The Gospel and Sports
by Ed Arcton
Taking the Gospel to the young generation and lost world has never been the same since the birth of Ghana Sports Coalition, now Ghana Sports Movement. Thanks to God for the able leadership of the Sports movement we have today; they have trained more coaches, leaders, discipleship makers across West Africa, particularly in Ghana. Sport is hugely popular amongst young people across the global today, more so than any other voluntary activity. Sport is therefore credible and attractive way of engaging the attention of young people and providing a platform to both share the Gospel with them and also through which to promote and eliminate anti-social devices, de-stigmatization and to encourage the development of important life skills profitable for the advancement of the Christian faith and development of the communities we live and work.
Sports and People
Sports Ministry revolves around people and there can be no gospel ministry if there are no people. The call to make Disciples of Christ is ever great and must. Evangelism and Discipleship is done among where people are. What then is Evangelism? Evangelism in my view is spreading of the Christian gospel or the Christian faith by public preaching outside, pulpit preaching inside and personal witness anywhere everywhere. This is true advocacy of the gospel of Christ either to a group or to a one to one approach setup. Many people have undertaken different approaches to do evangelism with an aim of attracting people to hear the good news and disciple them. I’m convinced that one of the effective ways is the use of Sports and Play approach among people’s group anytime everywhere.
Today we live in a society where Sports and Play are highly attractive and appreciated by all peoples. Every weekend, there are sporting activities coming to the community we live and work. Taking advantage of this passionate love for sports and coupling it with sharing the gospel can be quite a huge catch up. People get to do what they love do most and they also get an opportunity to hear the gospel preach which they often think they don’t need. Let me say that like any other venture, Sports evangelism brings together all class of people both old and young, this includes all disability people’s group to rally around one passionate game they all like to enjoy for fun in the community.
However in our effort to reach out there is a temptation of either overlooking the evangelism aspect which then makes it become not different from any secular games in the community or overlooking the sports aspect which may turns the group into another church meeting. Many have taken to doing sports evangelism which either has turned into something greater than imagine or something that needs reworking but either way I hope my thoughts in sports evangelism will be beneficial to help you initiate a move that will keep you going forth from here. Now let us focus on things to consider when thinking of sports evangelism and some challenges.
Sports Outreach and engagement of preaching the gospel has two major aspects to be considered. These are the Evangelism aspect and the Sports aspect. But the most important element is whoever want to engage in sports ministry must first have met Christ as personal Lord and savior before considering sharing this same faith in Christ to others. You cannot preach or talk about the Lord Jesus Christ you know nothing about and who knows nothing of you. This is the first principle you need to have in starting sports evangelism in from your local church and in your community or anywhere.
How To Start Sport Evangelism?
Some few thought for consideration.
- Ask yourself which sports discipline are you good in or interested in. You do not need to be a sport giant of any kind, to initiate one, all you need is to be interest and know the right people for the right work.
- You may be an initiator, whose job is to match someone good in that sport with the group of people you have gathered. You can be the mobilizer and the one who share the gospel or lead in the Bible study after the group or team have their sporting activity.
- Know the Target group; this is very important as different age group will have different energy level and different commitment and this might hinder ownership or even discourage many from joining in.
- Let your intentions be clear from the very start. Discuss from the very beginning the objectives set to guide the team or group. The objective is to have sports and hear the gospel being proclaimed. These two are important and either of them can’t be neglected.
- Consider the Sports equipment and requirements beforehand. Time factor is important as you want to play and still share the gospel and therefore plan and agree with the team how much time to spend on each of the activities. Additionally, know what type of sports tools is available now to begin with.
- Be creative, involving and dynamic. Come up with different way to do the same thing. Remember that this people you have gathered need to be a team and should have a leader to follow. One important thing is discover and develop their leadership skill hidden within.
- Learn to plan team building session because at the end of the day you want to create an environment where your team can enjoy sports and at the same time learn God’s Word together to grow in grace and in their new find faith. When this is successful, your team members will start inviting others for the warmth and the experience they are having.
- Don’t ignore of Administration. Most often sports evangelism fails because of poor management and direction. The vision and mission should be made clear and explain well to the understanding of everyone from the beginning. Always decide what the responsibility of each member is, more so frequency of meeting should also be agreed base on what is manageable and comfortable for the majority of them. Remember to give no room for compromise but be gentle and considerate with the team as they are all learners or beginners.
- Make Disciples that Disciple. Preach and teach the Gospel. Make discipleship a priority and train everyone in the team with this in mind. In your training have the bigger picture in mind so that these very people you’re disciplining today can do far greater than you have done in the future. Delegate some responsibilities, let them make mistakes and help correct them with Love. Remember people can learn through observation, Involvement and instruction.
- Finally intentionally teach then to Pray and study the Bible Regularly. Help them build healthy relationship with Christ and with each other. Let them understand that without Christ they can do nothing of themselves. Teach them to learn the habit of personal devotion with God on daily basis. Encourage them to study the Bible as primary need in the personal life and daily walk.
Now that you have established a small group Bible study and prayer time with the team. Follow up by maybe topical sermons, and exposition. Encourage an environment where people can have gospel talks and challenge each other. This is done base on the type of audience you have presently, because at all course the Word of God, the Gospel must be preached to all and preached faithfully.
Having put in place all this things, you will then need more faithful hands to assist in running the team your have built or pull together. You cannot do it all yourself. Accept the fact that you alone can’t do everything you have plan for. Prayerfully choose to look out for or invite faithful and committed Christians to give a helping hand. Look out for coaches, bible teaches and preachers and other good sports administrator to come on board. They may bring more insight and encouragement to the team you have built up. Sports evangelism is better than successful when done well base on biblical principle and for a longer period. Let’s go out there and start now and let’s take that opportunity to proclaim Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior to the sports world.
God is with us all, Immanuel
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