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Dear Christians in Sport,
I’m a final year university student, I’ve absolutely loved playing university sport over the last three years and have had encouraging conversations with the girls in my netball team, but now final exams are on the horizon and our season is just about finished, it’s hard to share Jesus as easily. How can I finish well before I move on from university?
This is a brilliant question, and it’s great to be thinking about how you might share Jesus with your friends even in the strange time that is the last month of university when people are getting their heads down ahead of final year projects and exams.
So how does reaching the world of sport for Christ fit into the last month of university life?
It may be much harder to share life and the gospel at this stage in your university year. You may not have the regular cycle of training sessions, matches, socials, so it may be much more of a challenge to naturally spend time with people in your sports team or club. You may also be so swamped with revision that you barely have time to sleep, let alone have time to think about evangelism!
But here’s the thing: though your life, and the lives of your sports mates may look different right now, the need for them to hear about and respond to Jesus has not changed. In Matthew 9:36, Jesus looks out upon the crowds and “he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” That is still their situation, and it is still the case that as Jesus says two verses later, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” We are still called to be workers in the harvest field of sport – though it may seem more difficult!
You may have been told that university is an incredibly unique time in terms of gospel opportunities. Busy though things may feel, you are unlikely to ever have this much time to spend with people again. Also, during their time at university people tend to be more open-minded than ever before, and when they leave they may settle into life and stop thinking about the bigger things. Therefore make the most of the time that you have left!
Also, one of the reasons why many of us find it so hard to tell our friends in sport about Jesus is the fear of what others will think of us. Here’s the thing - if you are about to graduate then you may never see some of these people again, and if you do it probably won’t be in the same capacity.
In Acts, when Paul is saying goodbye to the Ephesian elders, knowing he will never see them again, he is able to say to them: “Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.” (Acts 20:26-27)
Imagine being able to say that! Imagine leaving university confident that you have shared the Gospel with your sports mates, they have heard it and now it is up to them to make the decision.
So what could this look like in practice?
Keep praying for your sports mates, and keep meeting with other Christian sportspeople to encourage them in this.
People are busy, but everyone makes time for a meal! Why not catch up with someone over a meal? Why not keep in touch to hear how their exams are going, showing that you care about them as a person, not just as a teammate! Be productive in your own work to free up time to spend with people.
A few years back a student rugby player stood up in the changing room after an end of season 7s tournament, and told them there was something he had to tell them before he left university. He shared his faith with them, which led to conversations in weeks and years to come. How could you boldly share the good news of Jesus with your teammates before you leave?
Why not put on an event which gives people a breather from their revision and gets them thinking about something else? Or at many universities there is time after exams when everyone’s still hanging around with lots of free time. What a great time to put on something like an outdoor volleyball tournament with a BBQ and a half-time talk. Why not get together with your university Christians in Sport group to organise this, if you don’t have a group at your university then Get in touch with the Student team if you'd like us to help you think this through.
Do you have any questions about sport and faith?
Send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to contact us via social media
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