From Pastor Ken
I was introduced to Jake Pratt along with millions of others, courtesy of ESPN video footage. Jake was a high school senior with Down syndrome. Jake’s family and his school did not see limitations in his life, but only possibilities.
Jake was given an opportunity to leave the sideline roll of manager for the football team that he had held throughout his high school career; on a very special Friday night, he was allowed to suit up with the rest of the players. My heart was overwhelmed as he was dressed out in a team uniform on the sideline. But Jake’s story doesn’t stop there.
When the footage showed Jake going into the game, I watched in amazement as the tears began to flow. As the play was called, everyone on both sides of the ball supported number 90 as he ran for a touchdown. The entire stadium erupted in joy, and I sat tear soaked and speechless.
I will never forget the sound of the fans as Jake was cheered on to what must be one of the most memorable occasions of his life: contributing to a football team he has loved and served for many years. Off the sideline and into the game! Jake did not have to be given the desire to play. He only needed the opportunity.
As I viewed this powerful real life expression of “team,” my mind raced to Romans 12:5, wherein we are told that in the church each member belongs one to another. This indicates that we are responsible for how each member of the body of Christ should be in the play; there are no sidelines in the Kingdom of Christ.
So, church member and church leader, in the spirit of being an equipping church, who are you trying to get into the game? Do you desire to see someone running for the end zone more than yourself? Are you willing to do what it takes to give that “someone” an opportunity to be trained (by this, I mean discipleship), encouraged, and involved in becoming one who ministers and leads. I am so glad Jake’s coach put Him in the game.
Can we as a people of God make our priority to disciple someone until he or she is truly making an impact in the church, and through the church to the world? This becomes our opportunity to create leaders within the church. Let’s not just create good church members, but rather equip active ministers. Let’s put Jake in the game!