“Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvellous things.” Psalm 98; 1
What a brilliant year of sport it’s been! The Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio captivated us with some thrilling team and individual performances; Leicester City surprised everyone by winning the Premier League title; and in Formula One Nico Rosberg held off a late surge from Lewis Hamilton to win his first title and then promptly retired. In tennis, Andy Murray capped a fine 2016 winning the Wimbledon and Olympic titles and ending the year as the top ranked player in men’s tennis.
It’s been a terrific year too for Passion for Sport as we seek to introduce sports fans to Jesus through media. The reporting highlight was at the Olympic Games in Rio where we served 1600 radio stations in English and Spanish and spoke to several top athletes about their sport and faith.
Thank you for praying for new outlets for our weekly radio programmes Planet Sport and Planet Sport Football Africa. We’ve seen 25% growth in the number of stations broadcasting the shows this year. Over 70 stations now carry the programmes with new broadcast partners in Cameroon, Ghana and Uganda. We are also attracting a growing audience online and through our apps which added together means that we can now reach more sports fans than ever before with the good news of Jesus.
And this growing audience is engaging with us. Every week up to 100 listeners to Planet Sport Football Africa contact us through social media and WhatsApp, keen to be part of the programme. Please continue to pray that the Holy Spirit will work in these listeners’ lives, drawing them to the Saviour.
This week’s Planet Sport show features the first part of our 2016 Review of the Year. In it Planet Sport reporter Stuart Weir chooses his three highlights of the year. I won’t give too much away but you can listen to the show here. To whet your appetite we hear from United States athlete Kendra Harrison who set a new world record in the women’s 100 metres hurdles, as she talks about her relationship with Jesus and the impact that her faith has on her life.
In the run-up to Christmas I’ve been meditating on the book of Isaiah and the prophecies about the coming Saviour, Jesus. This time I’ve been reading the well-known passages in Eugene Peterson’s accessible translation, The Message. In chapter 54, verses 2-3 we read these words:
“Clear lots of ground for your tents! Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big! Use plenty of rope, drive the tent pegs deep. You’re going to need lots of elbow room for your growing family.”
The Lord has given us growth in 2016. We believe there is more to come. Are these words written two-and-a-half thousand years ago also appropriate for Passion for Sport as we stand on the threshold of a new year?
2016 has been a great year but we believe the best is yet to come. Will you consider making a gift and help us to introduce sports fans to Jesus through media?
Adrian Barnard, CEO