With some notable sporting events happening this summer along with the gradual lifting of covid restrictions, our Good Sport project has been making quite the comeback!
We were able to start ‘Sweaty Church’ back up with two primary school year groups at a time. This has long been one of our most successful projects, running in a similar way to an after school sports club, but encompassing different elements of a worshipping community. It was so great to be back with the kids, playing sport and having fun, whilst praying together and learning more about Jesus through The Bible. One child initiated a conversation about The Holy Spirit whilst playing outside, which was really beautiful and natural. We are hopeful that we will be able to open this up to more schools and more year groups this coming academic year.
We started ‘Impact Youth’ back up in person with the Churches Together in Ainsdale. This is a youth community local to Ainsdale, which follows a similar ethos to our Safe Spaces, exploring the big issues of life and faith with young people. Each week in these summer months, we have used the inflatable football pitch to create a space for sports and fun, whilst also having the Safe Space gazebo available for general conversation, food and drinks. The young people loved being back together, catching up with us and having some quality conversations. We are committed to seeing this grow in partnership with many wonderful volunteers from the local churches alongside some very encouraging detached youth ministry that is beginning to grow in the area.
‘Back of the net’:
I (Hettie) shared some of my personal testimony as Tabz interviewed me for a video produced for Scripture Union’s ‘Back of the net’ resource. This resource was created to equip churches to use the Euro’s and Olympics season to run football sessions with children and young people, in order to make connections and share faith. I helped to run training on zoom for around 150 churches to teach them how to use the resource. It was a lot of fun to be part of and we hope that many children and young people have been positively impacted by this work. I also recorded a video for Scripture Union to share with their faith guides that explains the sports mission resources and how that fits in with the new ‘Revealing Jesus’ mission framework (https://content.scriptureunion.org.uk/revealingjesus). This was partly due to me having written one of the resources, helping others to run ‘Sweaty Church’ for themselves.
The most recent sports activity we have run was the ‘Summer Fest’ Holiday Clubs in partnership with Compassion Acts. The holiday clubs were run in 4 church buildings over 2 weeks, predominantly for children who receive free school meals in term time, to ensure that they have eaten a good meal and have had some quality summer activities. We were part of the content planning, created a video for each day and delivered sports workshops for the children, which was so much fun. It was great to use the videos to share something positive each day around topics including: love, joy, peace, respect and thankfulness. Many of the children knew us from school and were so happy to see us again after, in one child’s words, ‘watching Tabz and Hettie on a screen every single week since last March… at school and at home!’.
There are loads of other great sporty things that we have been involved in recently and we are so blessed to have been so busy! Please pray that these opportunities will continue and that we will be able to manage all this beneficial work.