1.1 What is Soccer Ministry?
To answer the question 'what is soccer ministry?' it might be helpful to replace the word 'soccer' with the word 'christian', which, of course, gives us the question 'What is Christian ministry?'. At face value, this may seem fairly straightforward - surely it is leading people to know Jesus. Isn't it??
Well, actually, "ministry" comes from the Greek word diakoneo, meaning "to serve" which suggests that the purpose of Christian ministry is to serve God and to serve others in His name. A by-product of this service may be that people decide to follow Jesus, which as Christians is something we would desire, but ultimately we are called to 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' (Mark 12: 30-31). If we look at the life of Jesus we see him provide a template for ministry by serving others ('...the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve....' Mark 10:45) and although there should always be an emphasis on evangelism ('Go therefore and make disciples of all nations' Matthew 28:14) it is also important to serve the physical, emotional, mental, vocational, and financial needs of others too.
Putting this into a football context, therefore, we have two 'elements' which make up football ministry - serving others and meeting their needs through the ministry of football and also having an opportunity to share our faith. As we move through the rest of the course we will consider at what this might look like practically but for the next section of this module we will look briefly at the role the church played in the early days of the English Football League and how some visionary church leaders were able to harness the power of football to make a positive difference in their own communities.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:10