Since 1952, One Challenge has used sports as a tool to share the gospel and stimulate church planting and growth. Sports Ambassadors, OC’s sports-based ministry, wants to see healthy churches employing sports and recreation as a tool for evangelism to reach the community and discipling believers in the church. “Our mission is to train and mobilize pastors, church leaders, sports-minded believers in churches to employee sports and recreation as that powerful tool,” says Dave Erickson, assistant director of Sports Ambassadors.
In this video Robin Cook (Director of Sports Ambassadors) and Dave discuss some of the history and vision of Sports Ambassadors. They lead the department with hearts pointed toward discipling nations for Christ. Sports are universal, making them a natural way to connect with people of any background.
“It breaks down religious barriers, it breaks down racial barriers, and it breaks down language barriers,” Dave says. “It is the one of the few things God has given us that we can, in a very natural way, come in contact with people. There are huge opportunities overseas for men and women to take that tool and share the Gospel.”
Robin and Dave want to expand sports ministry in OC to really be a targeted approach to discipleship. They want to continue to send short-term, evangelist teams, yet also equip local church leaders to use sports in a positive and Christ-minded way.
“I look at what sports ministry has done in the past and I’m excited about what Sports Ambassadors and the hundreds of churches and colleges, and individuals involved in sending, training, equipping men and women will do in the future of sports ministry,” Robin says.
Opportunity in Cambodia
Although basketball has been the primary sport used by Sports Ambassadors it hopes to expand its perimeters to soccer, the world’s No.1 sport. Currently, there is an opportunity to bring a soccer team to Cambodia in the winter. “We just got a request from Cambodia to help with some key strategic church planning efforts there using soccer,” Dave says. “It is a tremendous opportunity but we need prayer that God will just raise up six to 10 people who really like to play the game of soccer, but more importantly love Christ and want to see what they love being used for Kingdom advancement. That is a big need for a strategic need for the Kingdom.”
Wisdom is the Lord’s leading is essential to both men. “We don’t want to just push forward with something but we want to go where God is moving,” Dave says.
Sports Ambassadors wants to partner with churches both in the United States and abroad to equip leaders to use sports in a structured and targeted manner for evangelism and discipleship. This needs people who are willing to spearhead this movement.
Another prayer need is men and women who love Christ, love people, and love sports and what to use it as a tool to share the gospel. There are long-term, mid-term an short-term needs.
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