1,000 Gyms

Vocatio = Begin with the End in Mind

Vocatio = Your “calling” in Latin



Begin with the end in mind. In Stephen Covey’s best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “begin with the end in mind” is habit #2. Hopefully you have written down what God is telling you to do, your Mission Statement, and your Purpose Statement. What is the end-game of all this? You have to begin, not blindly, but knowing what you want to accomplish. What do you envision accomplishing through this? Begin there.

Several years ago I attended an Upward Sports leadership conference with my friend Terry Haley. We were able to hear a dynamic talk by Upward founder Caz McCaslin. He was telling the story of how Upward basketball came to be. He said, “There is one way to God, through Jesus Christ. But there are many, many ways to Jesus Christ.” Caz chose basketball for his ministry; the way he would lead kids toward Jesus. Caz started a basketball league at his church in Spartanburg, South Carolina. After about six years of growing the league at his church, Caz drove home so excited to tell his wife the news that the league had grown so much that they “had 550 kids signed up and 27 on the waiting list.” His wife said, “Well, babe if that’s what you want to do is put 27 kids on a waiting list, then you did good. “What do you mean?” a confused Caz asked. His wife replied, “Honey, we didn’t sign up for this to turn kids away, we signed up to reach kids.”

Not too long after that Dr. Johnny Hunt came to speak to Caz’s church about church growth. Dr. Hunt said something to the effect of, “If you have an opportunity to reach people, and you turn them away, you might as well just put a sign outside of your church that says, ‘Go to hell.'” Caz went outside and cried for those 27 kids on the waiting list. He knew he had to change something. So he approached a wealthy man at the church and asked if he would fund the construction of another gym at the church. The wise man told Caz, “You don’t need another gym, you need a thousand gyms.”

Twenty-five years later, over half a million children play Upward Sports in more than 2,600 churches throughout the United States and the world. Through Upward Sports, every one of these kids has heard the message of the gospel. In fact, my own daughter Taylor came to Christ through Upward Basketball. As I coached her team, on the last week of practice, there was a gospel presentation given by the coach (devotionals at practice throughout the season lead up to this moment). As I finished the presentation and gave an invitation, I will never forget Taylor raising her sweet little hand in obedience to the Lord’s calling. I can picture it like it was yesterday. Caz McCaslin’s vision of “1,000 gyms” is personal to me as it led to the salvations of many youth, including my daughter, and had and is still having a large Kingdom impact.

What is your “1,000 gyms?” Maybe God is not calling you to do something this grand; maybe your call is to get plugged into a ministry or starting a ministry at your church. Or maybe He has planted a magnificent call in your heart, something much bigger than you. I don’t know. But you do!

It’s time to formulate an action plan. Get out a sheet of paper. Begin with the end in mind. Take what God is telling you to do, your Mission Statement, and your Purpose Statement and think of what all this will look like at the end. What does it look like in 10 years? What does it look like in 5 years? 3 years? 1 year? 6 months? 90 days? 60 days? 30 days? 10 days? This is your action plan.

Just for today, create an action plan. Now keep it with you and review it each morning, noon, and night.

Tune in tomorrow for Part Six……


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s