What’s it all about?
Sports ministry: football in the Cathedral
It has taken two years of listening, research and conversation to develop the Sportily (originally OneLife) vision and proposal. The documents outlining the vision and the framework are available here:
What is Sportily?
Sportily is part of our LIFE vision for transforming the Church’s engagement with children, young people and their families through excellent local sport and spiritual well-being provision.
Across the diocese a network of Sports Ministers will work alongside our worshipping communities leading sports clubs, residential camps, coaching a variety of sport teams and providing high quality PE lessons, through partnerships with primary and secondary schools. In all of these contexts young people will have the opportunity to explore and learn about the Christian faith and God’s love for them.
The Sportily team will also work closely with our clergy, our congregations and youth and children’s workers to encourage and support them in mission and discipleship to bring young people into a deeper and richer experience of God.
Meet some of our Sports Ministers
Sportily is committed to providing the best quality sports coaching and education, with fun and joy being at the heart of all the training sessions. Young people will be supported and encouraged to develop their leadership skills and their feedback and insight will help shape Sportily to suit the future needs and hopes of our communities.
As relationships develop and children and young people make the decision to become followers of Jesus Christ, the hope is that new worshipping communities will be formed, more suited to their personalities and culture. The long-term vision for the Sportily network is to take on permanent health and fitness buildings, which can also become the homes for new Church communities.
The network is committed to the training and development of our Sports Ministers and their leadership skills, celebrating their vocation to sports ministry. There will be a dedicated monitoring and evaluation programme to ensure that Sportily will continually develop and adapt. Anything that we learn, we will be shared nationally to help other dioceses develop sports based ministry.
Why is the Diocese of Gloucester investing in this?
Sportily seeks to embrace sport and physical activity as a basis for ministry for four reasons.
- 95% of people in our communities are currently unconnected with Church. The Church needs to take some radical steps to be outward-facing and be where the people are. 85% of parishes in the Diocese of Gloucester have 5 or fewer under 16s attending Sunday Worship. This potentially equates to approximately just two families in the church.
- Sport is the highest voluntary group participation activity that children and young people do. Over 55% of children and young people attend out of school sports provision compared to 1% who go to Church.
- Sport is a widely acknowledged social need and local sports provision for young people is fast diminishing. This trend is likely to be made worse by Covid-19. We want to meet the needs and support young people in their local communities. They are our future.
- We have proved through the work of the LIFE vision Sport Priority Group and working with PSALMS* and SU* that sport is a service the Church can deliver and at the same time develop strong relational bonds and share the Gospel effectively.
Where will we find Sportily Sports Ministers?
We are incredibly fortunate in the diocese to have worked alongside PSALMS for a number of years.
PSALMS started in 2005 in Painswick, when they realised that many young people, especially boys, spent their Sundays on the football pitch or engaging in other active pursuits. This lead a group of Christians to start engaging with young people through sports ministry.
PSALMS are merging with Sportily, which means that their excellent sports ministers, their expertise and connections will all be part of the Sportily family.
Completion of the merger with PSALMS will be by the end of January.
How did Sportily start?
This proposal has taken two years of dedicated work, collaborating around the diocese, networking locally and nationally and drawing in expertise from the field of sports ministry.
The proposal bubbled up from a series of local sports ministry initiatives across our worshipping communities and the pioneering work of the LIFE vision Sports Priority Group.
This evidenced the amazing ability of sports ministry to reach young people who have no connection with the Church and share the Gospel with them.
Find out more about Sports Ministry
Sports Ministry is a named part of the Diocese of Gloucester’s Vision. We asked sports ministers, volunteers and the public about sport and faith, and whether there was a link between the two…