Wednesday, February 03, 2010

More Churches Using Mixed Martial Arts to Reach Men

A Report from
InfoA small but growing number of evangelical churches have embraced mixed martial arts—a sport with a reputation for violence and blood that combines kickboxing, wrestling and other fighting styles—to reach young men, whose church attendance has been persistently low. Mixed martial arts events have drawn millions of television viewers, and one was the top pay-per-view event in 2009. The goal, these pastors say, is to inject some machismo into their ministries—and into the image of Jesus. “Compassion and love—we agree with all that stuff, too,” said Brandon Beals, 37, the lead pastor at Canyon Creek Church outside of Seattle. “But what led me to find Christ was that Jesus was a fighter.” The outreach is part of a larger and more longstanding effort on the part of some ministers who fear that their churches have become too feminized, promoting kindness and compassion at the expense of strength and responsibility. “The man should be the overall leader of the household,” said Ryan Dobson, 39, a pastor and fan of mixed martial arts who is the son of James Dobson. Fighting as a metaphor has resonated with some young men. “I'm fighting to provide a better quality of life for my family and provide them with things that I didn’t have growing up,” said Mike Thompson, 32, a former gang member who until recently had struggled with unemployment. “Once I accepted Christ in my life,” Mr. Thompson said, “I realized that a person can fight for good.”

The New York Times 2/1/10

1 comment:

fightpastor said...