By CLINT FOSTER
For nine years, Upward Sports has been a part of the Mineral Wells community, providing a Sports Ministry Basketball league that focuses on building skills and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with young players and their families.
Now as Upward heads into its 10th year in the area, the Upward Leadership team, led by league commissioner Kayla Buchanan, has announced that they will offer the 2014 league for free to all participants.
“Upward challenged us this year with: ‘Are You All In?’” Buchanan said.
“What are you willing to do to see that your entire town has heard of Jesus? God began to speak to my heart.
“He reminded me that this was His ministry, that it was extremely valuable and should continue, and what was I willing to do to see that every child from Kindergarten to sixth grade would hear of His Son.”
The league will be offered for free thanks to the support of many local church congregations and others in the community, including the Mineral Wells Church of God, the Ministerial Alliance and First Baptist Church Mineral Wells – where Kayla’s husband, Nathan Buchanan, is the pastor.
Last year’s program had about 180 participants and Buchanan said they believe by offering the program for free this time, they can increase that number to around 300 or 400 participants.
Buchanan added that last year, they shared the Gospel with about 600 people, including the family and friends of children participants, through Upward – twice the size of First Baptist’s average Sunday attendance.
Buchanan believes by attracting more participants the ministry opportunities will only grow as well.
“God just reminded me, it’s not about the basketball,” Buchanan said. “It’s about lives being changed.”
Upward provides basketball leagues and skills training for kids from kindergarten to 6th grade, with vary levels of difficulty and intensity.