emerge to welcome families and youth to participate. These opportunities would be designed uniquely with input from all the leaders in the various ministries for each age group. Collaboratively, we could offer targeted programs to instill godly qualities in the next generation that would lead them to anchor their enjoyment in life to the Rock of all glory. These lessons in humility, greatness, leadership etc. transcend the physical world, and if God favors us, we could offer training to these young people to worship God in every aspect of life whatever life-stage they're at (i.e. Elementary age, MS, HS, or professional). We would be able to augment the curriculum work done in the Training Ground ministry, by offering resources to incorporate physical activity to the teaching of Gods word. If God is God, then we would only stop pursuing him when he decides to lift us out of the temporal world and into his presence.



If God so chooses to do all this (above), would it be too much to ask that he would change the world through our efforts? This is the natural end of all activities devoted to glorifying Godreconciling the world back to the perfect state of its Maker. Should we be surprised that God would accomplish all of this? Absolutely not, but we are unable to comprehend the magnitude of his grace, should he choose to use us to do it.

If we design a structured curriculum and method of worshipping God through sports, and with God, transforming lives through relationships wouldn't others be interested in sharing that with us? As our footprint grew, wouldnt it be truly awesome to see athletes who began our program as youths incorporate it into their professional career whether they won the Super Bowl or lost it? It would take flooding the sports world with figures like that, to see the needle shift back toward the way the world was in The Garden (not in NY). After changing our culture, we would then be responsible for sharing with other places that have a need, and this would fulfill our need to share the light weve been given with all nations.

Ultimately, God will work out his plan of salvation for the whole world, and as followers of his Son, Jesus Christ, he adjures us to work in step with that plan in all that we do.

It is right that we start as the humblest and least of all ministries, so that God can make his name famous by the fruit he brings from it. And if he chooses to change the way our culture views and talks about and worships sports, then he will certainly use us as a tool to accomplish that.

Will you walk with us?