Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord.” That about sums up what you’ll find many men from the religious community here doing every other weekend at Swainsboro-Emanuel County Recreation Department. Several churches in the area have come together to form an unofficial church league, playing tournaments biweekly with a chance to stake claim on a coveted 6’ trophy while, most importantly, raising proceeds for different missions and witnessing for Jesus.
The most recent tournament was held two weekends ago with five teams participating: Jesus Saves Church, Summertown Baptist, New Beginnings Worship Center, Dellwood Baptist, and Hawhammock Baptist. By the end of the night on Friday, April 30, Summertown emerged the victors with a 4-0 record. Team members Roy Beneteau, John Durden, Josh Black, Jon Black, Joey Kirkland, Wes Kirkland, Todd Robinson, Wade Farrow, Wes Wammock, Caleb Smith, and Tad Roberson took the trophy back to Summertown the next morning, where it will remain until it is awarded (or perhaps re-awarded) at the end of this coming weekend’s tournament. The funds raised on April 30 went toward the building fund for Jesus Saves Church’s new location on Highway 56 North.
The league started as leaders of the five churches mentioned above, joined by two others, First Baptist of Swainsboro and Hillcrest Baptist, came together to organize the concept and the logistics. Brad McKenzie, pastor of Jesus Saves, says tournaments are usually played on Friday nights. Additionally, there are rules in place to ensure fairness and to lead people to Christ. For example, while players do not have to be members of the church they’re playing for, they must at least attend there.
“Church tournaments have been played around here for a long time now,” said McKenzie. “A couple years ago, a group of us pastors and church leaders got together to better organize how those tournaments are put on. These tournaments are special because they afford us the opportunity to raise funds while maintaining a family atmosphere and sharing in the love of Christ.”
For that reason, the organizers hope to see the league grow. On that note, if your church is interested in participating, give McKenzie a call at 478-455-4367. (Rosters may include men, women, and teenage participants.) The general public is also invited to come watch; the tournaments, mostly played on Friday nights, make for wholesome family fun and great fellowship.
The league would also like to thank Swainsboro-Emanuel County Recreation Department for allowing the charity tournaments to be played at the facility on McLeod Bridge Road.