The Connection Between Extreme Sports and Risk-Taking Mission   

By Philip Brockett, Pastor    –    October 11, 2023

Recently I’ve discovered “Facebook Reels” – it’s that place in the app where people can post short videos of interesting things. Most often they seem to be people jumping off high places like planes or cliffs, or diving into the ocean. Whatever the topic, the moment grabs your attention and makes your heart race a little faster and causes you to wonder at this person who’s taken such an extreme risk. Extreme sports are on the rise. Athletes embark on “extreme” for the thrill of conquering a challenge.

Last Sunday Rev. Peter preached a sermon on risk-taking mission. As he preached, I couldn’t help but think, some of the extreme athletes that I’d seen do what seem to be insurmountable feats.

What would happen if, here at CSM, we work together to foster that same kind of daring and courageous spirit? Not in the area of athletics, but in the area of mission! Certainly, in doing so there would be risk, but there would also be the possibility of victory and reward. The kind of reward that comes when a life is transformed through kindness or community is empowered to feel its own sense of dignity. And do you know that there are churches are stepping up today to engage in this kind of extreme mission. Here are some real life examples –

In a small town with no churches, a congregation decided to take their faith on the road and converted a bus into a mobile church with pews, pulpit, and sound system. Every Sunday they drive to different neighborhoods and invite people to come to church.

In a large city where people struggle with food insecurity, a church bought a large lot and planted vegetables. They invited the neighborhood to join them in the project that produced not only healthy food, but a sense of connection amongst people from church and neighborhood.

In a city with growing homelessness, a church took the risk of opening its doors to provide an overnight shelter to those who needed a safe place to stay.

In an urban area, a church recognizing the needs of single mothers, established a program to provide vocational training education and mentoring so single moms could gain financial independence. This extreme mission not only changes the lives of single moms, but it strengthens the church and community also.

A number of years ago in rural Washington, a small, isolated church was given 160 acres. Instead of selling the land, they decided to farm it. Each each year members of the church volunteer to farm it. And every year the proceeds are given to missions. Over the years, proceeds have exceeded $1.6 million and have funded digging wells, sheltering asylum-seekers, supporting  camps, and many other projects.

So, here’s the question Central St. Matthew United Church of Christ; if we were brave enough, what risk taking heart, heart thumping, challenging mission or service could we undertake? Let me know! Lets take a leap together?