Sportsmen profess faith
Across Pacific Magazine

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5,000 Sportsmen profess faith in Christ

By Daniel Abugah

ACCRA, GHANA (ANS) -- As at 1990 there were over five-thousand (5000) professional sportsmen and women globally who had been listed as committed Christians, with a significant growth rate annually. This was made known by the general secretary of the Bible Society of Ghana, Rev. Kofi Owusu, when he official launched "The Ultimate Goal" (TUG) strategic program, a Bible Society of Ghana initiative of the Christian Involvement in Ghana 2008 tournament at the International Press Centre in Accra.

The general secretary noted that the role and impact of sports on society as one of the few denominators that reach people of all ages cannot be overemphasized. "Sports crosses economic barriers and serves as a bridge to reaching whole communities," he said.

Rev. Owusu said the inspiration of the banner theme "The Ultimate Goal" is derived from Paul the apostle's letter to the Philippians when he wrote to them urging them to forget the past and press on towards the goal to win the prize.(Philippians 3:13b-14). He added that the vision of TUG for CAN 2008 is to provide a platform for the Christian community to serve and share in partnership with other organizations during the three-week event starting from January 20 to February 10, 2008.

"We are seeking by the various programs and events to let the players, officials and fans come to know that the word of God is relevant to their needs. We also want sports-minded people that many well-known sports personalities who are positive role models have had their lives impacted and transformed by God's word", the reverend minister stated.

He mentioned Osei Kofi and Kofi Pares as two among other top sports personalities in Ghana who have their faith grounded in the Lord. Quoting from what Pope John Paul II said on the value of sports to the church, Rev. Owusu said, "sports, because of the wholesome elements it gives value to and exalts, may become more and more vital instruments for the moral and spiritual elevation of the human person and therefore contribute to the construction of an orderly, peaceful, and hardworking society.The church approves and encourages sports seeing in it a form of gymnastics of the body and of the spirit, a training for social relations based on respect for others and for one's own person and an element of social cohesion which also fosters friendly relations."

The general secretary used the occasion to invite all well meaning Christians to join hands in contributing to make the CAN 2008 a transforming experience. "We hope and trust that the tournament will not be seen only for its entertainment value but its spiritual value also. After all the scriptures say "what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?", he maintained.

The Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, Ghana, Most Rev. Dr. Robert Aboagye-Mensah, chaired the function, called on Christians in the country to take advantage of the tournament and share the love of God with the footballers and fans that would be coming from with other parts of the world. He said the 26th continental Cup of Nation offers one of the beautiful opportunities for Christians to display their Ghanaian hospitality while using that as a means to win souls for Christ.

"Some of the people are coming here as strangers and they would be stranded. We have to take the risk and the opportunity to accommodate them so that we can show them the love of God", he mentioned.

While praying that Ghana wins the cup, the Presiding Bishop used the occasion to also caution fans and the Ghanaian public against any verbal attacks on officials of the national team, should the team for some reasons fail to win. He noted that the program would help further strengthen the already existing inter-religious and tribal unity in the country whilst the prayers offered for the visitors by the Christians would be used as point of contacts to reach their countries with the favor of God.

Activities for CAN 2008 as a major outreach program will involve; chaplaincy, distribution of scripture material, sports clinics, kids' games, church services, large screen hosting, creative arts, musical festivals, and TV/radio presentations of Ultimate Goal videos. Some of the agencies and church groups who are partnering in the program are the Christian Council of Ghana, the Ghana Pentecostal Council, National Association of Charismatic Churches, Youth for Christ, Campus for Christ (Athletes in Accra), Ghana Evangelism Committee, Theovision International, Ghana Fellowship of Evangelical Students (GHAFES), Child Evangelism Fellowship, International Christian Ministries, Book of Hope, among others.

A number of international Christian agencies will also be in the country from other parts of the world. These include Sports Outreach from South Africa, Ambassadors in Sports, International Sports Coalition, African Sports Network and Athletes in Action International from USA. Present at the launch were also representatives of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) president and the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.

Daniel Abugah is a senior reporter for the Gospel Advocate, a leading national Christian newspaper in Ghana, West Africa. E-mail:
Cell phone:+ 233(0) 27-768-9597


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