children completing obstacle course

Mission through Sport

A word from SU Sports Mission Team Leader, Mark Oliver…

Mark Oliver

From inner city Bradford to the west end of Newcastle, SU Sports Mission Team Leader, Mark has been connecting with children and young people through sports for the past 20 years, in some of the most deprived areas of England.

The driving force behind Mark’s passion is rooted in Isaiah 61, where we’re instructed to “bring good news to the poor” and it’s this statement that inspires him to reach out to children and young people through the medium of sport, bringing to each game and activity a life-changing message of hope.

Mark shares, ‘In many of the low-income communities I’ve worked in, as well as the economic challenges, I’ve witnessed a poverty of hope. Sport is a great tool that can not only bring a community together but can increase confidence and develop skills that are useful both on and off the pitch. We also get the immense privilege of being able to use sport to share the ultimate hope, which comes to us in Jesus, who can truly transform lives.’ 

Prior to leading the SU Sports Team, Mark spent several years working with StreetGames in the North East. He brings with him a wealth of experience and passion as the SU Sports Team use sports, games, and fitness activities to share the good news of Jesus with children and young people across England and Wales. 

So, why sport?

‘Sport is such a universal language, and when we talk about sport, we aim to make it as accessible as possible – we’re not limiting ourselves to conventional, competitive, or even organised sports!

Even the least-sporty person can, with the help of our dedicated SU Sports Team, develop simple, fun games and physical activities through which they can engage the 95, all whilst creating an opportunity to share the good news of Jesus.’ 

One of the greatest passions of Mark and his team is to go where the need is greatest and reach those who have little or no chance of hearing the gospel, that is, the 95.

'A much higher proportion of churches in low-income communities have closed than those in more affluent areas. And studies show that the gap in activity levels between those going to school in the least and most deprived places in England and Wales are widening. We see this as such an opportunity to equip the local church to be part of the solution – and we’re absolutely ready to get stuck in and support them to do that.’

"How can they hear if no one tells them?"
Romans 10:14

SU Sports Team - Group Shot

Speak the language of sport

Discover more about Mark and his team, as well as the support they can offer you and your church today. 

Will you be a part of enabling the team to bring that life-changing message of hope through sports and games?


The 95 block

Together, we can reach the 95% of children and young people not in church

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