Feb 192017
 

We are about to conclude our final season of Upward basketball and cheerleading at Good Shepherd. There will not be a 2018 season.

Many of you know that this Upward program is rather dear to me. Lea and I began attending Good Shepherd in 2008. We had one or both boys in the program from 2009 to 2016 (when Aaron aged out). I coached from 2010 to 2016. I assisted the program director in 2014 and 2015. And, I directed the program last year and this year.

It was not my idea to end the program, and part of me is quite disappointed. Personally, it is a blow; no question. While the director position is not an easy one, it has always been important to me to be a happy warrior; to do it with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. (I dare say no one ever heard me complain except Holly and Lea, and even then I kept it brief and infrequent.) Demonstrably, the program means something to at least several hundred people, and that means someone has to direct it. I would have been happy to do it again in 2018.

So why is it ending? Well, there are two main reasons—one immediately addressable, but one not.

The problem we probably could have overcome is that several longstanding contributors to the program are tired of it. That is understandable. Upward at Good Shepherd is a little bit of work for hundreds of people, but it’s a lot of work for a handful. We would have needed different people to step up and take their places. Alternately, we’d have needed to scale parts of the program deployment back. These are navigable paths, except…

…Upward at Good Shepherd isn’t delivering on its core mission anymore. That’s its fatal problem. Unfortunately, Upward has not been an effective mechanism for growing our body of Christ in several years. We are running a basketball program that remains Christ-centered, but that pays no apparent dividends the rest of the year.

The 14-year-old program certainly remains a positive thing for our community. However, we can no longer measure church growth as a direct result of Upward, and it has always been intended as an outreach ministry. It is therefore reasonable to question the wisdom of continuing to invest our blood, sweat, and tears in the program.

I’ve known since the start of this season that this was a possibility, so I’ve had some time to get used to the idea. (I’ve needed it.) Upward Saturdays are some of the happiest times of my life, and I know I’m going to miss them terribly. Nevertheless, I understand the rationale of church leadership in making this decision. I have already pledged to contribute at a similar level to any new ministries Good Shepherd pursues with this sudden surplus of energy and resources. If you’re reading this and you’ve contributed to Upward’s success in the past, perhaps you would consider doing the same.

It’s not always easy to trust God. But it’s always the right thing to do.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support. I am proud and humbled to be here with you, and I look forward to spending these last few Upward weeks with my fellow volunteers, my church brothers and sisters, and most of all these wonderful children and their families.

God bless you all, my friends.

 Posted by at 1:53 pm
Feb 162017
 
  • I watched the first episode of Mr. Robot, loved it, and then never went back to it. I restarted it last night. Two down. I’ll stay with it this time. Watched the pilot of Shameless a couple of nights ago too. Still considering that one. I’ll maybe make a call after three episodes.
  • New bathtub is in, with a little pain but nothing unrecoverable at the end of the day. Lea has big tile plans, so I guess I need to figure out the backing board next.
  • As you may know, I set a strict price limit of $500 for any birthday presents that BoWilliams.com readers get for me. As it happens, this watch just sneaks under the wire, and I want it. (If several of you want to get it for me, you can get other colors. I’d also like blue and black.) I know it says $832, but if you put the code “Cyber” in at checkout you get 40% off, which takes it to $499.20. Perfect! My birthday is in April. And thank you in advance!
  • I went by Madison Square yesterday to have a gander at the destruction. It’s not particularly impressive-looking yet. Doesn’t even look like anything has happened from the back yet.
  • IndyCar testing is in full swing, and the first race is just three weeks and change away. Can’t wait!
  • Lea made strawberry shortcake for dessert on Valentine’s Day, and it was that great mildly sweet Bisquick recipe that is so marvelously crumbly. Been thinking about it since. We may have to have it for breakfast soon.
  • Been trying to shift gradually to an earlier wake time, and that’s not working out. Cold turkey it is. Hopefully it’ll only be uncomfortable for a week or so.
 Posted by at 5:24 pm
Feb 142017
 

Happy Valentine’s Day, dudes and dolls! Been tough to get anything down here lately. Was a little under the weather, then had grown-up church and home improvement stuff to do all weekend. Couple all of that with an ever-dicey sleep regimen, and it’s BoWilliams.com that must suffer first. I’m not sure I have anything of […]

 Posted by at 1:23 pm
Feb 092017
 

“She’s real fine, my 409…” That was one of the first Beach Boys songs I heard, from my dad’s collection of 45s. It was the B-side of “Surfin’ Safari.” I can remember asking my dad what a 409 looked like, and being disappointed when he showed me a picture of just some old plain-looking Chevy […]

 Posted by at 6:57 pm

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