Fri | Jun 24, 2022

Christian sporting group using basketball to bring students to Christ

Published:Saturday | May 28, 2022 | 12:16 AMRuddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer

The idea of using sports as a medium to reach students with the good news of Jesus Christ was vividly on display at the Spanish Town Primary School on Wednesday.

A combined US college basketball team that visited the school sought to share their faith in Jesus Christ by hosting a basketball camp for the students.

Kelly Combs from Waco, Texas, who is the director of basketball for Sports Outreach Ministries and coach of the team, said the ministry that started in 1986 was on a mission to use sports (basketball) as a platform to share with Jamaican students’ faith in Jesus Christ.

“We go all over the world not only to play sports, but to meet new people and share with them the Gospel message of Jesus Christ,” Combs told Family & Religion.

He added: “This team is a basketball team made up of nine universities from all over the US and they come together to be able to visit to Jamaica to do basketball camps and clinics with students, but we always take time to share our personal testimonies and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

According to Combs, this method of outreach has been very effective because it has broken down all social barriers and the good news has been able to reach lots of people who turned out, whether for basketball or faith in Jesus Christ.

Ohio State first-year player Tre King, who has been a Christian for 18 years, said he sees sport as a positive experience that allows him to connect with younger students and then the message of Jesus Christ comes across more clearly.

“It is a great avenue, just being with the younger kids I saw a lot of myself in them, when I was younger, I had people who steered me in the right direction, so I want to do the same for these students,” he noted.

King acknowledged that his Christian journey has not been easy, but he has come a far way with his faith.

“My message to the students is, don’t try to do everything by yourself, God has put people in our lives, all we have to do is reach out to them.”

Meanwhile, principal of the school, Roogae Kirlew, said he aims to forge a partnership with the Sports Outreach Ministries to strengthen the school’s Evangelism Through Sports programme.

“The idea is to tie academic performances into evangelism. In addition, we want to incorporate the inner-city communities adjoining the Spanish Town Primary School and make them a part of the Evangelism Through Sports programme,” Kirlew told Family & Religion.

He said come September, he will be rolling out an extensive evangelism programme utilising the prayer team that is currently at the school to go out in the communities as an outreach to the students and teachers at the Spanish Town Primary School.

“So, it’s not only to tell them what’s happening at school not only with regards to academics, but telling them about the love of Jesus Christ,” Kirlew said.

ruddy.mathison@gleanerjm.com