CAGERS HELP SAMAR CHURCHES – November 1990
Sports Ambassadors’ basketball team, under the direction of Dan DeVries, assisted the evangelical churches of Eastern Samar by signing up 5,551 new bible study participants during the forty games played in that province last June and July.
The team was composed of nine Americans and three Filipino players and won all forty games, played within 26 days, by wide margins. They also distributed 12,450 Gospel brochures to a combined attendance of more than 28,000 people.
The games were sponsored by the Ministerial Fellowship of Eastern Samar, and coordinated by Fellowship president, Rev. Salvador Patitico.
The games were part of an effort by the Ministerial Fellowship to plant a church in every baranguay of Eastern Samar by the year 2000.
Living in an area usually considered resistant to evangelical Christianity, 3,927 of the 5,551 new Bible study participants demonstrated their eagerness by completing the first lesson before the team left their town.
Sports Ambassadors is a ministry of Philippine Crusades.
Also know as Venture for Victory, SA has as its purpose the assistance of local church planting through sports evangelism.
Pastors or local churches that wish to plant daughter churches but who are finding it difficult to make new evangelistic contacts may utilize a Sports Ambassadors team to help “break the ice.”
The SA team can draw crowds to their games.
At half-time, a team member will share his personal experience with Jesus Christ, another will explain the basic Gospel message, and a third will invite the game viewers to sign up for home Bible studies.
The brochures are then distributed. Those who are willing to put their names and addresses on the coupon which can be found in the brochure will receive a Bible study course from one of the players after the game.
The coupons are tallied and given to the sponsoring pastors for follow-up.
Christian workers have found Sports Ambassadors basketball games an effective means for breaking into a new community where contacts are limited.
After the team is gone, the Christian worker can approach those who have signed up for the home Bible study, introduce themselves, and invite the new contact to a Bible study being conducted in the neighborhood
For the Ministerial Fellowship of Eastern Samar, the SA games were only a part of a comprehensive plan to evangelize the province.
In March of 1989, Chris Balaga, of Mindanao Challenge, completed the research survey of the province
Forty-three local churches were identified and their locations mapped.
This information was shared with the pastors during a Church Growth seminar held in Borongan.
At that time, the pastors set growth goals for their churches and for the planting of daughter churches. Pastors were equipped to train members of their churches to do outreach Bible studies.
When the work force was ready, Sports Ambassadors helped to generate the new Bible study contacts.
Depending on how fast new churches are established in the unreached barrangays, Mindanao Challenge is prepared to assist the pastors in developing plans for training new church leaders and sending missionaries to other needy parts of the Philippines and abroad. The Pinoy members of the team included Boyet Palahang, Bernie Tenecio, both of Matina (Davao City) Baptist Church, and Gener Casumpa, of the Toril (Davao City) Foursquare Gospel Church.
Palahang was selected as the Most Valuable Center of the 1990 Palarong Pambansa High School Tournament.
The SA team was coached by Mindanao Challenge’s Missions Coordinator, Eric Smith.
While Dan DeVries’ team was performing in Eastern Samar, a sister team, under the direction of Faith Academy coach Tine Hardeman was playing in the western half of the same island.
Two other teams toured Luzon.
Four new teams have been invited for June through August of 1991. If SA could be useful to your church planting ministry, contact Ben Yngayo at the Mindanao Challenge office.