Articles Written By Dale Lee

Learn More To Do More Project

A Church Recreation Ministry Can’t Be a Real Ministry,
Because it Deals with People Having Fun©

Article Directory
What Is a Church Recreation Ministry (CRM) Will a CRM Sponsor a Specific Sport League or Team, Club, Fellowship, Etc.
The CRM and Prayer Securing Volunteers to Lead CRM Activities
Develop a CRM Mission Statement and Goals CRM Activity Calendar
Organizing the CRM to Be an Important Part of the Church’s Outreach Ministry CRM Budget
Church Recreation Ministry Team (CRMT) Members for a Large CRM Evaluating the CRM Sponsored Activities
Identify Facilities That the Church Can Use for its CRM Activities Security for the Players, Spectators, and Facilities
Target Groups for CRM Participation Requiring Police Background Checks for Adults That Will Work with Children and Youth
Organizing and Operating a CRM Sport Team, Club, or Fellowship Darts Are Excellent at Leveling the Playing Field but Not the Skill Level
CRM Sport Team The CRM is the Church’s Casual Evangelistic Outreach
CRM Club
CRM Fellowship Your Comment Is Wanted

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What Is a Church Recreation Ministry (CRM)

What is your definition of a Church Recreation Ministry (CRM)? My definition is “A Church Recreation Ministry sponsors activities that support the church’s mission statement and enables church members and community members to spend time with each other in an enjoyable environment.” This definition puts emphasis on the church having a good mission statement.

After you have read this article, I want you to write your definition of a Church Recreation Ministry and sent it to Dale Lee. As you write the definition, think of the definition as a Church Recreation Ministry Mission Statement.

A CRM can be a softball team playing in a local softball league. A CRM can consist of a variety of leagues, and it is led by a full-time Minister of Recreation. These two CRMs are examples of the extreme ranges of what can be called a CRM.

The organization of a local church that is needed to support a CRM will vary. If a church has one team operating at a time, the team’s coach may be the CRM staff that reports to the church council, paid staff, or the pastor. The CRM will need to become more formal in structure as the number of sponsored teams increase.

It is common for a CRM to focus on sport teams which limit what a CRM can do if it is one dimension. The focus of a CRM can be divided into three types of activities. They are sport teams, clubs, and fellowships. What a church can do with sport teams, clubs, and fellowships are determined by the interests and creativity of the church’s members.

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The CRM and Prayer

Planning and conducting any CRM activity should be surrounded by prayer by the CRM leaders and participating church members. The activity is an activity of the church. If the activity includes non churched participants, the prayer at the start or end of an activity may be the only association these participants have with prayer. Do not slip into the attitude that an activity that has fun as a major part of its objective is not as important to the church as any “worship” service. Every church activity is important to the church’s ministry.

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Develop a CRM Mission Statement and Goals


The mission statement will define the purpose of the CRM and the general results that are to be achieved by the CRM. Goals should be developed that will give specific directions as to how the mission statement will be achieved. The CRM’s mission statement will support the church’s mission statement.

Examples of general results that a CRM mission statement can contain are:

Support the church’s mission statement.

Promote the church.

Provide activities through which church outreach efforts can be achieved.

Provide a way for community members to participate in a church-sponsored activity.

Provide a way for church members and their family members to participate in sports in a

            wholesome atmosphere.

Provide a way for church members to spend time together (fellowship).

Have rules that will require participants in a league or team to participate in church services

and organizations.

Provide a sport team for the church members to play a sport.

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Organizing the CRM to Be an Important Part of the Church's Outreach Ministry

It is easier to get non churched people to attend and participate in CRM activities, because there is typically an element of fun to the activity. CRM activities can be an active aspect of the church’s outreach efforts to get non churched people to attend church events and get the non churched people to meet church members.

It is a good idea to develop procedures and forms that will be used at CRM activities that will enable name, address, and contact number to be secured from the non church members that attend and participate. The submission of this information by people should be volunteer in nature. The data will be given to appropriate church organizations’ leaders so a follow-up contact by church representatives can be made. Information about the church and its ministries should be made available to the non church member participants.

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Church Rrecreation Ministry Team (CRMT) Members for a Large CRM

The organization of a CRMT will be based on the functions that it will perform. How the CRMT will be organized to perform the functions will vary according to the focus and size of the CRM.


Positions and functions to be handled by the CRMT members:

            Minister (Director) of Church Recreation.

            Record Keeper.

            Budget Manager.

            CRM Newsletter Editor.

            Recreation Facilities Manager.

            CRM Activity Calendar Manager.

            Leader of each league.

            Leader of each club and fellowship.

            Coach of each team.

