Stories

A serious responsibility and a great privilege

Date posted: 17/04/18

Jack Shepherd 

Welcome to part seven of the Internship blog as Jack Shepherd tells how he has been learning to share the best news in the world. Jack is a member of Buckingham Golf Club and based in Brackley where he is part of Life Church.

The Internship has been fantastic so far. From the trip to Moldova to the Bath and Edinburgh mission weeks, there have been so many standout moments. Yet, perhaps my personal highlight has been the opportunity to share the good news of Jesus with sportspeople up and down the country at various different events.

Often in the form of a quiz or a dodgeball tournament, and typically accompanied by a 10-minute talk, such events provide a fun and informal setting for sportspeople to hear a little bit about the Christian faith. Indeed, that is what Christians in Sport are all about - reaching the world of sport for Christ.

Heading into the year, the prospect of organising, running and speaking at these events excited me. As a student, I had witnessed first-hand the importance and power of them with several of my golf teammates coming to both the Sports Quiz and a dodgeball tournament during my final year at Warwick University.

Hosting and speaking at these events has, therefore, been both a pleasure and a privilege. And I am so grateful for the training I have received over the course of the Internship. It has played a crucial role in equipping me for the task of explaining the gospel to sports playing students.

Jack Shepherd

 

Jack (right) and fellow Intern Jos Edwards making the most of the snow at our head office

This training has come in various forms. Firstly, and very practically, was the “tech training”. It sounds trivial, but without all the required technology being set up properly then events, in particular the Sports Quiz, simply could not happen.

Although personally I had a fairly strong grasp of how to set up tech equipment (this could not be said for all the interns!), this training was a handy reminder and has ensured that the technology aids, rather than hinders, the gospel being proclaimed.

After the tech training came the opportunity to host a quiz, as well as run a dodgeball tournament, alongside a more experienced member of the Christians in Sport staff. These events, where I played second-fiddle to an old hand, allowed me to get a feel for being upfront and experience hosting without the pressure of delivering the main talk myself.

However, the most essential training has been focussed on writing a gospel talk. Whilst public speaking has never daunted me, the same could not be said for actually constructing a Bible talk.

Crucial in developing the skills required has been the training I receive from the ministry course in Oxford, which I attend weekly. Here we have looked in depth at how to produce a talk that is faithful to the Bible passage in question, clear in its gospel content, and packaged in a relevant and relatable way.

Jack Shepherd


 

Jack giving a gospel talk at a dodgeball tournament

Not only was this training of use, but I also received helpful input from Christians in Sport, both on content and delivery. On content, I was encouraged to draft and redraft several times, receiving feedback on each occasion, as I sought to make my talk as clear and engaging as possible.

Meanwhile, in order to tighten up my delivery I was filmed giving my talk before then having to watch it back. This wasn’t the most comfortable experience, but it highlighted two particular aspects of my delivery that needed working on. The first was that I “ummed” very loudly and the second was my tendency to lasso my arms when I got excited about a point. Both were small details, but were habits that were good to iron out.

With all this input behind me, I was able to approach my first talk, at a dodgeball tournament in Sheffield, with real confidence. Yet, all of this training was undergirded by an important Biblical principle that, as Interns, we had reflected on right at the start of our year. The principle was simple, but crucial: It is the Lord’s work, not ours.

Looking at 2 Corinthians 4 we were reminded that we are simply jars of clay and that it is God who saves, not ourselves. Our job is to “set forth the truth plainly” by “preaching Jesus Christ as Lord” and then trust that God will use that for His purposes and glory.

Having this right perspective going into events where I’m speaking has been vital this year. And it has been a constant battle to remember that it is God’s work not mine, and that proclaiming the gospel is a serious responsibility but also a great privilege as I partner with the King of the universe in His saving work.

It has been a great year so far and I cannot wait for the final few months ahead. My prayer is that the Lord will use all the training I have received and the opportunities I have to share the gospel for the furtherment of His kingdom in the world of sport.

To read the rest of the Internship blog series, click here 


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