The department understands that there is a difference between recreation and amusement. Recreation, as spelled out within itself, means re-creation, it has a tendency of strengthening and repairing. Sport evangelism as proposed by the department will give an opportunity to each youth to socialize, enjoy themselves, and provides an avenue for them to utilize their youthful zeal in a Christ-like manner.
“Recreation is needful to those who are engaged in physical labor, and is still more essential for those whose labor is principally mental. It is not essential to our salvation, nor to the glory of God, to keep the mind laboring constantly and excessively, even upon religious themes.” (Messages to Young People, p. 392)
We should provide innocent pleasures: “Youth cannot be made as sedate and grave as old age, the child as sober as the sire. While sinful amusements are condemned, as they should be, let parents, teachers, and guardians for youth provide in their stead innocent pleasures, which will not taint or corrupt the morals. Do not bind down the young to rigid rules and restraints that will lead them to feel themselves oppressed, and to break over and rush into paths of folly and destruction.” (Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 335)
Social desires are woven into every fabric of human life. The desire to be together on a social basis is natural and should not be neglected. We should recognize this need and learn how to use it effectively. When this need is neglected, the young people are left to themselves and may find entertainment in dangerous or questionable areas. A strong social program conducted by the church in the proper way will eliminate many temptations for our young people and will help hold them close to the church.
Young people should feel free to invite non-church member friends to attend their socials. If done in a proper attitude, much good can come from this opportunity to be friendly with non-member neighbors. Remember, it is not a time to preach. Our youth will enjoy these friends, and their presence will make a contribution to the gathering.
The department therefore recommends social activities at local, district and zonal levels to meet this innate need of our young people.