St. Stephen UMC Celebrates “Small Beginnings” with Saturday Morning B-Ball & Bible

June 05, 2019

by *Rev. Kyland Dobbins / photos courtesy of St. Stephen UMC
A mustard tree. Shaquille O’Neal. The iPhone. What do they all have in common? They each started small and grew into something significant, impactful and beautiful. A mustard tree has its roots as the smallest of seeds. Shaquille O’Neal was born a 10-pound infant who could be held in one arm. The iPhone was an accident that happened when Apple was working on the idea of the iPad. These are all things/people with small beginnings. 
The messenger of the Lord said to the prophet in Zechariah 4:10, “Don’t hate the day of small beginnings because the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” NLT (New Living Translation). That’s what is happening with our Basketball and Bible Study small group at St. Stephen UMC in Arlington.
What began as just two guys getting together to shoot hoops and do a Bible Study has quickly grown to 12 strong for the St. Stephen B-Ball and Bible Study group - only three of which were members of the church before joining the group. The group has St. Stephen's senior pastor excited about what this group will do for the church and its local community, "I've read it somewhere that 12 people changed the world once before."
The B-ball and Bible Study was the idea of one of our newer members, brother Larry Auanger, who’s now our director of sports ministry. His partner-in-Christ, brother Dean Pitts, is just as faithful in organizing, leading and participating in this ministry. So far, the small group has had some exciting times together both on the court and in the word of God. What started as a “small group” of two has grown to 12 in just six weeks. The group of 12 men includes only three who were members of St. Stephen when the group was established. 
Somebody ought to shout, “Hallelujah,” for God is at work! I’ve read it somewhere that 12 people changed the world once before: 

“They [the Twelve] joined with the other believers in regular attendance at the apostles’ teaching sessions and at the Communion services and prayer meetings. A deep sense of awe was on them all, and the apostles did many miracles. And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything with each other, selling their possessions and dividing with those in need. They worshipped together regularly at the Temple each day, met in small groups in homes for Communion, and shared their meals with great joy and thankfulness, praising God. The whole city was favorable to them, and each day God added [new people] to them all who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47, TLB (The Living Bible.)

We may be on to something special, church family! Keep praying for the good Lord to work through this small group and our other small groups at St. Stephen UMC so Christ is made known in our community.  
For more about the B-ball and Bible Study, click on St. Stephen's Facebook page. For more WIG success stories, access

*Rev. Kyland Dobbins is the senior pastor at St. Stephen UMC, located in Arlington, Texas