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2009 Conversations


2008 Conversations


2007 Conversations


2006 Conversations


2005 Conversations


Benji creator Joe Camp: Moral movies, personal cost (12/26/04)

Gloria Gaither: A Gaither family Christmas(12/19/04)

Allyson Feliz: Olympic medalist  shares passion for following Christ (12/12/04)

Dan Dean: Walking by faith (11/28/04)

J. Don George: Every church can touch the poor (11/21/04)

Brock Gill: Jesus is no illusion (11/14/04)

Ted Dekker: Good, evil and the battle for souls (10/31/04)

Bob Kilpatrick: CCM: Growing and changing (10/17/04)

Eugene H. Peterson: Man with a message (10/10/04)

Caz McCaslin: Fixing kids sports (9/26/04)

Jerry B. Jenkins: A novel approach to evangelism (9/19/04)

Natalie Grant: Living the dream (9/12/04)

Sharon Ellard: A life-changing education (8/29/04)

Steven Curtis Chapman: All things new (8/22/04)

Jim Ryun: Running to Jesus (8/15/04)

George Barna: Today’s church: By the numbers (8/8/04)

Randy Singer: Made to count (7/25/04)

Holly McClure: Morality and the media (7/18/04)

Don Miller and Richard Flory:Taking the Church to today's culture (7/11/04)

Cecil Richardson: Pastoring the Air Force’s 'Pastors' (6/27/04)

Barry Meguiar: Driven by faith (6/20/04)

Thomas E. Trask: Concerned for America (6/13/04)

Dr. David Yonggi Cho: The work of the Holy Spirit (5/30/04)

Tom Greene: High school: A great mission field (5/16/04)

Jennifer Rothschild: Walk by faith, not by sight (5/9/04)

Chaplain Alex Taylor: Forgiveness and restoration (4/25/04)

Joshua Harris: Not even a hint (4/18/04)

Nicky Cruz: Changing America (4/11/04)

Jason Schmidt: Lessons learned on life’s field (3/28/04)

Scott Temple: One church, many colors (3/21/04)

Michael W. Smith: Called to worship (3/14/04)

Representative Jo Ann Davis: Christians in politics (2/29/04)

Darlene Zschech: Sing, shout … just shout the praise the Lord (2/22/04)

Surgeon James W Long: For your heart’s sake, get fit (2/15/04)

Jerry R. Kirk: Battling pornography (2/8/04)

Dr Michael Ferris: A choice to heal (1/18/04)

Chaplain Al Worthley: Outside the four walls of the church (1/11/04)


2003 Conversations


2002 Conversations


2001 Conversations

 

Fixing kids sports

While serving as a recreation minister in 1986, Caz McCaslin, 42, started Upward Sports Ministries, which emphasizes to sports-playing children and their parents the value of Christlikeness and good sportsmanship. In the past 18 years the ministry has grown from a handful of participants to more than 400,000 5- to 12-year-olds nationwide. McCaslin spoke recently with Associate Editor Kirk Noonan.

PE: Kids sports seem pretty serious these days. Do kids like it that way?

McCASLIN: Kids want to have fun, but many parents are obsessed with competition. In the past couple of decades winning has become the most important thing.

A lot of parents think that if their kid does everything exactly the way it's to be done, his or her team will always win. That's not true. Up until age 12 or 13, kids need to be learning and understanding the game they are playing and not be so focused on winning.

PE: Speaking of obsession with sports, I recently read that a couple of families named their kids "ESPN" in a nod to the cable television sports network. What does that tell you?

McCASLIN: I love sports. That's why I do what I do. But sports are something God created for us to learn physical and life skills from and use as a tool to share Christ. It's not that sports in and of themselves are negative; it's that people have tainted them and placed too much importance on them.

PE: What should parents' roles be regarding their son's or daughter's involvement in sports?

McCASLIN: The main role is to encourage their children and find the positive in everything  they do. Positive reinforcement is crucial. Kids would be playing a lot longer and having a lot more fun in sports today if parents would keep in mind that it's meant to be fun.

PE: Your program approaches practices and games a bit differently than a regular kids city league — tell me about that.

McCASLIN: When it comes to ball games, every child gets equal playing time. We stop the clock every six minutes so each child will never sit longer than six minutes. We also rotate who starts every game.

When our referees make a call, they explain it to all the kids so they learn. Every player is introduced. A lot of churches set up fog machines or a tunnel for the kids to come running through too. At the end of each game, every child gets an award.

PE: You think church and sports go hand in hand. Why is that?

McCASLIN: Our purpose is to help children understand that God doesn't make junk and that every kid is a winner. What better place to learn that than at a church? To do that we do share the love of Jesus Christ with them, teach them good sportsmanship and tell them that God has a purpose for every one of them. Many kids and even their parents won't come to church for a service, but they will come to play sports. Upward is a hook that can get the unsaved person into church and, more importantly, into a relationship with Christ.

PE: What do you say to the die-hard soccer mom and dad who say, "All the feel-good stuff is great, but I want my kid to be ready to play ball at the next level and a program like Upward just won't prepare my child for that"?

McCASLIN: A lot of kids feel pressured when they play sports and they burn out early. You give me an athlete who has the potential to play high school or college ball and they're going to end up playing at those levels. The difference with Upward is that the kids are going to have fun, learn spiritual truths and skip all the pressure.

PE: In the media recently there have been accounts of unruly parents behaving badly at their kids' ball games. What do you do with a loudmouth parent at an Upward game?

McCASLIN: A parent usually yells because he or she truly understands the game and wants the game to be played right. I can appreciate that. In an honest, loving way, I have literally walked up to such parents, pulled a whistle out of my pocket and asked them to help me referee a game. That usually solves the problem. If someone is yelling, we don't want to kick him or her out; we want to bring them in. We use conflict as a ministry opportunity.

PE: When you retire, what do you hope Upward Sports Ministries will have accomplished?

McCASLIN: I hope and pray that every child who has come through our program will say, "Those people saw a winner in me and they drew that winner out."

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