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In For Christ's Team

Published on April 20, 2016

by Sarah Rennicke

Since Amit* was 17, he has been influencing players as a basketball coach to join Christ’s team.

Playing on a national team, Amit looked up one game at the 2,000 people sitting in the stands and was amazed at the turnout. He prayed to the Lord, ‘Please remember me. If You answer my prayer, I will take up this basketball for this country and play for Your kingdom.’” Since then, he’s dedicated his life to sports ministry, connecting with FCA in 2008 and continuing in basketball, track and field, and even marathon running to connect and influence coaches and athletes in faith.

He has strategic vision for ministry in India’s southern region and beyond, to train and equip leaders.

In a country where Christianity is a minority religion, establishing friendship and trust are foundational as a coach and ministry leader.

They go to the grounds on Fridays for community weekly basketball games. In a culture where neighbors don’t go out of their way to talk with one another due to societal classes drawing deep defining lines, it’s community games, Amit believes, where most natural connections are able to converge.

“It’s a unity, it’s a friendship that they don’t usually have,” he said. “You come to the grounds to connect with friends in the community that may otherwise be isolated from each other.”  He begins to build rapport while playing ball, because once the game is over and people walk away, they’re no longer open to listening.

Their duty and mission is to bring people into the church, but it’s difficult connecting with the local church, which views sport and faith as two separate entities. Amit wants partnership, and works to show pastors how their congregation can help make an impact. “I say through sports ministry and community games, we can reach out to 350 people,” he said. “The pastor asks how, and we explain that if they have 100 members, tell them to bring two or three friends to the community games. When they come to the events, they see Christians serve the Lord.”

The sports ministry road is riddled with rough patches, but Amit doesn’t bat an eyelash.

“I don’t take it as a difficulty—it’s a call of God. I see it as a challenge to move in our land for the Kingdom. I take it as a responsibility for the gospel’s sake.”

*name change

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