The Foundation (Why We Exist)
Only 6% of people accept Christ after the age of 18. “…our data points out clearly that the faith trajectory of the vast majority of Americans is mapped out before they become adults, often before they even reach adolescence.” (Unchristian, Kinnaman - Barna Research 2007)
After “family,” teens mention teachers and coaches as their most influential role models. (“Teen Role Models: Who They Are, Why They Matter.” Barna Research 2011 - www.barna.org)
It is estimated that 3.2 billion viewerswatched the 2010 World Cup. That is 46.4% of the global population of 2010 (6.9 billion), based on viewers watching a minimum of over one minute of coverage.
Sport is a universal language that has the ability to transcend all cultural, political, religious, and economic barriers. Among sports there is nothing like soccer that has the ability to bring together cities, nations, and the world. In soccer, we are using one of the greatest possible tools to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
To “redeem” means to “buy back” and we believe that redeemed people can be used as tools to redeem the sports culture. Our desire is to “buy back” sports and to compete in such a way that honors God and restores sports to its rightful place, giving glory to God and not to man.
The Purpose of Sports Ministry Training
“A Season of Training for a Lifetime of Service”
MAI has a 30+ year history of sports ministry with a proven history of using soccer as an effective tool for ministry. During this time, tens of thousands of children have participated in MAI camps where they received Bible teaching and the presentation of the Gospel. In addition, over 50 International Tours have ministered successfully in countries on six continents. All players who participate on MAI teams go through its Sports Ministry Training (SMT) program. The purpose of sports ministry training is to equip players and coaches to be followers of Jesus Christ, sent to love and serve others.
MAI’s sports ministry training curriculum is divided into three sections: Heart, Hands, and Feet.
- The Heart of Sports Ministry: Personal Transformation through Faith
- The Hands of Sports Ministry: Team Transformation through Values
- The Feet of Sports Ministry : Sent to Love and Serve Others
MAI has used the Sports Ministry curriculum to help train and deploy successful Sports Ministers and to assist multiple organizations create Sports Ministry programs. We have developed five topical studies that support each of the Heart, Hands and Feet.
The Heart of Sports Ministry
The heart is the single organ in which every part of the human body relies upon. If it does not function properly, the life and health of the rest body is affected. The heart is responsible for supplying essential blood flow to the entire body in order to maintain the health and function of the whole. Although the heart itself is not visible, its condition is often quite visible by the effects it has on the body. In the same way, we do not want to conform our actions and behavior to fit something that does not match what we believe in your heart. True and everlasting transformation happens from the inside out, this is the “heart” of Sports Ministry Training.
The foundation of S.M.T. begins in your spiritual heart (the inner most being of a person) and is formed by your personal beliefs. These beliefs are responsible for every visible attitude and action that you have. As an athlete, these heart issues encompass your Faith (what you believe), your personal Identity (who you are), where you find your Significance (feeling valued), your internal and external Motivation (why you do what you do), and your desire to for personal Integrity (honesty and transparency).
The Hands of Sports Ministry
As we mature in our relationship with Jesus and our identity in Christ, the outward expression of this relationship is seen by others in how we live and act. As we grow, God empowers us through the Holy Spirit, to represent Him in such a way that honors the King of Kings in all aspects of our lives both on and off the field.
The “hands” of S.M.T. represent the practical application of our personal beliefs and values (the “heart”), as demonstrated through the team. This expression of our collective identity as a group will be seen by many whether we like it or not. Furthermore, the depth and commitment to which we hold these values will be put to the test several times throughout the course of a season. The “hands” of S.M.T. will encourage our team to redefine our view of Competition (bringing the best out of one another), develop a culture of Accountability (maintaining standards of excellence), be a source of Encouragement (to inspire and challenge), live in a spirit of Unity (oneness), and demonstrate Respect (submission and honor) to others.
The Feet of Sports Ministry
In this section we will take a look at what it means to be the “feet” of sports ministry. We will give you a vision of what it might look like to fulfill the purpose of S.M.T by being sent to love and serve others. This begins with the personal transformation of the “heart” that you have experienced within the team environment where you practice being the “hands” of sports ministry. The process of transformation is different for each player, but once you’ve been changed by Jesus Christ and allow his life to flow through you, telling others is the natural response. The “feet” of S.M.T. requires an overflow of Compassion, tremendous Generosity, an attitude of Humility, the heart of a Servant, and the wisdom of Stewardship.