We are pleased to bring you the next response to the question “What is the future of Christian Martial Arts?” that we posed to many instructors. The responses are published in the order of when we received them.
[Podcast version available at the end of this post.]
Pastor of The Church of Ekklesia
President of Wansai International Ministries
The Future of Christian Martial Arts
What comes to mind when we say the future of Christian martial arts? Is it the Christian part or is it the martial arts part? It does not seem like those two things go together. It isn’t any different than Upward Basketball or Soccer for Jesus. There are many different programs and organizations which use various activities to lift up the name of Christ. The real question is, what can we do to ensure the future of Christian martial arts?
Everyone knows that the Church is not a building, is not an organization, and is not a denomination. It is the people. It is a beautiful blend of older Christians and younger Christians working together to build the Kingdom of God. So the future of Christian Martial Arts is people. People have many needs. Some of those needs are love, guidance, and support. Most Christian martial arts places do their best to meet those needs; however, sometimes things in life distract us from what is ultimately important. As the great Zig Ziglar once said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
If there is going to be a future in Christian martial arts, Christ must be the “main thing.” If Christ is removed as the central focus of Christian martial arts, then the Christian martial arts has lost its purpose and its foundations. The principles and teachings of CMA become blurred with the world’s principles and teachings. The organizations and programs lose their direction and drift aimlessly. It is of utmost importance to keep Christ in the center. How do we do that?
First, as instructors and leaders, the zeal, charisma, and the passion for Christ must be alive and evident in us. We are the examples to the next generation. The next generation will not develop that zeal, charisma, and passion if we don’t pass it on. You cannot ignite another person’s torch if yours has gone out. We must purposely put Christ in our programs. It may come in many forms like prayer, bible verses, and activities. No matter the form, the zeal for Christ and the gratitude for all He has done must be evident. Matthew 5:16 “In the same way let your light shine so all many see your good works and give glory to the Father in Heaven.” In doing so, we will inspire the next generation to follow after us.
Second, as instructors and leaders, we must love our students and their families. God is love. Acts of love are acts of God. There is no better way of showing God is real than showing the love that He put into us. 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 7 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” The world’s version of love is conditional. When Christ’s agape (unconditional love) is demonstrated in our martial arts schools then Christ will be evident to all.
Third, as instructors and leaders, we must guide and mentor our students. It goes beyond just the character-building lessons. We must provide opportunities for the students to grow more Christlike. Opportunities in the form of mission trips, witnessing opportunities, and acts of service to our communities. Like parents who do too much for their children, which causes the children to become apathetic and lazy, leaders rob their students the opportunity to grow, learn, and discover their importance in His work. I have watched leaders insist on doing ministry themselves only because they did not have faith in their students. Will the students make mistakes? Yes! But we all make mistakes. That is how we grow and learn.
Last, as instructors and leaders, we must be united with other martial arts schools that are similarly minded. The world is divided enough as it is, we should not be divided as well. One of the marks of Christ’s disciples is their love for one another. Jesus had 12 disciples. He did not need them, but they needed each other after He left. We need each other too! If we become exclusive, then we leave a lot of people out. People who could have edified us and we could edify them in return. People that are the body of Christ.
In conclusion, we are one generation away from having no future at all. All of our hopes and dreams rest in the hands of the next generation. How are we preparing them to replace us? I tell every student I have, “I am training you to be my replacement.” I try to instill in them passion, conviction, love, leadership, and unity. I am trusting God to raise up the future. But while I am still here in leadership, I will continue to reach for the prize which God has called me heavenward. That is my challenge to you: train your replacements. Offer ministry and growth opportunities with the understanding they won’t always be perfect, but God will use them to His will and His way.
One day, I hope to get to work with all of you personally. Until that time, it is an honor and privilege building the Kingdom of God with you. Until we are better paid in heaven.
If you would like to share your thoughts with our readers, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can write a few sentences or several paragraphs .. however God leads you. We also invite you to include one or two photos of yourself and your students (or teachers if you are a student) with your email.
Thank you for your interest in Christian Martial Arts!
Sensei Mark McGee
Grace Martial Arts Fellowship Newsletters 2003-3 – Grace Martial Arts
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