Soccer Evangelism Strategy Reaches Senegal Muslims
Nations that are mostly Muslim can be difficult to reach. Blasphemy laws can keep Christians from speaking the truth in Algeria or Pakistan. Threat of persecution and imprisonment make believers cautious.
In the 95 percent Muslim country of Senegal, believers have taken a unique approach to avoid conflict while still getting the gospel across.
David Bies with Biblica says because of the nation's devotion to Islam: "It's difficult for us to make a mass evangelism to call people. That's why we use a sport outreach, sport evangelism. When you have one soccer ball, you go outside in the street, and in one minute you can get more than 100 kids around you."
Biblica uses soccer to teach kids about the Bible. Not only are biblical truths taught using the soccer ball itself, but kids are given materials that explain the gospel. They are told the story of Jesus.
"It's a huge project around the country, and every year we can reach more than 50,000 kids through the materials we get," says Bies.
Those are the numbers for kids, but what about the others who hear? Parents are keen to listen in on the lessons following soccer times as well. Bies says ministry leaders share the histories of Abraham, Moses, David and other religious figures that transcend Islam and Christian lines. Muslim parents are interested in learning more about faith founders who can be confusing to understand in the Quran.
As the parents listen intently to ministry workers talking about ancient leaders, they eventually receive more than a history lesson. The story of Jesus is told, and they are able to hear the truth of the gospel in the context of that history.
Bies says the results of the simple ministry have been overwhelming. Many kids were baptized last year after learning about Jesus through resources given to them by Biblica. Parents are coming to Christ, too.
The program is vital for outreach across the nation, but to keep it afloat, funding is needed. "We are praying that God can give the heart to the people to make donations, that we can get more and more materials to continue this project."