This is a post I wrote for CCFL this week...
Many places in the world are closed to Christians sharing the gospel.
Fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission takes not only faith, but also courage, preparation and creativity. In closed countries, Christians are welcomed when they offer sports clinics and camps. Trent Gamble, director of sports ministry at Calvary, has leveraged sports as a vehicle for spreading the gospel.
Gamble recently returned with members of the Calvary Christian Academy basketball coaching staff from a sports outreach trip to a Muslim country in North Africa. This is the fourth trip Gamble has lead to North Africa.
Along with the team of coaches from CCA, Gamble took his 16-year-old son with him on this trip to North Africa.
"Nothing is more exciting than putting your son into a position where he has to grow."
Gamble's son coached his own basketball clinic station, sometimes without a translator, which means he had to learn key, basketball related Arabic phrases, and apply them creatively to engage the kids and make them better basketball players.
The short-term team opened long term doors of ministry for those working and living on the mission field. Through basketball clinics for kids and coaches, a foundation was laid for on-going relationships with families, their children, and city delegates.
Gamble said that CCA coaches did a great job and learned that the way basketball is coached and taught in the U.S. isn’t the way instruction is given on the other side of the world. They had to adjust the education to the language barrier. Everything they taught–including character development–had to be accurately modeled for their students.
"You have to be strategic in sharing the gospel over there."
Gamble tactically wove the gospel into his conversations with Muslims. “Being prepared maximizes gospel-sharing opportunities.” says Gamble. With Arab students poised on the edge of their seats, Gamble and his team told the gospel story using basketball terms in many of the clinics they hosted. They were even invited to a remote village that rarely receives western visitors and never has the gospel presented to them. Through sports ministry, that village has been reached with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Pray that the seeds planted would continue to be watered and that growth would occur through the work of God’s Spirit.
On April 20, 2011, Pastor Bob prayed for the team before they left. Video can be viewed at this link approximately 21 minutes into the service.