By Calvin Park

In Matthew 9:36 as Jesus looks out to the crowds of people following Him and sees them as harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He sees their lost spiritual state and is filled with compassion for them. This same compassion has brought us to salvation and brings the responsibility of spreading the good news of the Christian faith. Faced with this task, can we individually say that we have the same compassion for the people in our own context, that we would be bold and proclaim the gospel? As I look at the current spiritual state of England and particularly of Suffolk where I am based, it’s more than right to say, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few’ (Matthew 9:37).

The question is, how can we share the good news of the gospel in the contexts we are placed in? Prior to joining The Faith Mission, I had to ask myself that exact question? I have always loved playing football and felt most comfortable building up relationships with people in the sporting realm. Football is a universal language, wherever you go in the world, even if you don’t speak the same language, football seems to unite people and can be used as a tool to build relationships. The vision that we have as a team in Suffolk is to use sport as a tool to reach children and adults with the good news of Jesus.

The Faith Mission in Suffolk have connections with a strong group of young people who help at camps and different other activities. We hope to encourage them and create opportunities for them to get involved in our plans.

Praying and chatting through ideas as a team, we feel God has brought us together with very similar plans and potential goals for the future. One of these plans is to start something called FM Sport, after-school clubs to coach children in different sports and alongside this share the good news of Jesus.  Through this our aim would be to invite children along to a more regular soccer school and summer camps held at our Camp Centre. Jesus said in John 10:10: ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’. This is the message we want to share with the children and young people of Suffolk.

Having been influenced by Tim Slater’s work for SportsReach, we also plan to start an outreach called FM Football. This would involve setting up a place for adults to play football in and around Stowmarket and the Gainsborough Estate in Ipswich, with the aim of sharing the Christian faith before each game. We feel this would be a great tool for personal evangelism, both for us and for other Christians to bring their non-Christian friends along to.

We really value your prayers for this new venture –

  • That the Lord will cause our plans to come to fruition and grow beyond Suffolk, to the rest of England, Scotland and Ireland
  • That local schools will be open to work with us and in return build good relationships with them
  • That adults and teenagers will be attracted to it
  • That churches will also catch the vison