I’ve got a crazy idea for you. Bring your family to the National Invitational Tournament of Champions June 4-9! Allow me to explain why you should come.
This article is a transcription of a speech given at the Concordia Challenge, the largest homeschool competition in the country. Listen to it here.
About a year ago, I had been serving on the Board of Directors for Stoa, a speech and debate organization for homeschool families. My task was to search out typical facilities in Colorado for the National Invitational Tournament of Champions (universities, mega churches, and the like). We had a tournament in a non-typical atmosphere: Focus on the Family.
This ministry has been blessed far beyond what most ministries can dream! Beautiful buildings, a huge chapel area, plush lawns and parking spaces, a welcome center for visiting families to enjoy. But like any ministry today, Focus on the Family has had to deal with a crippling economy, outsourcing much of their operations and consolidating their staff. Our little tournament enjoyed the Christian hospitality of Focus on the Family, and those empty office spaces got our creative juices flowing…”Not a bad place for nationals!”
Like many homeschool families, we grew up with Focus on the Family’s ministries. In fact, it is the 2nd largest tourist attraction in Colorado Springs. The Welcome Center has reenactments of the ministry’s bestselling books, movies and radio programs. Focus on the Family is perfect for conferences and large gatherings like our national tournament. Its conference areas will be perfect for competition, and a plush lawn our the back – several acres square – is where families will have plenty of space for canopies.
I could go on and on, but I have one significant thought that I want to impress on you. In June, there will not only be 500 homeschool families from all over the country assembling in beautiful Colorado Springs for a week of the most excellent competition, there will be approximately 500 employees working in their administrative areas, counseling families worldwide to build homes filled with the love of Christ. Do you see the connection? It’s magic!
My ministry‘s motto verse is 1 Peter 1:13, “train the mind for action,” a mandate for a serious walk with Christ. We’re not doing this speech and debate stuff just for the awards; we’re doing it for the greater calling we have with heaven. If there is not action beyond competition, then this is just a game. I cannot wait till you feel the magical draw, the joy from the fine people at Focus on the Family, as they work in their cubicles, on the other side of the conference room walls where you’ll be competing in, working their way through the daily grind of ministry.
And you know what? They will be feeling the magic that is in this room tonight. They will be blessed by the energy of youth in their buildings.
NITOC 2012, just three competitive months away, will truly be a magical place. See you there in June!