Friday, June 22, 2012

Shooting to Win Hearts with ROAR Basketball
June 23, 2012

“There’s nothing less threatening to parents than sports as a way for parents and kids to hear the Gospel,” said Chris Baptist, a CPC member who volunteered as a coach for ROAR Basketball this season. “It’s a valuable ministry and a chance to get neighborhood kids involved [in a church-sponsored activity].” Flyers for the basketball program were distributed in the spring at Lockmar Elementary School, which drew a number of kids from the Lockmar area.

The director of ROAR Basketball, Warner Frye, stated that it seemed the majority of the kids who participated this season were not from CPC. “From an outreach perspective, as a way of getting people to see the church campus and get involved in church activities, it was a success.” 

He described a threefold purpose to the ministry: First, to coach good sportsmanship. Second, to coach with a God-centered focus. And third, to have all who participate feel welcome and be able to play no matter what their skill level is. Warner said that most coaches will have a kid on their team who is a beginner and struggles initially but who gets better at passing and dribbling – “It’s great to see their eyes light up when they score points for the team and gain confidence.”

It was Don Patterson’s second year as a volunteer basketball coach. “I wanted to help out and teach about basketball – and hopefully be a role model, teaching the kids Christian values,” he said. “There was one kid who was sulking during the first game and not engaged. At an early game, his dad came up to me and got on my case about taking his kid out. I told him we try to give kids even playing times.” By the end of the season, the boy was engaged and participating, and the dad was appreciative of Don’s coaching. He said, “It was good to see the change in the boy and to see the dad go from belligerent to supportive.”

The basketball program is an opportunity for service, according to Don. “[It fulfills] a real need, especially for those outside the church who don’t have a two-parent family. Kids learn about teamwork, getting along with others – it’s good for learning life skills.”

Because his daughter wanted to play and because he loves basketball, Chris Cramer also coached a ROAR team of 12- to 14-year-olds. He introduced them to the idea of youth group, telling them that he and his wife Janie both help out with the youth group. He said, “I tell them we’d be a familiar face.” One boy came to play multiple years, and Chris coached him in different age groups as well as his little brother later on. Chris got to know their father and told him about inviting the boy to youth group; the dad said he would have the boy check it out. “The dad got to trust us well enough to bring the boy to youth group,” Chris said. “Basketball is a way to build those relationships.”

Chris also mentioned his appreciation for the teen boys from CPC who helped coaches and facilitated with games. “Boys like Will Godwin, Aaron Paljug, and Joshua Lum Shue Chan were so humble and had such servant hearts. They had such a good spirit about everything – if a game didn’t go well, they encouraged the younger kids and said, ‘It’s ok. We’ll work on it for next time.’ The 12- to 14-year-olds had a good example to look up to in these 16-year-olds.”

That attitude and heart is the most important part of coaching for ROAR Basketball. Don said he knows just a little about basketball but that it’s really about giving to the kids, seeing them grow together and interact, and knowing that they’re exposed to the Gospel through the simple devotional and prayer time each week. “You just have to be willing to spend time with the kids.”

Warner added that the coaches and volunteers did a great job, working with a giving heart, caring for the players. “The coaches were glad to be there – they got as much out of it as the kids did.”

For more information on ROAR Sports outreach, visit