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International sports media agency relaunches with a passion

International sports media agency Passion for Sport (formerly 2KPlus) relaunched in London yesterday, promising particularly to help the UK Church reach out to male sports fans ...

The central London event, hosted by Bishop of Shrewsbury and Passion for Sport trustee Rt Rev Mark Rylands, included video testimonies from cricketer Henry Olonga, ex-Scotland footballer Brian Irvine and ex-Formula 1 driver Alex Ribeiro, who was a mentor to F1 legend Ayrton Senna.

Former Football League referee Bob Hamer (pictured below) was also interviewed at the event by Passion for Sport CEO Adrian Barnard. Bob was a Football League referee for 16 years from 1977 until 1993, refereeing games in all divisions from the Premier League to Division 4.

Since 1993 he has been a referee assessor with the Premier League, the Football League and the Football Association, as well as running his own charity working in some of the poorest countries of the world.

Explaining the new name, Adrian Barnard said: "We share a passion for sport, but more than that we are also passionate about Jesus. We are passionate about introducing sports fans to him and seeing their lives transformed by the power of the gospel.”

For 20 years the ministry has been producing sports programmes with a Christian perspective for radio and online broadcast.

The programmes provide an opportunity for sports people to share their faith, and present a Christian perspective on issues that arise in sport such as cheating, racism and greed.

Historically, Passion for Sport’s ministry has been mainly through radio for sports fans overseas with programmes designed primarily for young and middle-aged men. With this group under-represented in the UK Church, there is now a new ministry focus on the UK.

Mark Rylands is the Bishop of Shrewsbury and a Passion for Sport trustee: “God wants everyone to know about his saving love for them seen supremely in his Son, Jesus Christ. In the past century, the Church in the UK has not been very effective in sharing this good news with some parts of our society: those aged between 15 and 50, particularly men. Many people are passionate about sport. We want them to discover the God who is passionate about them.”

Adrian continues: “From today we will build on this foundation as we develop online resources to help the UK Church reach out particularly to men who love sport to help them discover a passion for Jesus.”

The resources include dedicated sport-specific webpages, podcasts, sports quizzes, 10-pin bowling competitions and other events for churches to organise, along with testimonies from sports people. And with the Rugby World Cup 2015™ in the UK this year, Passion for Sport is partnering with Engage 2015 to encourage churches to seize the opportunity for outreach.

Passion for Sport produces two weekly programmes as well as reports from major sporting events including the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup. Through these programmes, sports fans hear about faith in Jesus directly from their sporting heroes.

Former Scotland international Brian Irvine scored the winning penalty to win the 1990 Scottish Cup for Aberdeen:

“I’m passionate about football,” he says. “But it doesn’t compare to the passion I have for Jesus which drives me every single day of my life, helps me through the ups and downs, the good times and the bad times. That’s real passion.”

Find out more at www.passionforsport.com and www.planetsport.tv
Passion for Sport are also on Facebook and Twitter

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