Exploring Sports Ministry in the UK: National Trends and Local Expressions

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Authors
Parker, Andrew
French, Rob
Marturano, Naomi
Issue Date
2021
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Journal Article
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Abstract
In recent years, sport has grown exponentially as a major economic force in the UK, and historically speaking has flourished in both faith-based and secular environments. Building on the "muscular Christian" pedigree of British Victorian society, the sport-faith interface has gained increasing momentum over the past three decades. Yet, despite these developments, to date, there has been relatively little empirical research carried out on the nature and effectiveness of sports ministry (including sports chaplaincy) organizations in the UK and the challenges which they face. Even less attention has been paid to the role of sports ministry within the Church of England. This small-scale study examines the factors affecting the growth of sports ministry within the context of one Church of England diocese. Utilizing evidence from focus group discussions with key stakeholders, findings demonstrate that external perceptions, resource implications, and communication strategies all impacted the advancement of sports ministry provision across the geographical region concerned. Research participants believed that the sport-faith relationship had the potential to enhance the attractiveness of church but that long-standing assumptions concerning the "spiritual value" of the sporting endeavor still held sway. The article concludes by suggesting that whilst sports ministry provision is heavily dependent both on organizational and individual resourcing, such activity has the potential to facilitate the emergence of new worshipping communities.|Keywords: Sport, Christianity, sports ministry, qualitative research, Church of England
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Rabbi Myer and Dorothy Kripke Center, Creighton University
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The journal is open-access and freely allows users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of all published material for personal or academic purposes.
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1522-5658
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