5 ideas for your church to engage with the amazing summer of sport in 2016

The weather is turning. The days are getting longer. And it is gradually becoming acceptable to wear shorts again.

Put those big winter coats away and get ready for a huge summer of sport. With the Olympics and the Euro 2016 football tournament on top of all the regular excitements such as Wimbledon, the Test matches and the Tour de France, it is going to be no ordinary summer.

However disinterested in sport you are, this is not one to miss. Whether you like it or not, family members, housemates, colleagues and neighbours will be revelling in the mounting tension and subsequent highs or lows, so you may as well enter into the summer spirit and enjoy it too.

Sport unites people like nothing else. No matter what team rivalries exist, gathering to watch sport brings people together in an extraordinary way. It also provides churches with a chance to reach out beyond the people who normally enter its four walls on a Sunday.

Here are five ideas to help you invite your neighbours and enjoy the summer of sport with people who would not otherwise have anyone to share it with.

ReutersLove it or hate it, millions will be watching the Euro 2016 tournament. Don't miss the opportunity.

1. Open house

The simplest and easiest way to enjoy sport with other people is to open up your home. It does not take much. Put the sport on the telly. Maybe some crisps and drinks to welcome people. And tell your friends and neighbours to watch it together. It is very simple and could open up opportunities to get to know your neighbours better.

2. Church Day of Sport

If a big sporting event is on a Sunday, why not incorporate it into your church service? Many major events such as the Wimbledon men's final, the 100 metres finals at the Olympics and the Euro 2016 are on a Sunday.

At a bigger venue like a church you could go all out: hire a big screen, host a BBQ, have a sports themed sermon. Sunday sporting events are great opportunities to invite friends to church and watch the sport together beforehand or afterwards. It is really simple and easy way for people who would never normally come to church to join in.

3. Host a tournament

With something like Euro 2016 or the Olympics, it is really easy to organise your own mini-tournament at your local park.

This could be aimed at children or adults but it only needs some space and a few volunteers to put on a number of events that will entertain all ages. Again, it is something for everyone to get involved and provides a chance to get to know neighbours and others who you do not normally come in contact with.

ReutersThe 100m final for the Rio Olympics is on a Sunday. Could your Church host an event?

4. Have a street party

If the idea of actually playing sport is far too strenuous why not just sit around and eat food instead?

Street parties get the whole neighbourhood involved and bring people out of their own homes to engage with everyone else. They require a little bit more organising than a simple open house but aren't that difficult. Recruit some support, maybe a BBQ and some games for children and you are away. You will be amazed at how many people will join in for a common source of entertainment.

5. Run a quiz

This can either be done in your home or at church and is an easy way to get people mixing with people they may not usually meet.

There are plenty of quiz ideas online but just make sure you tailor it to your audience. Guests who are mainly in their 20s may not appreciate being asked about the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Those are a few ideas to help you get started. With less than a month to go until Euro 2016 kicks off you haven't got long to get planning. Don't let the summer of sport 2016 pass you by.

Lifestyle