Yeah baby! March Madness is right around the corner. It’s the do-or-die, youthful energy that surpasses that of pro hoops. Thousands of kids from schools all over the country wear their colors with pride as their teams fight for the honored title of National Champions. And there’s one aspect of it that get me going every time.
It happens every year, and it seems to be a more common occurrence as the years go by. It doesn’t matter how small your school or its lack of a powerful b-ball heritage, as long as your team is selected as one of the 68 there is a chance to win the top prize.
Butler, previously unrecognized by most NCAA enthusiasts, surprised the country by making the championship game two years – losing by the final shot to the perennial powerhouse Duke Bluedevils in the first year. My favorite game of all time was the National Championship game in the ’80s when 8th seeded Villanova defeated top ranked Georgetown.
Lesson: don’t underestimate the competition.
I and three leaders from our church took thirteen teenagers to a conference called Dare2Share last weekend. My job at Evangel Baptist Church in Boardman, OH is half Outreach and half Youth Pastor. This conference combined both aspects of my duties, but I wasn’t expecting what would happen.
During the conference our kids were given a small book that briefly and stylishly outlines the Gospel, with the inside cover left blank. It was for a note to the kid they would be praying for and to whom they would be giving the book. They were also challenged to text that same friend – during one of our sessions – and tell them that they had a gift for them at school the next week (the book). I don’t know if I would have done that at their age. But many of them did.
Before the final session I asked the kids to forgive me because I had underestimated their view of telling their friends about Jesus. I had challenged adults and listened to their ideas on how to impact our community, but hadn’t engage as much with our kids on this vital part of faith.
I put a facebook group together yesterday to encourage the kids and learned that five of them had either already given their books or had made plans to do so the next time they meet up with their friends. Three of them have asked for more books to give out! We’ll be meeting for the next six weeks to work through curriculum to explain the book that will help them share the Gospel and to hold each other accountable on the quest we’ve set out for together.
I may have underestimated our kids, but Satan doesn’t. He’s not Georgetown in the ’85 national championship, thinking he can coast to what is rightfully his because of the insignificant competition. He knows because he’s had his Goliath-sized butt kicked before in the same manner – many times.
If Satan doesn’t underestimate his competition, neither should we. I may have underestimated them before, but I don’t any longer. March Madness is coming to Boardman, OH, and it has nothing to do with sports.
Pray for our kids. The competition is tough and the stakes are high, but there’s an upset in the making.