Selhurst scores goals
Selhurst Evangelical Church not only won ‘Church in the Corner’ this year, an inter-church football tournament, but has also been seeking to win souls for Christ through football.
In July, a team from the church, led by assistant pastor Robert Pickering, held its fifth Football Academy in South Norwood, London.
On the Monday, the team met for prayer and setting up the equipment, and from Tuesday to Friday, the Football Academy kicked off with leaders’ prayer, before heading into a warm-up game.
Each session sought to teach a ball skill. A simple gospel talk was held mid-way through the event, building on the lessons that were learned on the pitch. Another session of games closed with a question time and personal testimony from the coach. Each day closed with prayer.
At the end of the week, the children and their families were invited to a special ‘presentation service’ at Selhurst, where there was a gospel message, presentation of Academy certificates, and a family lunch.
There were nearly 50 parents and children at the church on Sunday, and Rob Pickering preached from Romans 3:23 and 5:8 on ‘Why is the gospel good news?’ Some of the parents took evangelical literature and a couple expressed interest in the Christianity Explored course.
Each year, the Academy gets 30-50 children each day, through links with a local primary school that offers free use of the school ground.
Rob, who is a qualified football coach, led the team, together with older young people from Selhurst’s youth group (The Vine) and a London City Mission worker from the West Croydon Christian Centre. He said: ‘It was a very encouraging youth event and we are thankful to God for the way He blesses and uses this activity.
‘It is Christ-centred as we share the gospel, and we make that clear to the parents before the kids sign up. The football skills learned are great visual aids for gospel truths, such as turn, change direction, pass, substitute and winning team’.