He’s on a mission for GodTimothy Phillips, founder and president of Vision For Sports Ministries. (Picture by Lennox Devonish.)
By Lisa King | Mon, April 16, 2012 - 10:20 AM
Get young people involved in the sports that they love and use that opportunity to tell them about God.
Adopting this practice has brought great results for Timothy Phillips, founder and president of Vision For Sports Ministries (VFSM).
The ministry started in 2009 as a result of a practice domino match where Phillips realized that the kind of interaction he saw was good, and a good way to fellowship through sports.
Phillips, who attends Pegwell Community Church, said the ministry’s aim is to win souls by spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and since it was started, 21 young people have given their lives to the Lord.
“In the domino competition, we go into the community and ask the guys on the block and people who do not go to church to come and join our domino competition or to join the church team.
“At the same time we get the opportunity to witness to those guys and as a result of that we had 21 young people saved between 2009 and now,” Phillips explained.
The ministry is rooted in 39-year-old Phillips’ experience – he lived on the streets for a number of years and as a Christian would ask the Lord, “why me?”
“I also told the Lord if there is anything I can do to help young people not go down the same road or fall down the same path that I am in right now, show me or allow me to do it so I can win people for him,” Phillips said.
Phillips got back on his feet through the help of a friend and started organizing dominoes competitions.
He also plans in the near future to launch netball, windball cricket and football programmes.
“Young people in general like sports so when they hear sports, they just run to it. So it is very easy when we go to the community and say we are having an interchurch competition and we want you to bring a team or we want some of you guys to come and join our team.
“From there, it is our job and responsibility that when they come on board we start witnessing,” Phillips said.
He admitted that not everyone will accept the Lord immediately. Even when they become involved, they are not ready to take that step.
“We try to talk to those people and if they decide they are not ready, we don’t just cast them away.
“We don’t want to force the gospel on them but we try to meet them where they are so we continue after the competition to liaison and talk and encourage them try to get them to be comfortable and see what it is to be a Christian.
“Eventually most of them come around,” Phillips said.
The programme is open to anyone from any church, Christian group or community and Phillips stressed that it has nothing to do with denominations.
The ministry has also partnered with the One Man A Month Campaign and has been promised help from the Men’s Educational Support Association, the National Task Force on Crime Prevention and other organizations to push the ministry’s programme.
Phillips said that though they ran on a small scale previously with several strategic partners on board, the programme will utilize these partners to come in and give them the relevant advice and information that they need.
With several people having given over their lives to the Lord, Phillips is pleased with the progress so far.
“I get all excited, happy and sometimes I cannot hold it back. Deep down inside I know that I have done what the Lord has required of me.
“My gift is evangelism. I can talk to you for two minutes and get you to come to church, so talking to people and getting the message to them – for me, that is very easy.
“I get all excited when I can go onto the block and talk to a youngster and get him to come to church,” Phillips said.
He added that most importantly everybody has access to the Lord and the programme.
“Sometimes they say we don’t have any clothes, shoes, or no transportation and when you hear these things, what are you going to do? Are you going to say we cannot come or just leave them there?
“I personally give that person the things that they need to get to church; if it is clothes, I will give them. If they need transportation, I will send a taxi.
“You have no excuse for not coming to the Lord,” Phillips said.
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