Stories

Why should you stay involved in the world of sport?

Date posted: 27/03/18

Lois Newcombe

 

For rugby coach Lois Newcombe the answer is very clear: “It’s a joy and there are so many gospel opportunities.”

Moving from university to the world of work is often when people drop out of sport. Suddenly there is so much more pressure on your time and you may need to travel far further to be part of a club. The immediacy and camaraderie of the student sporting bubble can quickly become a distant memory. University of Surrey Women’s Rugby Club coach Lois Newcombe felt those pressures when she graduated in 2011, but was determined not to give up on her passion for the sport. And that was where Christians in Sport came in.

Wales Staff Worker Heather Lewis explained: “Lois was a leader at Brecon Sports Plus, where we encouraged her to stay involved in sport. From there, we had a follow-up process and I stayed in contact with her and went to visit her in Guildford. We bonded over a love of rugby and talked about how she could have an impact in witnessing to people like Lucy at her club. We prayed about it and held each other accountable.”

Having got stuck in at her rugby club, Lois had the joy of seeing Lucy Cook, one of the players she coaches, become a Christian.

Lois NewcombeLois said: “I can definitely sympathise with people who struggle to stay in the world of sport. It’s such a high commitment, but there’s also the joy that staying involved brings. Sport is a wonderful thing. I absolutely love playing team sport, being involved, coaching, watching sport, being part of sport, hanging out with my friends who love rugby as well. I find that sport is my best opportunity to talk to my friends about Jesus.

Lucy was one of those friends Lois was able to talk about Jesus with. She agreed to go to church with Lois, having previously been to another friend’s church a few times.

“The people there were so welcoming. From the moment I walked through the doors, there was somebody to talk to. I got given a book that said a lot of things about how it was to live as a Christian. I read that and was completely amazed by it and a bit mindblown.

“I texted Lois and said ‘What should I do?’. She directed me towards the gospels and that was when I started reading them. I just couldn’t put the Bible down. I was trying to read as many books as I could and was still going to church regularly. I heard a sermon about Pentecost and the summary was ‘they couldn’t stay away’.”


Back Pages magazine spring 2018

This article appears in the Spring 2018 issue of Back Pages. To read the rest of the magazine, click here. 


This account in Acts 2 of how the early church grew rapidly struck a real chord with Lucy, who gave her life to Jesus.

“At that point, I identified with the 3,000 people who believed in Jesus when they heard Peter’s message and I couldn’t stay away. I knew what I needed to do.”

Lucy’s story has been a massive encouragement to Lois, who has seen the impact living out her faith at the club can have.

“The way in which I act is very much a part of sharing my faith, showing myself to be distinctive, to be living with integrity as a Christian. There are aspects of not conforming to what they expect a women’s rugby player to be like. There are great opportunities to invite people to events that my church might be running, but there are also times when you can just talk. Up in the bar, after the game, there’s a wonderful opportunity just to chat together about life.”

Lois Newcombe

 

The story continued with Heather and Lois bringing Lucy to Sports Plus and they are now encouraging her to stay involved in the world of sport when she graduates. Whether it’s moving from school to university, or graduating into world of work, we have programmes to help Christian sportspeople stay witnessing for Jesus. The first step will be linking them up with a Regional Staff Worker, if there’s one nearby, or a local Christians in Sport ‘multiplier’ (advocate).

It is a real privilege to hear of stories like Lois and Lucy’s as we go about this work. There are ‘Lucys’ coming to faith thanks to the witness of Christians like Lois at clubs up and down the country. Staying involved in the world of sport can mean sacrifices, but also great joy, so in Lois’ words, let’s encourage each other to stick at it!

For more information on staying involved in the world of sport, visit christiansinsport.org.uk/unitowork