Not a day goes by that I don’t get several hits on my post about HOW WE DO OUR DODGEBALL TOURNAMENT (https://markartrip.wordpress.com/2007/12/05/how-we-do-our-dodgeball-tournament/). I have even been trading emails and phone calls with some readers whose success and updates I hope to share on here soon to build a little community.
Our 4th annual HSM/Zone dodgeball tournament happened over the weekend so I thought I would update the world on what went down and some notes and thoughts.
Here is the logo and artwork that Brandon came up with this year. We used clubflyers.com again and did our 5,000 card blitz through our students. I was amazed by how much faster the cards went this year since because our Middle and High school ministries have both grown. We bundle the cards in packs of 10 when we get them so that students can’t take one, but take ten with the expectation that they will invite friends.
I don’t know if it would work for everyone in this context, but for us a dodgeball tournament has been a great way to attract a crowd to the doorstep of our ministry and share the gospel. Last year the tournament pretty much reached its capacity in our building so this year we split up the middle and high school. We had middle school from 12-4 and than high school from 7-10. We made the split because we didn’t wan to limit what God could do or how many people could hear the gospel at the event. Every year as we have thrown more money and vision into the event, it has continued to grow and flourish.
One change that we made this year was making the tournament free. In years past we had charged anywhere from 1$-$5. This year we decided to put our money where our mouth is. I mean that rather than just putting Outreach as a value on a pamphlet, we footed the bill for the night and although the food wasn’t as ample as the year we changed $5, nobody left unhappy.
I challenged our group this year that we had to reach out. We don’t do a dodgeball tournament so we can throw balls at each others heads, we do it to share the gospel and get touches in people’s lives. Not a week goes by that I don’t talk to a student who doesn’t regularly come to our church, but has been to dodgeball.
I wasn’t trying to be pessimistic or down, but all week I felt under attack. I spent some time in the word Early Saturday because I needed to and prayed that I wouldn’t get in the way of anything God was trying to do. I went to the middle school tournament and hung out and watched. It was a great event and made me event wonder what ours would look like.
Long story short, we gathered early and prayed as an adult staff around 5:30. Student started showing up at 6, even though we didn’t start till 7. Team after team walked in and I didn’t know any of the students. We set up the rules so that 3/5 of the team can’t be from our church, but entire teams were coming and none of them went to our church. The whole night was a wakeup call to me that I am not in control; God is. We had so many teams, the place was burning up, the tournament was hard to control, and everything was more complicated; PRAISE GOD!
We had 170 students on teams and well over 200 people in the room. We also had many commitments and 12 students indicate that they prayed to receive Christ for the first time. It has been said that a ministry will see success when it becomes others-focused and I think we are getting there. Those numbers let me know that our group was reaching out and I am humbled by what God did and so proud of HSM.