Ohio church revitalizes community baseball diamond

Ohio church revitalizes community baseball diamond

by
Daniel Sperry for Nazarene News
| 03 Jul 2024
Image
Lamb Park

An Ohio Church of the Nazarene revitalized a local baseball diamond as an act of love toward its community. The revitalization of this community landmark has made an impact on the city of Mount Vernon.

The Lamb Park baseball diamond was home to local youth baseball leagues dating back to the 1950s. The last time a team played at Lamb Park was in the mid-2000s.

“Baseball is something that is really near and dear to people’s hearts,” said New Life Church of the Nazarene sports director Ryan Farr. “Lamb Park being in disarray — to a lot of people — was the sign of the golden days being gone.”

Lamb Park is located in a neighborhood known as “South Vernon,” also home to New Life Church of the Nazarene.

“We saw this really cool opportunity to step into a need in our neighborhood at this historic baseball park that people have great memories at,” Farr said.

The dream to renovate the baseball diamond began a few years ago and came to fruition after the facility changed ownership. Farr and the team at New Life stepped into the opportunities that presented themselves, eventually negotiating a lease with the property owners to revitalize Lamb Park.

“I don’t think that we would put all the recourses that we’re putting into it now if this had happened three or four years ago,” Farr said. “We had to wait for a time, but the time was ripe when we were able to get in there.”

A team of volunteers from both the church and the community cleaned up the overgrown grass in the infield and brought in new clay dirt. They painted dugouts and fences while updating and renovating the concession stands, among other facilities.

The project was made possible through donations received from both church and community members, with one of the largest donations to date coming from outside the church.

All Out Sports is New Life’s sports ministry, which offers youth soccer, basketball, volleyball, baseball, and other after-school programs with over 1,000 participating athletes. The All Out Angels, All Out Sports’ baseball team, is based out of Lamb Park and compete locally in the city youth baseball league.

The ministry seeks to be “an intentional bridge to connect participants into the New Life Church body.” All sessions include a group devotional led by a discipleship coordinator prior to practice or games.
New Life Lead Pastor Troy McNichols likened sports ministry to the popularities of bus ministries and VBS, recognizing that organized youth sports are at the forefront of American culture today.

“Good, bad, or indifferent, our culture and society worship sports,” McNichols said. “We’re simply using sports as a vehicle to make that connection, to build that bridge to a community of folks who don’t know Jesus… It’s basically redeeming something that the culture [glorifies] for the cause of Christ.”

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