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Identify Facilities That the Church Can Use for its CRM Activities

Most churches do not have a gym and even fewer churches have their own ball fields. Does this limit their ability to sponsor a sport league? Yes. Does this limit the church’s ability to sponsor basketball, softball, volleyball, and soccer teams? No. A church that does not have a gym & ball fields does not mean it does not have any recreation facilities. A church that has a large fellowship hall or large rooms can establish recreation activities that fit the available church’s facilities.

Not having a gym or ball fields just means that the church will use other organizations’ facilities and leagues. Sources for potential facilities are private sport associations, YMCA, YWCA, civic organizations, churches, city and county parks and recreation departments, public school systems, private schools, very large manufacturing plants, etc.

In the mid 1990s, I attended a meeting that was attended by a Minister of Recreation. When he introduced himself to the rest of the group, he got my attention when he talked about the teams, leagues, and activities his church sponsored. I wondered about the size of his church’s gym and how many ball fields did the church own. My next shock was when I found out that the church did not have a gym or a ballfield.

To have a large CRM program such as this man’s church required advance planning. A church may have to get on a waiting list in order to gain access to a ball field or gym where a league can be operated. It is easier to find a league to enter a team than it is to find the facilities to operate a league. One church I attended sponsored seven softball and basketball teams in a year. The church did not have a gym or ball field.

Finding a bowling league for a church team may be a challenge, because a league may be limited to the number of teams it can have due to the number of bowling alleys that the league is allowed to use. A potential bowling team may have to get on a waiting list and wait until there is an opening for a team. Finding available alleys to start a bowling league may not be hard if the league can operate during the day during the week. It is often difficult to find available alleys to operate a night league.

It can take several years to develop a CRM that sponsors many activities.

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Target Groups for CRM Participation

The potential target age groups for participation in some CRM activities are as varied as the church’s membership and its community population. Possible target age and people groups are:





Senior Adults.





Family units.

Grandparents & grandchildren.

Husband and wife.

Adult and a child.

Height restrictions.

Age restrictions.

People that have mental or physical limitations (challenged) are an excellent group of people to target for developing activities. Participation rules can be designed to compensate for the limitations and encourage an appropriate level of competition for the participants. Close attention will need to be given to entrances to the facilities, restrooms, seating, etc. Wheelchair basketball is an example of adapting basketball rules for people that cannot play on a typical basketball team.

CRM is an opportunity to be creative in looking for ways to involve people in situations that they normally would not participate. A person with a physical limitation may not be able to play on a typical softball team, but he may be able to serve as a coach, keep game records and team statistics, serve as equipment manager, etc.

A nearby college, military base, large recreation facility can be a focus for which the CRM can design activities for the students, military personnel, people on vacation, etc. Be creative. Think outside the Sunday morning 11:00 worship service boundary when planning.

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Organizing and Operating a CRM Sport Team, Club, or Fellowship

Organizing a sport team, club, or fellowship requires about the same effort. The focus of the specific sport team, club, or fellowship will determine the differences. When organizing a sport team, club, or fellowship, be sure to answer the why, what, who, when, where, how, and any other questions you or other people will have.

Be sure to pay close attention to the following items when developing an organization.

            Organization mission statement.

            Leadership structure.


            Competition rules.

            Competition officials.

            How to communicate with participants.

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CRM Sport Team

Sport Team. Sport teams are often organized to play basketball, softball, soccer, and volleyball for children, youth, and adults. A league of teams can be sponsored or the support may be one team. Sport teams are the most common focus of CRMs. Some of the sport teams that can be sponsored are:

Softball team/league.

Volleyball team/league.

Basketball team/League.

Children’s football team/league.

Children teaching focused sport team/league.

Darts team/league.

Soccer team/ league.

Bowling team/league.

Tee ball team/league.

Kick ball team/league for children and adults.



Ping pong.



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CRM Club

Club. A group of people that are united together by a common interest. The club has meetings with the purpose of advancing the interest, a hobby, activity, educational interest, etc. that unifies the people into a club.

Examples of clubs are:

1. Drama Club develops material to present to nursing homes, preschool kids, worship services, etc.

2. Craft Club creates crafts that are given to selected people such as home bound church members, preschoolers, used by other ministries, etc.

3. Cookie Club bakes cookies that are served at church socials, VBS snacks, community ministries, homebound church members, etc.

4. Visit Club visits church members that are in a nursing home, homebound, etc.

5. Repair Toys Club collects toys and refurbishes the toys so they can be given to children.

6. Mentoring Club mentors students to help them achieve better grades. A mentoring club can focus on other subjects such as new parents, newlyweds, family finances, taking care of an adult parent, etc. There can be a fine line between a mentoring club and a support club.

