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Friendship, Faith and 5-a-side


There is often talk in ministry about finding ways of engaging with young people once they have passed a certain age. Generally as they move out of their teenage years and on into their twenties we seem to lose track of them; work, new friendship groups, the pub, marriage, children can all play a part in this process. It’s painful for us as youth workers, there’s a sense of loss: having invested so much time, prayer, blood, sweat and tears into these relationships we can find ourselves wondering what it has all meant. That said, we are confident that whatever Jesus calls us to do is not wasted in time or energy.

Monday night football has in some small way become our answer to plugging the gap. Most who take part are in their twenties, ex-breakfast clubber’s, youth club or veterans of the Bolivia Mission trips. We asked some of the lads what our Monday nights mean to them:

What does Monday night football mean to you?
Pedro (started coming three years ago, friend of Jack’s): “It’s a good distraction from the tough bits of life.”
Sam: “Keeps me sane and is a part of helping me manage my bipolar.”
Rich: “Good reminder of how unfit I am!”
Jack: “It has a good social impact on me, keeps me fit and it’s a wholesome activity after a heavy weekend.”
Lee: “It’s a good community of friends and we look out for each other.”
Kav: “I get to see people I don’t see any other time during the week, it helps my fitness and it’s just fun.”

Monday Football is led by a bunch of Christians, does that make a difference?
Jack: “It’s good mixing with people who have faith, we respect each other.”
Pedro: “We know we don’t get judged, there is a comfortable atmosphere.”
Jack: “Faith seems to make a difference here, the fact that it’s part of the ethos.”
Kav: “No it doesn’t matter, I am sure you guys didn’t start football club just to make people believe in God.”

No Kav, we didn’t! But we did start it to show: that we value those friendships, that our commitment to them is not conditional to a faith response and that the invitation to the fullness of a life lived with God is always there for the taking.

Chris and JP