Over the past 5 years we have held a weekly Community Sports Club in the Southside community of Winston Salem, NC. This program is made available to young boys, Middle and High school age on Wednesday nights. We started at Antioch Baptist Church outdoor basketball court and have even been able to keep it going during the winter time and bad weather by using different facilities. We have used various gyms…Calvary Baptist Church, Southside Community Church, and Piedmont Baptist College. These were all friends that helped us out in a pinch until weather would break and we could get back to the community. We provide fun and relationships, a good clean organized sports environment, and a place for these youth to hear about the love and greatness of our God. We are connecting and reaching youth that are generally fatherless, without any Christian church involvement, and with a challenged family structure.

Our basic program each evening involves from 30 to 45 youth from 6:30pm to 8:30pm (two hours) on Wednesday nights. This is an introductory process or a first level of us meeting these youth and them coming into contact with Christian role models and building relationships. We have a supervised and organized time of sports, a time of explaining rules and depending on the sport we may have instructional time and drills, especially in basketball. The sports part takes a break each week and we have one of our Adult men share a short, share a 5 minute…personal life character story (perseverance, integrity, responsibility, money, etc) or something he has learned and part of his life story. Then we have a time of sharing the Gospel and teaching a lesson from the Bible, we handout Bibles for the youth to use and read the passage with the speaker. At times we break into small groups with an adult leader and may have some more discipleship about what has been shared and how it applies to our lives. We pray with the youth and ask them to share prayer requests and tell us about their lives. Often we have been able to have a special speaker to share a testimony from their life. We invite these youth to hear the gospel, to come face to face with the claims of Jesus Christ, and to respond and become a Christian. We also have another time of sports to close out the evening and maybe another type of game or a 3 on 3 small game basketball tournament. So, that gives you a little synopsis of our process and history of what has happened.

All of the activities are being used to build relationships with these youth and to provide a Christian Adult mentor, and one-to-one, strategic and intentional for as many youth as possible.

We do have a list of rules we require that our boys follow and a covenant that we require that they sign. A permission form and medical information is required to be completed by each youth and his parent or guardian, including all contact information, and  a picture of each youth. We do not regularly or normally provide transportation to or from the gym each evening. We have had many opportunities to meet the parents, visit youth at home and to counsel with them in times of need.

Our calendar schedule is the same as the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School schedule, which means if school is out so are we (example: teacher work day, no school day, weather related cancellations). The exceptions are Summer vacation when we continue because that is a great time to reach youth.

Our Goals are:

  • To connect boys to our God and His church.
  • To use the Community Sports Club as an opportunity to reach young boys, and to build relationships.
  • To get the church to be involved with the community youth that are most challenged and may seem to be at-risk youth.
  • To be Adult Christian Role models to these youth and understand the need to be a mentor to them.
  • To train, screen and supervise men to be intentional one-to-one mentors to youth.
  • To see these youth come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and to be discipled and to follow Him and worship Him.

Weekly we make other opportunities for them to meet with a formal youth group. Derrick Ronk has a Thursday night group that meets at First Alliance Church and other groups that they can connect with. Throughout the year we take some of these boys to various opportunities to spend valuable time as a group. We have taken them on annual trips, overnight camping, special adventure days, work trips, military air show, Outdoor Sports and Field Days, Lake Norman Day, and to Sporting events.  Another great time of Christian growth is when we take a group of them to the Wilds Christian Camp, to a Men’s Conference at a church, Word of Life Snow Camp, Word of Life Youth Camp, Ridgecrest Conference Center and to similar type events.

We are presently using Griffith High School Gym on West Clemmonsville Road as our Southside Sports Club and have been there all this year.  We have been allowed to use this facility and this summer on a work day we brought 11 youth and helped clean the gym, and we endeavor to keep it clean weekly.  There are 8 men that work with us each week at Southside.

We will continue our existing program at Southside to reach that community but we are also seeking to continue what God has started here and with a broader leadership to reach other youth in our city and one of our needs is other gyms that can be available. Our target audience is Middle and High school boys that have no connections with God’s Word, Christian Role models, or a Gospel centered church.

Recently we received permission from Piedmont Baptist College to start having another Community Sports Club in their Activity Center on Wednesday evenings from 6.30pm to 8.30pm…we are calling this the Piedmont Sports Club. Please continue to pray for workers and youth to come and be involved each week.

One of the interesting parts of this process is that the men that help as leaders are also being mentored and discipled in this amazing process. I can share stories of many young men that we have recruited to help and how God has used this time, the challenge of weekly sharing God’s Word and being a role model…to change their lives.

Paul said…what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.  2 Timothy 2.2 ESV


I look forward to this opportunity to reach Youth for Jesus Christ and to see how God will use other churches and Christian men for the Glory of God.