Bicester, UK (ANS) – As the world gets to grips with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, sportspeople all over the world are also seeing their lives change – particularly those in top level sport as their careers are on indefinite hold with serious financial implications. In response the UK-based charity Christians in Sport is calling on Christian sportspeople all over the world to reach out and keep investing in the lives of their sports friends.
The charity’s General Director Graham Daniels explained how they’ve launched a campaign called PraySTAYSay:
“Will the Christian be the coach or player or official at a club who stays in the room, cares for the families of team-mates? Asks how the gran’s getting on, or what it’s like with the kids when you’ve been home for a month. So, we’re saying Pray, Stay. Stay in the lives of your club and you will find yourself saying something of the hope that you have in a time of adversity. So that’s the broad brushstrokes of what we’ve been doing with our competitive elite athletes all around the world.”
Over the past few weeks Christians in Sport has been providing opportunities for new online gatherings and resources to help equip and encourage Christian sportspeople the world over in this key mission, with a series of Webinars every Monday looking at ‘How do I PrayStaySay?’ Event opportunities have also included a live Big Sports Quiz used by hundreds of sports clubs and churches every year, gathering hundreds of teams to digitally hang out and take part in the quiz live on YouTube.
As part of this outreach they are also offering a series of zoom Bible studies to sports people. Daniels says the response has already been phenomenal.
“Whilst recognizing the sadness of this as a Christian knowing that God has got things in hand, it’s been thrilling. Because we have seen a four-fold increase in elite sportspeople wanting to join zoom calls to look at the Bible and apply it to their lives as sportspeople. It’s the greatest growth of people wanting to talk about the things of God in professional sports that I’ve ever seen in 30 years. It’s remarkable.
“The work of Christians in Sport is more essential now than ever. Sportspeople – whether it’s the 10 million amateurs who compete every week or those playing at an elite level – are in limbo, struggling with what’s going on and asking big questions. For 40 years we have existed to reach the world of sport for Christ – equipping Christian sportspeople to live and speak for Jesus – just because sport is off, the mission is not. We sense a real opportunity and a need for people to stick in the lives of their team-mates.
He continues, “There is then also lots of activity going on internally with our support of elite athletes. We support 500 top level sportspeople around the world. In light of the Coronavirus we have more opportunities than ever. Recently we had a Zoom Bible study with 20 top level (Premiership down) soccer managers and coaches and the same is happening in top level athletics, tennis and rugby. We want to encourage as many Christian sportspeople as possible that this is a crucial time to share the hope, joy, meaning and purpose they have found in Christ with their colleagues and friends in sport.”
You can watch the Global News Alliance interview here.