Church urged to get ball rolling on ‘golden decade’ of sport for UK

UK Sports Ministries is hoping that thousands of Christians will be inspired to use sport as a vehicle for engaging with their communities.

The ministry is to host a new Sports Zone at the forthcoming International Christian Resources Exhibition at Sandown Park in Esher, Surrey, from May 11 to 14.

The zone will present new ways that churches can use sporting activities to engage more effectively with their communities.

“Millions play and follow sport in the UK,” said the ministry’s administrator, Mark Blythe.

“With the 2012 Olympics, 2014 Commonwealth Games and possibly 2018 World Cup taking place on these shores, it has never had a higher profile.

“Visitors will get advice from people with years of experience sharing the Christian message in local sporting contexts.”

The theme of sports runs through the programme for this year’s CRE, expected to draw some 13,000 Christians.

On the opening day, clergy will go head to head in a golf and 10-pin bowling challenge on the wii, followed by a 10-question sports quiz.

The CRE will also host its first ever Golf Cup on the nine-hole Sandown Park Course, where participants can win Glory Golf Balls, golf balls inscribed with a biblical text.

The Sports Zone will also be offering the popular resource, Mission Ball, as a prize for CRE visitors. The ball has features Scripture and has been developed by Frontline International as a way for churches to spread the Gospel.

It was used this year by the Southern Area Christian Football League as an official match ball in their end-of-season finals.

“The ball has proved popular with churches and Christian football clubs,” said Mark Palmer of Mission Ball UK.

CRE organisers said nearly all the available exhibition space had been taken up, with just under 400 exhibitors confirmed to attend.

Event director Steve Briars “At a time when similar shows have had to slim down significantly, we are delighted so many organisations continue to support and benefit from CRE.”

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