Time to get 'Sportily'!

The network of sport and faith groups, Sportily, is part of the diocesan LIFE vision in Gloucester Diocese. It has been commissioned by the Bishop with a vision for transforming the Church’s engagement with children, young people and their families through excellent local sport and spiritual well-being provision.

Across the Diocese, Sportily is creating a network of fun-loving sport and activity groups where everyone can try different sports, make new friends and explore what life is all about. Sportily was born out of the Diocese’s life vision priorities work and 15 years of sports ministry in the Diocese led by PSALMS.

“Fluff it. Duff it. Score it. Smash it. Whatever you do, just give it a go”. That’s Sportily’s motto for sport and for life. Sport and Faith Leaders in Sportily locations are working alongside existing worshipping communities leading sports clubs, residential camps, coaching a variety of sport groups and providing high quality PE lessons, through partnerships with primary and secondary schools. In all of these contexts young people have the opportunity to explore Christian faith and encounter God’s love for them.

Sportily is committed to providing the best quality sports coaching and education, with fun and joy being at the heart of all the sessions. What matters is that everyone can have a laugh while joining in.  

But Sportily isn’t just about the provision of sports sessions, the intention is that this engagement will lead to the intentional formation of new worshipping communities, using the 7 spaces work pioneered by George Lings of the Church Army. As relationships develop and children and young people make the decision to become followers of Jesus Christ, they will help to form and shape new forms of church. The long-term vision is also that Sportily will take on permanent health and fitness buildings, which can also become the homes to new Church communities.

The Diocese is investing in Sportily for three reasons:

  1. 95% of people in our communities nationwide are currently unconnected with Church. The Church needs to take some radical steps to be outward-facing and be where the people are.
  2. Sport is the highest voluntary group participation activity that children and young people do.  Over 55% of children and young people attend out of school sports provision compared to 1% who go to Church.
  3. Sport is a widely acknowledged social need and local sports provision for young people is fast diminishing. The Diocese wants to meet this social need and support young people in their local communities.

To enable the future growth of the network, Sportily is investing heavily in a leadership development programme which begins at key stage 2, right up to employed traineeships. Alongside this a robust programme of monitoring, evaluation and learning is being deployed so that lessons learnt can be captured and shared widely.

Sportily believes that being more active, like the Christian faith, can change lives for the good. From its first year annual survey, Sportily found that 81% of respondents said that Sportily helped them to enjoy exercise and sports more, 70% felt that Sportily helped them enjoy life more and over a third wanted to learn more about God.

In each location Sportily is working, they are therefore seeking to get everyone moving and talking and to show that things are a lot more fun when we’re kicking, diving, riding, rolling, running and jumping around together.