Sportspersons Ministries International, an organization that hosts outdoor activities in Michigan, started two soccer ministries in Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
In Kabala, Sierra Leone, teams include a mix of both Christians and non-Christians, so that church members have the opportunity to reach the people of the city.
Joseph Morah helped start a soccer ministry in Kabala, Sierra Leone, through a West Michigan ministry.
“It’s not that just players come; the whole city comes out to watch. We could share the gospel with the whole city,” said Rev. Maury De Young, executive director of Sportspersons.
The soccer ministry in Sierra Leone began with four churches but soon grew to include eight—nearly all the churches in the city. The games open with prayer and include a short message during halftime.
“The leaders are instructed to build relationships with their teams,” explained De Young. “We’re Christians; we want to have fun together. We want to make sure our doors are open to [them]—that’s the principle.”
Sending supplies and even communicating with the ministries is a challenge. “It is very difficult to communicate with some of these leaders . . . and difficult to provide them with uniforms and soccer equipment,” said De Young.
Sportspersons has also helped start ministries in several Christian Reformed churches. It also hosts ministry-focused outdoors events related to fishing and hunting.
“There is a mission field near us that is often overlooked. While we attend church on Sunday mornings, most of this group of people . . . are enjoying some outdoor sport,” said De Young.
In the future, De Young hopes to expand the soccer ministries to more churches in both Nigeria and Sierra Leone.