If you are a Christian, you will know that there is no news better than that of Jesus laying down His life and that all who trust in Him can know total forgiveness. What joy! You’ll also know that nothing is more important than having our sports friends hear this amazing news and respond to it - eternity is at stake. But how can you go about doing this?
Paul in Romans 10 v 12-14 says
“For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?"
In order for our sports friends to be saved, they must call on the name of the Lord; and in order to call on Him they must believe in Him; in order to believe in Him they must hear of Him; and in order to hear of Him someone must tell them! But at this point, your heart may sink...because preaching the good news to your sports friends does not feel easy. Where would you start? What would they think of you? How would you know what to say?
While of course it’s good to be looking for every opportunity to speak of Jesus with our sports friends, inviting them to events where someone else will proclaim the gospel message can provide you with a starting point to begin conversations with them. Whether it’s something sporty, like a Sports Quiz, multi sport tournament or big screen showing of a key match, or another event entirely, they are undoubtedly good opportunities. So now the question is, how do you go about inviting sports friends to the event?
We constantly need to be reminded to get our motivations right. As we invite sportspeople to hear the gospel proclaimed, so often our minds can be focused on how they will respond to us personally. If they say “no”, how will that make me look? What will they think of me? What will it do to our relationship if they turn down the invitation?
Sometimes we can try to make it sound as appealing as possible but at the expense of mentioning there is a gospel talk. Or, we can end up being almost apologetic for the fact that there is a talk about Jesus, minimising it as much as we can! But yet, we know they need to hear about Him and we know the message about Jesus is good news - the very best news.
So as you invite sports friends to an event where they will hear the gospel proclaimed, why not be straight with them, and show that you think this is news worth hearing about? Why not instead of inviting them to “a Sport Quiz which will be great fun - oh by the way there will be a short talk about Christianity at some point”, invite them to “a great Sports Quiz with a really good opportunity to hear more about Jesus too.” You’re inviting them to hear life changing news - that’s why you want them to come, so don’t hide that, be genuine!
So your sports friends have come to the event! After the talk, it can be good to ask a specific question about the talk or “have you heard anything like that before?”, rather than just “what did you think?”
But what now? You might be tempted to give yourself a pat on the back and sit back in the knowledge they have heard something about Christ. Maybe you’re just pleased they came and so you thank them for coming. And yet, if I’m thinking rightly about why I wanted them to come, I’ll see they’re the ones who should be thanking me - I’ve invited them to hear life-changing truth, the best news in the world!! So now’s not the time to sit back and feel pleased with myself. No - I don’t want them just to hear once about Jesus, I want them to trust in Jesus for themselves, so as I keep praying, now is the time to see if I can help them to think further about Jesus.
Why not get in touch with every sports friend who came with you and ask them if the talk raised any questions, offer to go for a drink and look at a bit of the Bible together to help them think further? That might be just the question they’ve been waiting for as beneath the surface, the Holy Spirit has been at work - you’ll never know unless you ask!
In all this, with a right motivation and a right understanding that it is God that saves, there really is no pressure. Instead, as we try to be “beautiful feet” (Romans 10:15) that bring good news, we pray and trust that God will bring those He desires to hear the gospel proclaimed, and we go for it. The rest is up to Him.
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