7. Walking Club promotes the value of people exercising.

8. House Repair Club performs minor house repairs for people that need a helping hand such as senior adults, people experiencing serious family health problems, etc. The focus can be the church’s members and/or community members. The club may furnish the labor at no charge and may permit people to pay for the supplies used.

9. Bible Study Club studies the Bible. The club can meet at the church or at a location away from the church property.

10. Travel Club plans opportunities to visit historical sites, shopping sites, etc. that enable the members to do things together.

11. Fishing Club uses the fun and enjoyment of fishing to get people to spend time together and enjoy being outdoors.

12. Family Finance Club educates people on how to do more with the money they earn.

13. Support Club groups.

14. Pinewood Race Car Club.

15. Bible Sword Drill Club.

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CRM Fellowship


Fellowship. A group of people that meet with the purpose of getting to spend time with each other. Each meeting may have a stated theme. The focus is to give people a reason to get together. There are times that there may be a fine line that separates a fellowship from a club. A fellowship’s focus may be its members and/or the church’s membership.

Examples of Fellowships are:

1. Pot luck meal at a regularly scheduled time.

2. Activities that honor a specific age group, type of professions/community efforts (teachers, policemen, firemen, leaders in the community, volunteers, store clerks, church leaders, etc.).

3. Reception for special emphasis days such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, baptism service, etc.

4. Reception for different age groups each month.

5. Monthly birthday parties.


Fellowship activities can help develop stronger relationships within the church’s membership and relationships between the church members and the community members.

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Will a CRM Sponsor a Specific Sport League or Team, Club, Fellowship, Etc.

“Is a CRM going to sponsor a new activity?” is a question that deserves scrutiny. To answer this question, several other questions need to be answered.

Does the new activity fit within the CRM’s mission statement?

Is there appropriate interest by enough people to support the activity?

Has a person agreed to lead the activity?

Where will the activity be conducted?

How will the expense of the new activity be funded?

When will the activity begin?

If it is a sport team, what is the league in which the team will participate?

What will be done to promote the activity and enlist participants?

After beginning a new CRM activity, be sure to give a new activity appropriate time to determine if it will be successful. It is not usual that a new activity may need several adjustments to its rules and organization before it will become successful.

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Securing Volunteers to Lead CRM Activities

Volunteers are the backbone of a CRM. It is important that quality volunteers are secured, and they are well trained to perform their assignments. Supervision of volunteers is very important to make sure the volunteers are doing what they are supposed to do and they have the appropriate resources.

The leaders of volunteers need to determine if the church will provide liability insurance for the volunteers and if each volunteer is required to undergo a police background check.

A quick way to start the process that can cause a volunteer to quit is to cause the volunteer to think the appropriate CRM leaders and church leaders do not support him and his efforts. Three simple concepts to use when working with volunteers are to provide them with training, stay in contact with them, and keep them informed.

A good idea is to at least yearly have a formal recognition of volunteers that lead and help operate the CRM.

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CRM Activity Calendar

It is very important to have one calendar that is used to schedule the CRM sponsored activities. It must be coordinated with the church’s calendar. A large CRM can have activities occurring each day of the week. The calendar is very critical. The gym’s usage for games, practices, etc. must be blocked off on the calendar as soon as possible.

Conflict can develop when people planning a wedding, reception, meal, revival, etc. want to use the church’s facilities after it is scheduled to be used by the CRM. Plan ahead in scheduling the facilities. Do not be surprised when a wedding party thinks a league’s games are to be postponed to accommodate the dates and needs of the wedding.

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CRM Budget

The CRM budget will vary from church to church. Some church will pay all or part of a team’s entry fee. Other churches will require the team members to pay the entry fee through a fee each team member will pay to join the team.

Using the church’s facilities for recreation activities will cause more wear and tear on the facilities than a Sunday School class or a potluck meal. Part of operating a CRM is to have plans to help maintain the facilities. Marks on the walls or floor with a few damaged chairs, tables, etc. can become complaint topics for people that are against the CRM. The cost of repairing the wear and tear that will occur to the facilities need to be included in the budget of the CRM or in the church’s Building Maintenance budget.

If the CRM is sponsoring activities for community children, there will be some children that may not have the money to cover the cost of participating in the activities. Plans should be made for assisting children that need financial assistance. Will the church have a budgeted amount to assist the children? One way is to have church members provide “scholarships” for the children.

If the CRM activities are viewed as church outreach activities, the church outreach budget could provide some help to cover the cost of the CRM activities.

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Evaluating the CRM Sponsored Activities

Goals that are measurable should be established for each league club, fellowship activity, etc. so each can be evaluated with the goals as the focus of the evaluation. The evaluation process is critical for improving each aspect of a CRM. The planning process and the evaluation process are two times that God can be very active in giving direction to the CRM leaders.

