When former Brisbane Broncos chaplain and Salvation Army Officer Bill Hunter found a post-it note in his Bible with two words “history maker”, he never imagined the impact it would have.
Those words inspired him to start God’s Sports Arena (GSA), a church with a difference. Bill explains,
“I was really searching God’s will at the time, and I knew he wanted me to do something big in sports ministry – so he challenged me to be a history maker for him and that led to starting GSA.”
For over 11 years, God’s Sports Arena (GSA) has grown as a counter-cultural mission of The Salvation Army. It uses the vehicle of sport to share the love of Jesus to people with little or no knowledge of God. GSA has a “whistle for kick-off” to start the service, a half-time break.
They also have a coach’s encouragement segment every service and conclude with a sports prayer bar. It is a great example of the way sport is a universal language that can be used to connect people and build them up. Bill’s sporting background has given him a great insight into the way sport can be used to share Jesus to all.
Bill and the other GSA speakers are open and honest, fitting with their moto of “no judgement”. Their aim in his honest appraisal of life is to point to the certain Hope found in Jesus and lift people up through Him.
The whole GSA concept is focused not only on people with no church background but on caring for some of our society’s most vulnerable.
“We have a lot of broken people, people coming out of addiction, some have prostituted themselves and some are out of jail. We don’t care what people have done in the past, we want to spend time in their future. It doesn’t matter what rock bottom you hit – there’s hope for everybody,”
“Our mantra is to ‘Love, encourage and don’t judge’. We see people come to faith all the time because we love them.”
This approach has seen some amazing transformations in people’s lives as they battle through their struggles with the help of the Salvos team (picture, Bill Hunter on the right). They are true history makers.
GSA is a church service with a difference and uses the universal language of sport to share the central message of Jesus. If you want to go to “match-day” at GSA, all are welcome at 4pm at 167 Ann Street, Brisbane.
More details at https://www.facebook.com/gsasalvos/
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover1.html