By Shane Smith and Lemmy Dalano, SF Kenya
Njoroge didn’t mind the two hour bicycle ride to church. He took great pleasure in worshiping with other believers and there wasn’t a place he could do that in his town. Njoroge pedaled faithfully week after week… for two years and eight months!
One day, after attending a Sports Friends training held by his church, Njoroge had an idea. He became convinced that God could use him to minister to his own immediate community rather than traveling to another place for fellowship.
Taking what he had learned at the training, Njoroge began a local soccer team. As the team grew in size, Njoroge’s relationships with the youth also grew deeper and deeper.
Njoroge always ended each practice session with a time of prayer and Bible study. One day during practice, a player named Muma was injured. The injury devastated Muma because he knew that he would no longer be able to be part of the team. In response, the team decided to change their practice structure to include their teammate. Every evening after practice the team began going to Muma’s house to hold Bible study and prayer there. Muma’s mom even prepared a place for the boys to meet.
One evening, after the team had been meeting in Muma’s house for a month, Muma’s father came home earlier than expected. A harsh man, Muma’s father usually came home late after spending each night drinking alcohol and using drugs. When his father saw the crowd of youth at his home, his wife cautiously explained what was happening. Surprisingly, Muma’s father decided to join and listened as Coach Njoroge taught from scripture. As the session ended he thanked Njoroge for what he was doing and promised to join them every evening.
The following day Muma’s dad returned for Bible study and brought four friends with him. Intrigued by Coach Njoroge’s teaching, he told his wife that they should invite others to listen. Muma’ mom began inviting her friends and the crowd slowly expanded over the next few months.
The group grew so large that Muma’s father decided to prepare a more conducive place to accommodate the group. As the meetings continued to grow, Coach Njoroge invited someone to come pastor the newly formed community. Today, 45 people meet each Sunday… and Njoroge is now able to walk to church!
God is using the Sports Friends ministry not only for evangelism and discipleship, but for church planting as well. Please continue to pray with us that God would open new doors and give us more opportunities to equip people like Coach Njoroge to plant churches right in their own communities!