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Security for the Players, Spectators, and Facilities

Security is needed at a church’s facilities while a league’s activities are being conducted. The security provides protection for the church’s facilities and the people participating in the activities.

It is good to limit the access of participants and fans to only the facilities that relate to the activity. The appearance of a volunteer at strategic positions in a facility can go a long way of keeping bored children, youth, and adults under control.

The neighborhood of the activity can influence how much security needs to be provided at the activity. Do not forget to take into consideration the distance needed to walk to the parking lot by the participants.

A security service or off duty police officers can be employed to provide security. The security can be provided by volunteers if they can quickly contact police officers if they are needed. If it can be worked out, it would be good to have the local police stop by the facilities as they patrol the area. A nice Thank You gesture to the local police officer would be to have coffee, soft drinks, etc. available for them when they stop by the facilities. The periodic appearance of police officers at the facilities will help keep some people under control.

If volunteers are used to provide security, under no circumstances is a volunteer to attempt to detain a person that is causing problems. The volunteer needs to be observant so he can give police a good description of the person and what happen. The volunteer needs to write down what he saw as soon as possible, because the memory of details will start to quickly fade. It is best if a police officer conduct train provided to the security volunteers. If a security problem develops, it can quickly get out of hand to the point that people can get hurt.

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Requiring Police Background Checks for Adults That Will Work with Children and Youth

Will a Police Background Check be required of each person that will work with children and youth? This is a subject churches are having to consider. A background check will be helpful to the church in case the church becomes involved in a law suit resulting from the misconduct of a person working with a team, club, etc. “Who would pay for the background check?” is another question to be answered. A church or the CRM leaders when discussing this issue will need to consult with a lawyer to determine the potential liability for the church, CRM leaders, team coaches, etc.

The normal focus for having police background check is to identify people that have been charged with a crime against children and youth. A background check may identify that a person that has been convicted of a crime that has nothing to do with children or youth. A clear policy should be prepared that will cover the process of securing a police background check and how the data included in the report will be used. The police background check report should be reviewed by a limited number of people.

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Darts Are Excellent at Leveling the Playing Field but Not the Skill Level

Darts is a game that is typically associated with pubs, taverns, drinking establishments, etc. instead of churches. Darts can be a sport that a church can use to develop leagues for all ages of people.

While I was in charge of the adult sport leagues at the West Branch YMCA in Kansas City, Kansas, I heard about a dart league. The dart baseball league was sponsored by four American Baptist Churches located in Kansas City, Kansas. After talking to a person that participated in the dart league, I started developing plans to establish dart leagues at the YMCA.

The following factors caused me to think darts would be a good sport for the YMCA to sponsor and for churches to sponsor.

- Securing equipment for a dart league is relatively inexpensive.

- Darts can be played by people older than preschoolers.

- People with some mental and/or physical limitations can participate in dart matches.

            The rules can be appropriately altered to accommodate these participants.

- Rules are easy to understand.

- Teams can be made up of members of different ages.

- A good sport for senior adults.

- Most churches have rooms that are large enough to play darts and have room for spectators.

- Strict enforcement of the rules can make metal and plastic tipped darts safe for teams that have children as members.


Dart leagues can use the traditional dart target board with numbers and concentric circles or a baseball game can be played using a target that is designed with a baseball diamond layout. There are electronic scoreboards that will keep track of the individual players scores. There are several dart organizations and dart supply companies that can be located on the internet if dart related resources are not available where you live.

At the YMCA, I was planning to establish dart leagues for senior adults that would be held during the weekday mornings. The YMCA had very few activities for senior adults, and the facilities were lightly used during the weekday mornings. I was not able to finalize the plans for the dart leagues, because I completed my studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and changed jobs. Even though I did not get to organize the dart leagues, I developed an appreciation for the fellowship and competition that could be achieved through playing darts.

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The CRM is the Church's Casual Evangelistic Outreach

A CRM can be effective in getting people to visit the church’s facilities and mingle with church members. With the CRM activities focusing on activities that are of interest to people, it is easier to get non churched people to visit the church when compared to getting them to attend a church’s worship service. Through the CRM sponsored activities, non churched people get to know church members as team members which will help reduce the negative feels they may have about attending a church service. The church members when they are spending time with the non churched people are increasing the potential that the non churched people will allow them to talk with them about their relationship with Jesus. This could be considered to be casual evangelism without being aggressive.

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Your Comment Is Wanted

If you have a question or comment about the content of this article written by Dale Lee, notify Dale. When you send an e-mail, be sure to include the article in question's title, your name, and your comments/questions. Dale is interested in hearing from you.

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June 26, 2005