Canon Ian Marsh is the Chairman of PSALMS, a Stroud–based charity that works to engage hundreds of children and young people with church through sport. He explains some of the latest developments in this rapidly growing ministry.
“Sports ministry unquestionably provides an excellent vehicle for churches to connect with people in their communities. The more difficult part of sports ministry is how we can effectively build upon those connections to help people come to a personal faith in the Lord Jesus, to take a leadership role within the church.
“Over the 11 years since PSALMS started, this has been our continual challenge. Recently, a strong cohort of nine year 11s who attended the youth club showed interest in and commitment to growing in their faith, so we set up a One Year Leadership Academy. “Following a formal interview process, they now meet monthly for an evening of leadership training and a meal together. We have had excellent session leaders including Bishop Rachel. They each have an adult mentor within the church with whom they meet monthly, they have attended various challenging conferences and residentials together and are required to take on leadership roles. It is also tied into the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.
“Their growth was reflected in the way that they took on leadership at our second annual PSALMS camp/residential (TRAC). We had 66 people (47 youngsters) from across our area and the Leadership Academy were such a good model for the younger ones.”