Everyday faith series: Bringing values to life through sport

Published: Monday October 21, 2019

When you live by the values of Jesus, everything else makes sense


Children running with rugby ballsAs part of his faith at work series, Bishop Robert went to visit rugby coach and Reader Chris Andrew as he delivered a values-based training session at Ann Cam Church of England Primary School. Chris uses his love of rugby to help him find new ways to explain values and faith to young people in primary schools.

Chris said, “Sport is a really good way to teach faith. Children are taught RE and they learn in collective worship, but they don’t always fully understand what is meant by the values. Using sport as a medium, you can really teach it in a way that is relevant to them. Sport and faith are so similar in their journeys. They both take a lot of patience and a lot of hard work. A lifelong love of Jesus takes time.

“To follow Jesus, we must first be called by him. Each one of us serves him in their own way and each in their own way come to their understanding of what it means to be called by God, called and known by name. For me, that has resulted in licensed Reader ministry. Before I became a lay minster three years ago, my faith was more hidden and personal and although I felt God guiding me in my life, it is only by being admitted to the office of Reader in this diocese that my spiritual light in the world has burned brighter for all to see.

“Working in a different primary school setting every day I must be authentic and true to my calling. This involves humility, integrity and love, gained through prayer. Prayer is at the heart of my daily life. I pray and lead Collective Worship and pray with each class at the beginning and the end of a lesson. We pray for the values that God gives us in the bible to be lived out in our lives, particularly through sports. One way I find helpful in all of this when travelling in my car is to listen to some Christian spiritual classics on audiobook by authors such as Henry Nouwen, Julian of Norwich and Thomas a Kempis. This feeds me and in turn, I trust through God, I feed others.

“I find that the financial and practical realities of being a company director can only be done through wisdom and direction from God.

We put our total trust in him to make sure everything balances at the end of the day.

My faith is a huge part of who I am and I have a huge love of sport so it’s an immense privilege to be able to bring them together in Project Touchline.

“When you live by the values of Jesus, everything makes sense. I really feel with this project that I’m being led by God and any journey with God is into the unknown. I feel his hand guiding me.”

Bishop Robert said, “‘It was a great pleasure to spend time with Chris and see how he combines his passion for Rugby with his desire to share his faith in Christ in a way that is infectious for the Gospel. I had a fun afternoon with him and the children – albeit wet and muddy!”

Chris runs Project Touchline. In 2019/20 the Project will be working in six dioceses and 25 different church schools.

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