What is Upward?
As stated by the
"Upward is an evangelistic sports ministry specifically designed for K5
through sixth grade boys and girls that promotes salvation, character, and
self-esteem in every child. In addition to basketball, Upward offers
cheerleading, soccer and flag football programs to complete your Upward
ministry. Upward provides opportunities for all believers, no matter what
denomination, to become meaningfully involved in the ministries of your
church. They will have the opportunity to pray for your program, coach a
team, referee a game, share a devotion, and develop relationships in order
to open avenues of ministry to the people of your community who will
participate in your program."
More specifically, Upward is an
interdenominational sports ministry program where church
participants believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ; believe that the
Bible is the inspired, authoritative Word of God; believe in the
deity of our Lord Jesus Christ; and believe in the spiritual unity
of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, among
other belief statements.
Unlike other sports programs, Upward
emphasizes sportsmanship, character, self-esteem, and Christ-like
behavior over "winning at any cost". That is not to say that
Upward games are not competitive, but rather that the aspect of
winning is not the primary goal. For example, a pre-season
evaluation process allows the creation of equal teams with equal
opportunity for improvement among players. Furthermore, a
substitution system is enforced that promotes equal playing times
for each player. Upward coaches and referees all must have
made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, and are themselves
trained in specific Upward game rules and game skill development.
Weekly practice sessions include a time
of prayer, a Bible based devotional, and scripture memorization.
A time of prayer precedes every game, and written or spoken
devotionals are provided for parents and spectators at half-time.
Included in the registration cost for
Upward include Upward jerseys or cheerleading uniforms.
Depending on the specific sport, other items usually received by
each child include:
An Upward car magnet
Game day recognition awards and an end of the season award
Cheerleading pom-poms and megaphone
Upward sports also provide an extensive
opportunity for spiritual growth in the adults and teenagers who
volunteer. Volunteer opportunities include being a coach, an
assistant coach, a referee, a scorekeeper, a concession stand
worker, and a game day helper (preparing fields and handing out
information). There are leadership positions, individuals who
give game day devotionals or provide written devotionals, and those
who help with Award ceremony activities. The opportunities are
almost limitless, and are universally rewarding. For an
hear a testimony given by a Cool Spring Church member after he
coached his first year of Upward Flag Football in the 3rd to 5th
Grade Girls league.
Interested in Upward but you don't
live in this area?
Click here for the Upward League Finder!
Dick's Sporting Goods is an official sponsor of Upward Hanover!