God’s game plan for an honorable life includes cultivating discipline, determination and even running a race with a firm resolve to win, according to Scripture.

So it should come as little surprise that First Christian Church’s upcoming children’s Mega Sports Camp mixes a measure of athletics and Godly guidance.

“We’re teaching them a little the whole time,” said Max Bumbalough, a longtime local youth coach and camp volunteer. “But we’re not at all pushy. We want to lead in a way so that they will follow.”

The program priced at $10 is meant to help youngsters in grades kindergarten through Grade 6 sharpen their shots, get their kicks and build character and faith — all while learning from the life of Moses. He led a sizable team of followers out of Egypt and a life of slavery and defeat to victory and redemption in The Promised Land.

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Gaining Christian character, camp volunteers will tell participants, happens when people enact the same right behavior repeatedly.

“Just like sports, nobody’s going to be perfect at it,” said Katie Lohmeyer, First Christian’s director of children’s ministries. “And to get better, it takes time. It takes practice.”

Mega Sports Camp is a mega-marvelous place to practice, as she sees it. Lohmeyer also views it as a fun, Christian outlet for children without a church home or those without a regular foundation of Christian teaching.

“The culture in general has become so different these days,” Lohmeyer said, adding that her three years as a public school teacher elsewhere showed her that many youngsters have no firm, moral grounding. “That used to be kind of automatically built into the culture.”

Organizers figure to have 200 or more participants at the gathering. About 65 percent of last year’s Mega Sports Camp attendees were those other than First Christian members. That makes some sense, considering that the church regularly has been involved in outreaches in recent years at places such as Columbus’ Ninth Street Park and Pence Place Apartments, where some residents have acknowledged that they have no home church.

“We want to really be building ongoing relationships with kids and families,” Lohmeyer said.

They’re doing that partly as previous camp participants — such as Bumbalough’s three children — invite other kids to the activities. Last year, for example, one of the Bumbaloughs invited four people who participated.

And dad knows that the camp is about more than faith.

“Some of these kids,” Bumbalough said, “don’t always readily have someone else to play with and just let loose.”

You can be a sport

What: First Christian Church’s Mega Sports Camp for youngsters in kindergarten through Grade 6. The event will include basketball, baseball, cheerleading, running, soccer and flag football.

When: During spring break from 8:30 a.m. to noon March 16 to 19

Where: First Christian Church, 531 Fifth St., Columbus

Cost: $10

Information: 812-379-4491 or visit fccoc.org

Sports in Scripture

“An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”

–2 Timothy 2:5

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.