How to use sports competitions to proclaim the gospel?


Today I received a message from a well-known Christian athlete in the country who is now organizing a competition, and he asked me for advice on how to use this opportunity as effectively as possible and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. At first I thought I would respond in a private message, but then I realized that if I put this advice in an article, other Christian athletes who want to make an impact for eternity will be able to benefit. Here are some tips that will help every athlete and organizer of a competition use this opportunity to proclaim the message of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Always maintain a proper attitude toward the preaching of the gospel

Prior to his execution, the Apostle Paul wrote to his beloved disciple Timothy:

I solemnly exhort you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season. (2 Timothy 4: 1-2 NASB)

The truth of this verse is often found in the pages of the Bible, and it teaches us every Christian to use every opportunity to proclaim the forgiveness of the Lord Jesus Christ by faith and the gift of everlasting life. An athletic competition is a special occasion because it gathers many spectators and offers many illustrations to explain the truth of the gospel.

Have a meeting with all the Christian leaders and coaches involved in organizing the competition

Make a specific plan for how you will use this special occasion to proclaim God’s Word. Give each participant in this meeting the opportunity to share all the ideas and advice they have in order to be as effective as possible in the gospel competition. By no means be a negativist counselor who puts out the spirit of others, of the kind of those who say “it can’t be”, “it’s not the time”, “let’s not have problems”, etc. If you think that some people may come to the meeting with such attitudes, it may be better to talk to them in private so that this attitude is not transferred to other leaders. Remember how such a case happened in God’s people when the 12 spies returned from the search of Canaan. They managed to soften the hearts of the people. God says in the Bible:

Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed. A person has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word! (Proverbs 15:22-23 NASB)

So, call only people who will contribute ideas for how to have success, not those who say it’s impossible. Call on people who know how to say a good word at the right time. Also at that meeting, divide the responsibilities of organizing the competition and set deadlines for each step to be taken.

Invite a named Christian athlete to preach the gospel to the competition

All the spectators who will come to the competition are people more or less interested in sports. For them, athletes have authority and will more easily receive the gospel message proclaimed by a named athlete. The same principle applies to athletes, for them an athlete with results and a name has even greater authority. Arrange early and invite such an athlete, and the preacher will need to prepare a message that is as relevant as possible to the competition. The message should be simple, clear, and appealing to all, and experienced preachers usually know how to preach on such occasions.

Introduce the gospel by presenting the teams

As the founder and president of the “Stolas Leukas” Taekwon-Do Club, several years ago, I created a booklet called “Why Are We Called Stolas Leukas?” where I present the Gospel as I explain the name of the club. It is very important for every Christian sports club to have such a booklet and at the foundation to choose a name that will help them the most to proclaim the message of the Gospel. Thus, the Football Club “Ţintaşii” has as motto the verse from the Scriptures which says:

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14 NASB)

If you do not yet have such a booklet, it is very important to make one as soon as possible and print it for all the spectators who you expect to come to the competition. They will take this message home with them. Then, if you have a site on the Internet, it is good to place the message of this booklet there so that it will be available to anyone who will visit the site and have another chance to hear the message of the gospel.

Invite the people from the church to serve the participants at the competition

There will be many things to do, and people will appreciate the love of Christians they see in action. Thus, Christians in the church can help people with directions, clean up where they need to go, and follow other things that are needed. If they prepare a meal for athletes, it will have a great impact on the participants and this beautiful and friendly attitude will make them remember Christians with pleasure and think about the gospel message they heard on the day of the competition.

Instruct all Christian athletes who will participate in the competition to preach the gospel on a personal level. 

They can have the greatest impact and these personal discussions have always moved hearts and built lasting relationships. More important than the competition trophy and the leading place in competitions, for athletes, is to show the Lord Jesus to people through everything they do and talk about. We are called to help people see the face of Jesus on our faces.

Prepare gifts with the gospel message

At any competition the winners receive medals and gifts. A verse for the victors can be written on the medal. I have a trophy at home, obtained at the US Championship, on which is written a verse from the book of the prophet Isaiah. This is still a beautiful way to convey God’s message. But they can also be offered Bible gifts, inductive study textbooks, Christian books, T-shirts, and other things with a biblical message on them.

Put a table in the hall where Christian literature can be sold

This will attract everyone to buy books, because there are very few places where you can buy such literature. Make sure there are enough copies of the Bible, the New Testament, inductive Bible study textbooks, and other Christian literature. It is also important to have literature in the languages ​​of all participants in the competition. It is important to have more people at the table with books that can answer all those interested and present the books.

Put placards with Bible verses in the room

Look for Bible verses that are appropriate for the competition, and after they are written on large panels, place them on the walls of the room where the competition will take place. The message of these verses will remain in people’s minds, will often make them think about it and want to read more of the Bible.

Give people all the possibilities for the future to know God. 

Prepare announcements in advance for all the programs or meetings that follow. Thus, invite people to sports groups where the Bible is studied, to the church, to camps, to Bible study groups, etc. All ads must be printed and distributed to those interested. If you have found these practical tips and this site helps you, put in the hall a plaque with the address of Christian Moldova and in this way give the participants a chance to continue to know God. Invite newsrooms that publish newspapers that promote Christian values such as the “Ziarul Liber” to sell newspapers and help people subscribe.

Record the event on video

Find a specialist in advance to make quality filming so that you can then make a good film based on these filming to present the gospel. It includes in that film the testimonies of the Christian athletes who became champions and necessarily puts the most beautiful sequences of their evolution in competition. This film will be an exceptional evangelistic material for the future and at the same time a good tool for advertising the club or sports school you run.

Publish articles in the press and on the Internet

Inform journalists in advance about the competition so that they can come to do reports. It is very important to train and prepare all athletes so that they can use any opportunity and questions that reporters will ask to present the truth of the Holy Scriptures and the role of God and the gospel in their lives. It is very important to put articles on the Internet, blogs being a unique tool for media coverage and the proclamation of the Gospel.

I know that as you follow these tips, God will reveal to you many other possibilities and opportunities to use to effectively preach the gospel in competitions. Write about these experiences in the comments. Write down how you managed to apply these tips and what the result was.

Translated by Ina Croitoru