Wornall Road reaches out to high school football team

KANSAS CITY – Wornall Road Baptist Church is ready for some football.

The Kansas City church began praying for Southwest High School, “one of the most troubled schools in our metro,” last fall, said pastor John Mark Clifton.

“It’s been the scene of more than 50 fights, dozens of fires and four principals in 12 months,” he said.

But God is using Wornall Road to minister to the school, specifically through its football team.
Before each Friday night home game, the football team, coaches and cheerleaders gather in the fellowship hall for a pre-game meal.

“We are now feeding more than 90 kids each Friday evening,” Clifton said. “That’s nearly 10 percent of the student body. And we feed them like the champs, with china and silverware.”

The team also gathers at Wornall Road on Saturday to watch game film and have an in-depth strategy session. The church also provides transportation for those young men who need a ride to Saturday practice and lunch for the team. Each day we provide after-school snacks for the football team to eat before daily practice. The coach has even invited Clifton to attend each practice, to be in on the sidelines at each game. They are also planning a tutoring program after practice to help increase students’ reading skills.

“We are now working toward adopting individual players,” he said. “This involves a promise to send a note to your player each week before the game, to attend as many of the games as you can, and wear your player’s Photo Button.

Clifton said the church is not ministering to the team to “grow” the church.

“We are doing it because we understand the nature of the Gospel and its impact on our lives that causes us to love our world and desire to bless our world. We do it to make much of God. We do it for God’s glory and our joy. The world is bigger than our church. We pray that God will use our service to be a living expression of the Gospel in the lives of these young men and the coaches. We are doing it because we have a core belief that one of the reasons the church exists is to bless the world.”