Time of growth for Norwich sports ministry
The Sports Factory has been sharing the gospel through sport in Norwich since 2014 and is now holding regular fitness and prayer sessions online on Facebook and YouTube to help reach people during the Covid-19 crisis.
One of the sports ministers, Tom Woods, who is also part of the Norfolk Christian Football League said, “Several of our regular classes have obviously stopped for now, such as Pilates, Monday Night Football and Fab and Fit so being able to replace them in some sort of way was important to us. We also recognised over this time of quarantine it’s so important for everyone to keep active and so we felt these online provisions would really help people do this. Finally, we want to continue sharing the Gospel, the Good news with people, and this seemed an ideal way to do just that!”
The Sports Factory was born out of St Thomas Church, Norwich to connect the church and the community through sport and to share the love of Jesus people. Last year, the Diocese of Norwich employed four Sports Ministers to roll out The Sports Factory across Norfolk: their mission remains the same; to get to know people through sport and then provide opportunities to share Jesus’ love with them.
The sessions are aimed at all ages, abilities and people from all walks of life. Since the ministry has moved online, the team has received positive feedback – from great-grandparents who have benefited from the ‘stretch and pray’ sessions in the morning, to housemates who gather to take part in the sessions together, to parents who have sent videos of their babies joining in.
Comments online include:
“Thank you, really appreciate the prayer and bible study approach”
“Loving all the exercises you sports factory guys are providing, thanks so much”
“You guys are amazing”
The ability to build relationships is crucial in order to effectively share faith with people, and the inability to meet face-to-face during the coronavirus outbreak poses a challenge. However, many people who used in attend activities in person are checking in online and the team is reaching more people, some of whom are local people who hadn’t heard of The Sports Factory before. Tom said, “New relationships are being built and it feels like God is moving so strongly through all of this. Doors have opened in places where we didn’t even realise there were doors there. With things like different podcasts, bible studies and continuing some of this online work, after the quarantine is over, on the horizon it’s just a really exciting time to be involved in it all.”
Project title: Sports Factory Online
Summary: We’re delivering online sports and fitness sessions with a faith-based ‘Team-Talk’ as well as recording faith and sports-themed podcasts
Description: The Sports Factory work as part of the Diocese of Norwich, our core team of seven would usually be working within different schools, churches and communities delivering a wide range of sporting provisions with the aim to spread the good news of Jesus.
These provisions range from exercise classes for the elderly to netball sessions, from lunch clubs to football development sessions. With the current restrictions in place though due to Covid-19 we’ve adapted as best we can and we’re now streaming lots of different sports and exercise videos and podcasts on various branches of social media, and the feedback we’ve got has been fantastic!
Where we operate: We’re usually based in Norwich at Diocesan House, operating around the whole diocese, so Norfolk and part of North Suffolk. But obviously we’re currently all working from our homes.
Address: Diocesan House, 109 Dereham Road, Easton, Norwich, NR9 5ES
Public contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org , www.sportsfactory.org.uk
Our main contact: Ruth Anderson, Head of Sports Ministry, email@example.com, 07881936978
How we can help other projects: We’re open to working with anyone who feels they would benefit through sports ministry
1. Prayer for us a team for energy and the ability to keep delivering high quality sessions
2. Technology, it has been a little bit of an issue recently, so prayer we can work through these issues
3. Prayer that through this work people would draw closer to Jesus
4. Prayer that the work would reach more and more people in a positive way
Join in The Sports Factory workouts
Pictured: Tom Woods leading a fitness session on YouTube, and Vicky Allen leading online sports training