Churches rally together to host a month of sports events
When I first looked to running an event in Portsmouth, I thought some kind of big family fun day would be the way to go. After looking into costs of hiring some of the land by the beach, even as a charity, I soon decided that this wasn’t the way forward. So I wondered what else could be done to help churches to reach out to their local communities.
This summer there is a lot of sport happening! Most days there is some kind of sport on TV - football, tennis, cycling, rugby, cricket… I love sport and think it is a great way to connect people by bringing new people together and creating opportunities to build community. I thought about how I could encourage churches to use sport to engage with their local communities. I’ve done a lot of different sports mission before, so I put together a document with the idea and sent it out to local churches. My husband came up with the ‘Sportsmouth’ name – it’s definitely unique for Portsmouth!
A plan was established to take the month of June and run different sports sessions and events for children and young people. We split up the ages and did varying sports activities across the month for different ages, including a 5-a-side tournament, Zorb football, parachute games and more.
We had over 100 children and young people come and join in with the Sportsmouth events
And if that was not enough good news, one church is hoping to do regular sports events. Another church hopes to run sports outreach in the summer. Two families visited their first 'Messy Church' off the back of our efforts and five more families attended church.
Recently I have been thinking about the effectiveness of these smaller, local events. I think there is power in local churches reaching out to their communities rather than big events trying to attract big crowds with little follow up. The ongoing and meaningful connections in a community gives space for sharing faith in a personal way that no large event could do. Moving forwards I would encourage churches to focus on their local community and use events to create opportunities to share the good news of Jesus.
My heart and passion is to see children and young people come to know Jesus from a young age, that they might become radical disciples of him and seek to serve him in their day-to-day lives. That a generation might be changed by the love of God and go on to change their towns, countries and world with the gospel that changes, frees and restores people to become all that they were created to be.