Yes, you might have heard of it. Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America! What I love about pickleball is that it is for EVERY AGE. It is also very easy to make friends and build relationships.
Two years ago I became hooked on playing it and saw how much fun this sport really is. I found myself experiencing a warm community at our local gym which offers daily open pickleball play. The game of pickleball and my new community of friends have combined two of my passions: being active and loving others! It’s a win-win! Even if I lose my match. 🙂
Over the past year, God has stirred a desire in my heart to be more intentional when I play pickleball. I noticed that every time I was playing, I had this unique opportunity to get to know others in a fun way. Plus, while waiting between matches I found myself getting into real authentic conversations with others. Now, as I park at the gym and before I walk in, I ask God to make others open to having meaningful conversations and for God to awaken their hearts for Him. As I walk inside, I pray for those I know by name and ask God to give me an encouraging word to say, or that I might be a vessel and a light for Him as I engage with others. It’s amazing how a simple prayer can open doors.
My heart has grown for my pickleball community over the past year. This past February I decided to bless my new friends with a Valentine’s Day gift: some candy and a nice new pickleball. It might not sound like much, but everyone there wanted one even though I had never even met them! I also took a step of faith and mentioned to some of my new friends that I was going to host a 7-week NBS2GO Bible study starting in March. To my surprise, one friend immediately said, “You know, I think I would like that. Make sure to text me more details!” That friend did indeed come, and she said it was her “first ever official Bible Study in her life” and she enjoyed reading and studying God’s word. Another friend of ours from pickleball joined our study from time to time, and our group grew closer. (Many Bible studies like these can be found online for anyone to use. www.nbs2go.com)
I feel giddy that God is daily providing ministry opportunities right around me! Even in our own driveway at home, we have occasionally set up a pickleball net and find that some neighborhood kids are interested in playing with us. Man, I have even heard of some cul de sacs painting pickleball court lines on the street and others gathering to play on the weekends.
As summer is fast approaching, I encourage you to give pickleball a shot. It’s family friendly and quite affordable to start as a hobby. “YouTube” has plenty of instructional videos to help you learn quickly. Regardless, it is a blast even if goofing around and making up your own rules! It is an amazing way to get to know people in your community. Ask the Lord if he would provide opportunities to connect and love the people you are meeting. If this idea sparks your interest, we would love to hear from you!