Outreach Tournaments – A guideline
What? A sport or leisure tournament designed to be part of a church’s outreach strategy.
Why? To reach the local community for Christ by staging well organised fun events.
Where? The type of activity will often determine where the event will take place. Events like cards evenings, quizzes etc can be held on Church premises or in secular locations. Sometimes secular locations can be less threatening to non-believers.
When? Before approaching your chosen site owner for permission make two checks:
a) Make sure all your key personnel are available on your chosen date, there’s no point booking a date to then find that half your organising team are away on holiday!
b) Check that the date doesn’t clash with another major event. You may struggle to attract people to a sports quiz on the same night as an England International or if the local team is playing at home.
How? What we all want to know, how do we stage an outreach tournament? Firstly by setting up a team, we call them a Community Sports Team (CST). To prevent burn out and disaster we recommend joining forces with other people and other Churches – the success of the event is far more important than who is in charge! Checkout www.worldsportministries.org to see how to set up a CST and for further details about event management.
Evangelism? That word that excites some and strikes fear into others! Decide at the outset what the aims of your event are. Options include:
- Bronze: introducing your Church/Churches to the community by staging a fun event but with no Gospel message at all, aims are to develop awareness and friendships
- Silver: have Christian literature available and reference to other Church activities
- Gold: have a speaker with a Christian message
Evangelism Tips: Don’t go Gold without letting people know what they are coming to, ie warn them that there will be a Christian talk. Do the message before the end, create a break during the event otherwise folks will go home and not hear the Good News. Don’t make the message too long. Encourage the Speaker to participate in the activity so people get to know them before the talk.
Health & Safety – boring but essential! Ask around to see who is First Aid qualified at their work then invite them to be your 1st Aider at the event. For larger sporting events you may wish to book St Johns, the Red Cross or other First Aid businesses to be present – they usually need plenty of notice, ie over 6 months. Check age categories relevant to the activity ie Children should not play football against others 2 or more years older than them.
Scheduling: Ensure you finish at or before the published time. Build some gaps/catch up times into the schedule. Start the set up earlier than you think you need to and invite more helpers than you think you need. It’s good to be relaxed and ready when people turn up and they often arrive early!
Food: If appropriate including food in an event can break down barriers and create great opportunities to chat with people.
Support: The UK Sports Ministry organisations stage large and small tournaments all the time and they are available to support you. Check out www.uksportsministries.org and contact the sports ministry of your choice.
Actions: Define your reason for staging a tournament
Invite members of your and other local churches to form a Community Sports Team (CST) to arrange the event. Email email@example.com for info
Empower the team to run with an event of their choice
Ask the team to produce a budget straight away
Ensure the team and the event is covered with prayer support.
Contact Mark Blythe on firstname.lastname@example.org with specific questions