This week the tables were turned on Bjorn, as Noah interviewed him for episode 46 of the podcast.
Bjorn Webb, cohost of “The Sweat Room”, is also the Sports & Fitness Ministry director at Watermark Wesleyan Church. The Sports & Fitness Ministry runs programs such as Process Basketball, WNY Christian Basketball League and adult softball. These are just a few of the many programs the Sports & Fitness Ministry has.
Bjorn grew up in Houghton, New York, and graduated in 2018 with a bachelor’s from Houghton College after studying business management, finance and communication. He played soccer and tennis on Houghton’s teams during all four years he spent there.
Bjorn is currently completing his master’s in organizational leadership through Indiana Wesleyan University. In addition to everything else going on in his life, Bjorn recently got engaged and will be marrying Madeline Klosko in June.
How did Watermark Wesleyan’s Sports Ministry Begin?
“I was sitting in my house at the time … and I said [changing sports across the Southtowns] is a God-sized dream”--Bjorn Webb
Bjorn grew up in a Christian household and has had a strong faith his whole life. However, he didn’t always know that he wanted to go into ministry.
In fact, Bjorn says that it wasn’t until his junior and senior years of college that he felt God calling him into that direction.
Watermark Wesleyan has a residency program that allows people interested in ministry to get practical experience at a local church. This opportunity was something that immediately stood out to Bjorn, and he ended up applying and getting accepted. Bjorn says that his original goal for the two-year residency was to figure out what God was calling him to do.
After graduating, Bjorn realized that the upcoming fall was going to be the first fall of his entire life that he wasn’t involved with soccer. He knew he had to change this.
Bjorn called a local high school soccer coach and asked about volunteer opportunities. After talking with the coach, he ended up spending that season as assistant coach.
During his time as assistant coach, Bjorn realized there was a bad culture on the soccer team that could use God, and Bjorn felt he was in a position to bring God into this team.
On the podcast Bjorn talks about how this experience opened his heart to what God could do through sports in Buffalo. One of Bjorn’s dreams became changing the culture of the team into one that honored God.
One morning Bjorn was reading a chapter in Warren Bird’s book “Hero Maker: Five Essential Practices for Leaders to Multiply Leaders”. This chapter talked about our dreams versus God’s dreams. In the chapter, Bird said to take your dream and multiply it by 10. After this, Bird said to multiply your new dream by 10 more once again.
Bird says this new, larger dream that feels impossible to accomplish on your own is a God-sized dream. Following Bird’s advice, Bjorn realized that his dream should not be to change the culture of the soccer team he was assistant coach for - his dream should be the God-sized dream of changing the cultures of sports teams across the whole region.
On the podcast, Bjorn talks about a phone call he received shortly after discovering this newfound dream. Bjorn goes on to describe how this phone call not only started his pursuit of the God-sized dream, but also led to the development of Watermark Wesleyan’s Sports & Fitness Ministry.
What is the Vision for Watermark Wesleyan’s Sports & Fitness Ministry?
“Part of the vision of Watermark Sports is ‘How can we help our community redeem sports back to its original design?’”--Bjorn Webb
Bjorn shares the common belief that sports are a great way to connect with people and get people into the church. Something Bjorn strongly believes in is that by first giving people what they want, in this case sports, you can then give them what they need - God.
However, Watermark’s Sports & Fitness Ministry has a larger goal than just using sports to connect with people.
Bjorn talks about something former podcast guest Bob Schindler (episode 41) talked about: redeeming sports.
In the episode Bjorn talks about how while Satan doesn’t have the power to create, he does have the power to distort. One of the things Bjorn believes Satan has distorted is sports, turning it into something that is evil and idolized. A lot of people care more about winning than they care about what goes along with it.
Watermark’s Sports & Fitness Ministry’s vision is to help the community restore sports back to its original design. Bjorn realizes this is a tall order, but it’s something they’re committed to accomplishing.
On the podcast Bjorn talks more in-depth about what restoring sports means, how the Sports & Fitness ministry is working towards this goal and the steps that are being taken.
What is God Teaching You?
Bjorn’s story is so inspirational and a great example of what following God’s calling for us looks like.
Ministry wasn’t always something that Bjorn thought he would be doing, but when he heard the calling from God, he realized he had to pursue it. Bjorn didn’t know what this meant or what he was pursuing, yet he set out to find the answers to these questions.
This is our responsibility to God.
His calling for us might not fit into the vision we planned out for our life, and the uncertainty can be scary. However, God has a plan for all of us and gave us each unique skills to accomplish this plan.
We don’t need to know the answers to our questions or anxieties immediately. What we do need to do, as Bjorn did, is take the leap of faith God is calling us towards.
Doing so honors God, and while we might not see it immediately, we eventually will see the blessings that come from our faithfulness - blessings to both ourselves and others.
Bjorn wasn’t shy in his faith or the goals he created. He stepped out of his comfort zone and came up with a God-sized plan.
A God-sized plan isn’t a plan that we have the capability to accomplish ourselves. God is bigger than we could ever hope to be and can work in ways unimaginable to us. By being faithful and working with God, we can work towards these God-sized plans.
This isn’t to say having goals that we can work towards ourselves is bad; these smaller goals are still good and important. However, we should use the more easily accomplished goals to work towards the larger, God-sized goal.
By doing this, we can help produce real change in the world.
Changing the culture of the sports team we’re part of or changing the culture of the department we’re involved in at work? Those are good things, but not God-sized goals.
Redeeming sports across our whole region so that they honor God? Changing the cultures of businesses across our entire community? Now those are God-sized goals.
Are you listening for what God is calling you towards? Are you following God’s call?
What are your goals? Are they God-sized?
To hear the conversation that Noah had with Bjorn about how the Sports & Fitness Ministry began, what sports ministry is to Bjorn, how Bjorn has seen God working in his life, what college was like for Bjorn and much more, check out “The Sweat Room: Sports and Faith” episode 46.