Opportunity to share the gospel
In just a few months time one of the largest International sporting events will be in full swing in the UK during September and October - The Rugby World Cup.
No one will be able to avoid it. It’s the third largest international event of its kind. In 2003, England snatched the glory – remember Jonny Wilkinson’s match winning kick? In 2007 against all odds England reached the final. In 2011, Wales just lost out in a nail-biting semi-final.
All this drama and passion will be on our doorsteps as England & Wales host the Rugby World Cup 2015.
With 48 games planned in 13 venues from Newcastle to Exeter and Cardiff to Brighton and spread over just 6 weeks, from the 18 September 2015.
There will be 20 international squads, using 40 training bases around the country. In addition, local festivals of rugby are planned in every major town & city. The event organisers are anticipating half a million fans from 100 different countries. There will, of course, be wall to wall media coverage with every game live on ITV as well.
Mark Lyndon-Jones, MPower’s National leader, was discussing the opportunities this presents for local Elim churches and especially our Men’s ministry groups to focus their attention on connecting with other guys on the fringes of church life through this great sporting occasion.
As Mark & David Chawner the UK coordinator for Engage 2015 agreed this is another golden opportunity for Elim churches to engage with a national event and through its local communities as happened as happened at the Olympics in 2012.
MPower on behalf of Elim is partnering with the spirit of Engage 2015 to offer the opportunity this event presents for local evangelistic outreach purposes.
David explained that: “Engage 2015, is a partnership of denominations and Christian groups including MPower, and is here to help by providing a menu of ideas and resources most of which can be built into existing activities”.
The Engage 2015 partnership with MPower enables our local men’s groups in Elim churches to access the full programme of resources and ideas to facilitate outreach during the Rugby World Cup 2015.
The menu focuses is on five specific areas of ministry:
Community Festivals – delivered as churches with you local community or linking with the local rugby club.
Hospitality – showing hospitality to athletes families, supporters & local communities; or even just having your mates around to watch a game on the TV.
Guest Events – breakfasts, dinners or golf days with rugby-related Christian speakers, Rugby World Cup services, sports quizzes etc.
Children & Youth – a range of ideas for schools, Sunday School & youth group activities & Holiday Clubs.
Touch/Tag Rugby – helping churches see the possibilities this offers for outreach with local clubs and schools.
Other resources will include short video clips of current Christian players, “how to ...” guides, conversation starters and curriculum based materials for schools work – which will all be available at minimum cost online through the Engage 2015 website.
Showing one of the big games on a large screen under the banner of Engage 2015 - as part of a community festival or as a stand alone – could be a great occasion to invite people to.
The team at Engage 2015 can provide guidelines on how to hire a big screen and keep in line with broadcasting regulations.
Engage 2015 will also be offering training events around the country to prepare for this great sporting occasion and outreach opportunity. This can be tailored to fit your local situation if so desired. And it will even be possible to apply to stage events under the national Festival of Rugby 2015 brand.
With Christmas following hot on the heels of this autumn tournament, further opportunities for planning follow-up events to build on relationships and connections formed present the possibility of seeing longer lasting legacies created.
Why not consider, maximising this opportunity as part of your rhythm of missional outreach this autumn enhancing what you may already be planning.
As a local church pastor in the Rhondda Valleys with a number of ex-Welsh International rugby players who are part of the congregation we’ll be seeking to engage our community in various ways during this event, including in some of the ways suggested by the this initiative.
Irrespective of limitations on resources there are many simple ways in which Elim churches and especially local MPower Men’s Group’s can link with your existing contacts and into your community during the Rugby World Cup 2015.
Don’t risk missing out on this God-given golden opportunity with all its possibilities to serve and to share the Good News of Jesus through sport. Start thinking and planning now. You can register your interest and access ideas at the website, www.engage2015.co.uk.
MPower and Senior Pastor – Gatehouse Church, Porth.