Sports Plus: The highlight of the summer

Date posted: 21/06/17

Sports Plus: The highlight of the summer


There really is nowhere better to see God’s incredible grace in action than at Sports Plus every summer. From the young people, to the leaders, from the spontaneous singing in the dining hall, to the new friendships formed, from the coaching expertise to the break-time banter, it’s a place where the gospel is at the heart of everything. Sports Plus is a week where sport is rooted in the gospel, where young people discover Christ’s love and where they develop their sporting talent. Who can forget their week at Sports Plus? It is so often the highlight of the summer.

The Sports Plus story began in 1994 under the name Adventure Plus, but the vision was born there: to disciple young sportspeople. Since then, hundreds of parents and guardians will be able to echo these words of Dave ‘Willo’ Willis, our first official Sports Plus Director.

Sports Plus: The highlight of the summer “From a personal point of view, my eldest son was saved at Sports Plus, so that’s got to be a huge highlight. My youngest son would say that Sports Plus really helped him to see the whole picture of his faith. The amazing bonds of friendship have also really stood out.”

Although the 2017 camps, which begin in Perth on 9th July will look a bit different from the first official Sports Plus one at Cokethorpe School in 1995, the vision remains the same.

“We had around 30 young people at the first camp in 1995,” said Dave. “There was no such thing as just doing one role, coach or a leader, you were supportive in all the roles - even the sandwich making and table preparations as it was all self-catering! It was very small beginnings and it’s amazing to look at what God has done. It’s a real joy for me.

“It was really well-received at the time and proved to be a brilliant framework for what we have now. It’s been great for me to see behind the scenes how the work, the level of quality and expertise has developed over the years. I look at what we have by God’s grace and am blown away by His goodness.”

By 2005, there were camps in all four home countries and we expanded into Jersey in 2015. More than 650 young people will attend camps this summer. It has also been a real privilege to see the Sports Plus vision extend beyond the UK, with similar camps starting up across Europe and beyond.

Dave said: “God can do far more than we ask or imagine. When I see other people coming to the camps, looking at the model of Sports Plus and putting it on in their own countries, I’m just amazed at what God is doing.”

Sports Plus: The highlight of the summer


Ian ‘Lancs’ Lancaster has been the Sports Plus Director since 2005. In his time, there have been two main, gradual changes - increasing the standard of sport and sharpening the Bible teaching programme.

Ian explained: “We’ve made sure that Sports Plus targets the young person who loves sport and plays and trains regularly in a school or local club team. That’s why it’s serious sports action for the serious sports young person! We’ve also moved towards making sure that the gospel accounts are at the centre of our Bible teaching sessions. This is the most accessible place for young people to see Jesus - who He is and what He has done!”

Now a Sports Plus veteran, Ian has many highlights, but a couple stand out for him.

“Leading a team at Armagh a few years ago, I remember helping a boy grapple with the truths of the Bible and watching the way the Spirit opened his eyes to the point where he recognised he needed to be saved and prayed a simple prayer to accept Jesus.

“I also love the circle we form after the final Team Challenge on Friday, singing and praying together. The parents and guardians who see it really get a flavour of Sports Plus.”

Sports Plus: The highlight of the summer


Being part of Sports Plus over the years has been a real joy to so many of us. Dave sums it up like this: “Seeing young people come to faith and grow in their faith and then coming through into leadership is amazing too. I say ‘God, You’re so kind to me because You’ve allowed me to be part of such a brilliant thing’.


Here are just a few of the comments we’ve received from young people on social media:

What an amazing few days at Sports Plus! So thankful to everyone for being a part of it! God is good! #whodoyousayiam #sportsplus2015 #CIS

Never fails to be the best week of summer with incred people #SportsPlus2016 #RealLife #AO1#LightItUp

One of the best weeks of my life. What a way to end sports plus with a bang, no more campers for me so trainee next year it is! Cannot wait! God works in so many amazing ways, defo seen it this week! #cis #sportsplus2014

After six years I finally won team of the day! Sports Plus gets better every year, such a great week #sportsplus2013 @CIS_UK


Sports Plus: The highlight of the summerThanks to your generosity, the Sports Plus Bursary Fund has enabled 1,200 young people to attend the camps. Now in its seventh year, the fund has had a real impact across the UK, with more than 150 young people benefiting in 2017 alone. Bursaries support young people who are financially restricted and would otherwise have been unable to attend Sports Plus. This year’s residential camps cost £295, which the Bursary Fund reduces to £160. Donations come in from both individuals and trust funds. There is no amount that cannot be used to help young people enjoy great sports coaching and hear the good news.

Sports Plus Director Ian Lancaster (pictured) said: “We never want finance to be a barrier to any young person who wants to access Sports Plus. Therefore, we are very grateful to God for His provision through the faithful and generous giving to the Bursary Fund - thank you! We really value this gospel partnership and are excited to see how God will use it for His glory.”

For more info on the Bursary Fund, email or phone 01869 255630.


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