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How World Sport Ministries Began

From an early age I realised that sport was my thing. I didn’t understand that it was from God until I was much older, but sport was why I lived as a child through to my early twenties. You could say that sport was my God!

It was clear at school that the only future career I desired was in sport. I was either going to play professionally or coach others to. Well, I tried to make it as a pro cricketer and nearly cracked it, but it was not to be having played semi professionally, so coaching it was.

I started coaching at the age of 16 and pursued it as a career when I left college at 18. I worked secularly as a schools coach and cricket development officer in communities as well as directing the coaching at my local club. My big break however, was when I was asked to coach on a development programme in the Free State of South Africa. Off I went, in excitement in September 2004; what I didn’t realise was how my life was about to change.

Three days into my stay I met a lady who is now my wife. That whole story is a testimony in itself; but she felt sorry for me as a stranger in a strange place, and compassionately reached out to me in friendship, demonstrating the love of God. As I got to know her, it was clear that she had something I didn’t, and having told me of her late brothers death where he was hit by a drunk driver on the side of the road; she said that he was ready to go as he knew Jesus, and that he’s in heaven and not hell. I knew of God but didn’t know Him, so I prayed to receive Christ by faith. I thank God for getting me on the plane to S.A, as I gained a wife and eternal life!

Eighteen months later, whilst driving back from a schools coaching session in England, I was worshipping God when the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “I want you to work for me like you work for your cricket union.” I didn’t know what that meant as I had never heard of sports ministry and I had only been saved just over a year. My wife and I prayed and fasted, but further information was temporarily withheld; I therefore assumed that God wanted me to tell the people I coached about Jesus. I started to do this without any real plan, but I now know that God wanted to see if I would be faithful with the little, prior to more responsibility.

Three years later, in July 1998 I was at home in South Africa reading some spirit building literature when the Holy Spirit came upon me out of the blue. For the next 45 minutes the Lord reminded me about the sports ministry calling and proceeded to give me an amazing outline of what He now wanted me to do; He even gave me the name World Sport Ministries. There afterwards, God supernaturally put me together with key people who could advise, train and mentor me. I now knew the real reason why I was alive.

God’s vision for WSM is to begin community sports ministry teams with people from different churches using their talents and evangelical desire to plan events and strategies that will reach people that churches struggle to reach through the powerful and relevant tool of sport. I have learned that the people of the world love sport and that the creator of sport and the world loves people. So much so that He wants them to know Him so that He may rescue them from an eternal existence without Him.

There is a long way t go, but we have planted teams and trained leaders in 4 different countries with many more to follow; thousands of people have come to know Christ, and sporty minded Christians are now realising that they can and should use their talents to serve God. I sincerely believe that sport enables us to take church to the people as it enables the body of Christ to relationally reach the largest number of people in the shortest space of time.

In partnership with others, and led only by the Spirit of God, the continents of the world are being impacted with the great news through sport.

Grant Sheppard
WSM DirectorDSC_0161

History

1999

Ministry formed in UK

2000

Mission to Australia

2003Kenya 8

WSM Kenya launch and mission

2004

Rwanda Mission

Sierra Leone Mission

2005

WSM - 9

Pakistan Mission

2006

WSM Bristol launch

Germany Mission

2007

Barbados Mission

2008

WSM Bath launch

2009

WSM London

WSM Newham launch

2010

Kenya Mission

UK Central Operations Team

1,400 acts of ministry

2011

80 Leaders trained

1,556 acts of ministry

5,000 people impacted

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