"God answers my prayers everywhere except on the golf-course."
Beyond the Gold
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Beyond the Gold, Bryan Mason, Milton Keynes, Authentic, 2011. ISBN 978-1-86024-811-5The book, whose sub-title is “What every church needs to know about sports ministry”, carries the More than Gold stamp of approval. Published a year before the Olympics, it gives churches adequate time to plan their programmes.
It is a little disconcerting to be asked to review a book and to find oneself quoted on the back cover! What I said was: “Beyond the gold contains a wealth of practical suggestions for ways in which the local church can effectively use sports ministry to bring the good news of Jesus to its community”. At least they had the good sense to include my endorsement above that of David Willson and Graham Daniels!
I stand by my comments! I know of no-one better to give instruction on church sports ministry in the UK. Bryan has worked for Christians in Sport, Church Sport and Recreation Ministry (CSRM) before founding Higher Sports. More importantly he continues to do local church sports ministry.
The book is in 11 chapters – one of which, called More than Gold, focuses specifically on major event ministry past, present and future. The chapter contains an idiots’ guide to how to do run the following events: a sports-orientated Sunday service, a sports tournament, an outreach meal and a big screen party – written by a man who has done them all!
Mason gives a Biblical and historical perspective on ministry as an introduction to the main subject. With his CSRM connection, Bryan also helpfully draws on and evaluates the lessons of American church sports ministry.
Given his background as a teacher, it is not surprising that Bryan communicates well. He is helped by an excellent design of the book with headings galore, bullet points and highlighted text on almost every page. It is a book to read from cover to cover or to dip into.
The chapter “Sports Ministries Home and Abroad” has a page or more on 17 different sports ministries, which will be of great benefit to a church which needs help but is not sure which ministry does what. The section on Verite Sport is on page 170 if you want to start there!
An area which Bryan has pioneered is ministry to senior citizens. His “Second Half Performance” shows how fitness and sport can help churches minister to senior citizens in their community.
What I particularly like about this book is that it is practical from start to finish. Moreover, on almost every page there is an illustration from Bryan’s own experience – further confirmation that he practises what he preaches.
The book acknowledges that some of the material has previously appeared in Into the stadium but it has been substantially revised and updated.
Buy two copies and give one to your pastor or vicar!