In Your Words
 

Seeking the lost on the football field

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In the beginning of 2011 I began to notice that it was truly necessary to go out to seek the lost. Most of my church congregation didn’t see the importance of seeking the lost. They were waiting for the lost to come into the church building. But actually that’s not likely going to happen if our church members don’t go out to look for them.  

I took the opportunity to pray with a friend of mine who is a missionary who has worshipped with our congregation. We began to pray specifically for a ministry team who would go out to evangelize the community that is not far from our local church. For nearly a year we waited and watched for what God wanted us to do in that community.

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Then in June, 2012 I had the opportunity to minister alongside a foundation whose ministry is called Ambassadors in Sports. This team evangelizes children ages 4-17 years old using football (soccer). We took time to talk and plan activities on Thursday evenings and Saturdays during the football practice before the coach would call the team together. We taught scripture and prayed with the children. 
 
Other than the children and their guardians trusting us more each day, we didn’t really notice any changes happening in the children at first. 
 
Thanks to the Lord, we began to see and understand the family life of the children more and more. Several of the children come from broken homes, have family problems, and face suffering. This caused us to want to share the Gospel with them even more, so they would have hope in their daily lives. Once in awhile we were able to pray with some of the children’s guardians.
 
One evening after the children’s football game, a grandfather of two of the players came over to me and asked, “What can I do so my grandsons will be like you (your team)? You love others. Please teach my grandsons to be good people and to love others.” Thank God that our team was like an open book through which others could see Christ and read His teachings through our lives! 
 
Our ongoing hope is that the children in this community will repent and receive Christ and one day worship God in their own neighborhood.

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--by Rev. Siripawn Malagul, Pastor of Chiang Mai First Church of the Nazarene, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Translated by Southeast Asia Field Communications.
 
Talk about it
  • Pastor Malagul says that waiting on people to come to the church and sense their need for Jesus was not effective. People did not come on their own initiative. Why do you think that is?
  • Does your local church perhaps think in a similar way, waiting on "lost" people to find their way to your church?
  • The pastor didn't immediately go out to start looking for people who needed Jesus. What did she do first? What do you think about this?
  • Eventually, the pastor felt led to get involved in sports outreach to the children in the area. Do you think sports ministry can be effective? Why or why not?
  • What could your church do to begin seeking the lost in your community?
 

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