“I need some help with my life and marriage. Would you come talk to me and my husband?” This question was posed to Pastor Chas Rowland at the close of a soccer game on the grounds of his church. Pastor Rowland, a soccer coach with his church’s Fueled Sports Ministry, readily agreed to meet with the couple in their home, and a week later the husband yielded his life to Jesus Christ. Lead Pastor Rowland of Glen Baptist Church, Glen St. Mary, says their sports ministry is “exploding in significance in our community! It has given us unprecedented interactions with people, people we otherwise would not connect with.”
Five years ago, Glen Baptist Church saw the need in their community for a sports program run with excellence, as their area only had one small county recreation center. With a gymnasium as part of their church facility and space on their property that could be made into soccer fields, the church called Lucas Lott as Pastor of Worship and Sports and gave him the task of starting a sports ministry. Through prayer and God’s guidance, a leadership committee was formed to give oversight, and their own unique Fueled Sports Ministry was launched.
Their typical sports year includes spring and fall soccer seasons, and a winter basketball season. The soccer program, begun two years ago with 38 children, now has 21 teams and over 250 children participating (ages 4-14) in their current spring league. Their basketball league, begun four years ago, had 25 teams this past winter with over 200 children participating (ages 6-15).
After every practice there is a Bible study devotion led by the coach of each team, and the gospel is shared. They have seen multiple people come to faith in Christ, whole families transformed by the gospel. “Competitive sports is a great opportunity to share the gospel,” commented Lott, a graduate of The Baptist College of Florida; “people are still hungry for the gospel. And they want to see what this [sports ministry] is all about, having a church host.”
Each sports season ends with an awards banquet where a nice meal is served and trophies are presented. And the banquet always includes a gospel presentation. At the basketball awards banquet this past March, 400 attended and eight people professed faith in Christ!
The motto for Fueled Sports Ministry is, “Fueled by Christ to impact the world”. Colossians 3:17 is their focal Bible verse – the admonition to do all, in word or deed, in the name of Jesus Christ. “God has used [sports ministry] for kingdom growth and church growth,” says Rowland. And all to the glory of God!