Dodgeball & Changes


Yesterday was a HUGE night in our Ace Hoops programming at Powderhorn Park. One of those nights we’ll remember for a while, and fortunately for us, for all the right reasons.

I suppose this tendency may not be too far from the norm, but a change in routine for these kids has historically proven disastrous.  And that’s no joke. I remember the first time we introduced dodgeball as a preprogramming activity to get the kids loose and running around, and the leaders time to figure out 5v5 teams (and an excuse to throw balls at kids again, just like the good old days!)

They hated it!!! (What middle school kid does not like playing dodgeball???) HATED IT!

These kids come to play basketball, so if you’re not the fifteen minute interruption of pizza halfway through the programming, you’re not welcome. Not dodgeball. Not trenchball. Nada. Nothing….

You can imagine, consequently, the nerves we had in introducing our Christ-centered 13 Letters  curriculum on Saturday.  This curriculum, designed by Christian hip-hop artist Lecrae, masterfully goes through Paul’s thirteen letters to the Christian church in a way that is meaningful and relevant to the kids we work with.
While the curriculum is absolutely fantastic, it’s not basketball. It’s not even close to dodgeball, which was received with animosity. So we were a bit anxious to see the response….


God is good, and the Spirit was moving. The response we had with the kids was phenomenal!! While two teams were playing five-on-five in the gym, the third team accompanied their coach into another room to watch a short clip from this curriculum, and get an “entry level” introduction to who God is and what the Bible says.

With a bit more detail into the positive response, here’s a few more highlights and affirmations:

  1. Very little—practically nonexistent—grumbling or complaining. (Only an initial reaction from a few players from a team who had lost the game before and not quite over it!)
  2. No fighting for attention. The kids were zoned in on what we were talking about and what the video was describing.
  3. Many of the kids asked good questions, wanting to know more!
  4. In asking for prayer requests, some of the kids really opened up, revealing some very difficult family situations they’re presently facing.

We’re praying that this is just the beginning—that as the kids get more and more comfortable with us and with this curriculum, they will discover Christ’s love for them and develop a relationship with our God who is mighty to save!

We’re one week in, and still so much more for them to discover about God and His love for us. As the Spirit leads, continue to pray for these kids! And as always, keep pressing on….