Hi again everyone,
This week I am going to be talking about a wonderful group called Christians in Sport (http://www.christiansinsport.org.uk/). This is a global group that has the stated aim of trying to ‘reach the world of sport for Christ’. If you are a Christian and play sport at any level then I would really encourage you to find a group and get involved. Most universities will have a group you can join and many churches also provide possibilities for getting involved.
Christians in Sport started in the 1970s but has grown to become a global movement. In 1984 the charity gained its first official director in Andrew Wingfield Digby and, with the help of high profile sportspeople, both sport and the church began to take notice of the group. It was in the 1990s that the group expanded into universities with students meeting up weekly to pray for friends and share the Christian message. Today the movement is 19,000 strong, aided by the success of the 2012 Olympics convincing many churches of the need to engage in the world of sport.
For me the great thing about Christians in Sport has been that it introduces me to so many like-minded people. I have always found that sports people, including across different sports, have a natural camaraderie between them due to the shared character traits that attract them to sport. Christians in Sport adds a whole new dimension to this because we share not only a passion for sport but, more importantly, a belief in Jesus Christ as our lord and saviour.
I only became a Christian very recently and can honestly say that it has transformed my attitude to sport. The weekly Christians in Sport meetings have been crucial to this because they help me to understand how my faith should affect every part of my life, how my love for Christ should influence my passion for running.
The greatest change has been internal. I have always been a very competitive person, always wanting to do better than the next person. However the Christian message of love and hope for all has helped to take the edge of any disappointment in my performance and enhance my joy at seeing others perform well. I would be the first to admit that my running is going poorly at the moment but, by focusing on God and the long term, my illness and injury problems are easier to deal with.
One of Bible passages that has most resonated with me is Romans 8, verse 28. For the uninitiated, Romans is a letter written by St Paul to the church at Rome, probably within 30 years of the crucifixion of Jesus. This verse states ‘we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him’. In other words – we may be struggling now but God has a plan for us and we can trust that through his judgement that all things will work out for the best. When applied to my sport this helps me to understand that, for a reason I don’t yet know (and may never know – see Isaiah 55, verses 8-9) my current injury and lack of form has a purpose, reducing the frustration and disappointment that I feel. Of course I still feel these emotions but the teachings of Christianity, applied to my running through Christians in Sport, help me to manage them, instead focusing on the joy of others as they perform well.
I don’t know whether any of my fellow runners would say they have noticed a change in my attitude since I began attending Christians in Sport. It is quite possible they have not but that is fine – the changes are internal rather than external and so long as they can count me as a loving and caring friend then I am happy.
I suppose my message in this blog is very simple – becoming a Christian has changed my outlook to life, including sport, and Christians in Sport has been a real help in bringing this about. I am always happy to talk about my journey to Christ, as I am sure are any other Christian, and, if you are already a Christian, then I cannot recommend joining Christians in Sport enough.