Who are SIM and Sports Friends, anyway? And how do they go together?
These are two great questions that I get a lot. I think it’s important to first understand each organization separately in order to better grasp how they relate.
Our purpose is to glorify God by planting, strengthening, and partnering with churches around the world.
SIM is an international mission organization that was founded over 100 years ago. There are currently more than 1,600 active SIM missionaries serving in more than 60 countries around the world. Most of the countries SIM members serve in are in Africa, Asia, and South America.
Many SIM workers are international themselves, representing more than 30 nationalities. As missionaries they serve in a wide variety of career fields – medicine, education, business, and more.
SIM has several offices around the world. Offices are located in numerous European, Asian, African, and Latin American countries as well as in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. The SIM USA office is here in Charlotte, which is how I got connected with the organization.
SIM is not directly associated with any specific church or denomination.
Vision: To see a global movement of local church-centered sports ministries transforming lives and strengthening communities with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Mission: To equip churches in Africa, Asia, and South America to make disciples of youth, their families, and their communities through strategic sports ministry.
Sports Friends was founded in 2002. The organization believes that sports serve as a magnet—a universal language that can bridge the gap between the church and the community. All over the world, children, youth, and young adults are playing sports in the city streets and in rural fields, filling sports stadiums, and hanging out around ping pong and foosball tables. They are passionate about sports!
Sports serve as a powerful and effective tool for building relationships and sharing the hope and love of God with youth. In a world where young people face many struggles and issues — religious and cultural identity, drugs, alcohol, sexuality, gangs, poverty, broken homes, unemployment, etc. — sports can offer a positive and safe outlet. Sports also provide a natural environment for discussions around character issues and life lessons such as self-control, teamwork, honesty, respect for authority, and commitment. These discussions often present opportunities to transition to the truths of the Bible. The impact of a sports minister who demonstrates God’s love can be tremendous—transforming the lives of youth, their families, and their communities.
Sports Friends trains, equips, and supports sports ministers from local churches around Africa, Asia, and, most recently, in Peru. Their International Support Services team works in the SIM International office in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Fort Mill is right outside of Charlotte. This is the office I will be working in.
How do SIM and Sports Friends relate?
Sports Friends is one of the many ministries of SIM. So in a way, SIM is like a parent organization to Sports Friends. All of my training is done through SIM and my fundraising account will be through SIM. Technically I will be considered as an SIM missionary, but instead of serving somewhere overseas, I am serving with SIM locally as a member of the Sports Friends International Support Services team.
Most of the information above was taken directly from the SIM and Sports Friends websites. However, if you’re interested in exploring either of these organizations further, here are the websites you can visit: