Simon Mwanamoya has a hearty smile that stretches beyond the soccer pitch to the people embedded in the communities of Zambia. He began sports ministry in 2009 when he was a pastor, passing out literature at soccer matches.
Now, he steps further into his calling to equip and build into the next generation, daring to see four full generations impacted for Jesus Christ.
This development of young leaders begins in the athletic realm with a person of great influence—the coach. They are poised to create the deepest investment as they spend countless of hours with athletes.
When Jeff Juni, FCA U.S. Vice President of Field Ministry in the Northland Region, visited in partnership to connect the countries, Simon recognized a need for mentoring coaches and to take training a step further. They quickly went to work organizing 3Dimensional Coaching Workshops with the International 3D Coaching Coordinator Mark Hull. The first workshops were held in 2016—one in Kabwe with community coaches, teachers and others influencers, and then another one-day training in Lusaka for high-profile coaches that was organized by a ministry partner and coach.
Since then, they continue to look for ways to equip and empower coaches, come alongside and help them understand their pivotal role in impacting the next generation of leaders.
Deeper still, Simon desires spiritual influence. “I want to see the coach trust in Jesus every day, discovering the Word of God, praying and have a heart for the community.”
The difference is indwelt in every action, Simon believes. “When I pick up a ball I can go to the locals and talk to them. The way I’m shooting the ball, I’m impacting them. The way I’m receiving the ball, the way I head the ball, I’m impacting them for Him. And that should be my mindset.”
It’s not just athletes who benefit from this change of heart. Those athletes have family and many relationships within their communities. From their network, opportunity to touch thousands of lives abound.
“I’ve seen God working in my own life,” said Simon. “My prayer has been openness. I have always wanted to lead an open life, inside and outside. And God has been saying, ‘Simon, this is the journey that you need to go. The path, I will show power in you. This is the journey that you want to take.’”
Simon travels on God’s path for him, boldly claiming every sports field for stories of changed lives, leaders young and old catching fire for God and igniting under the fullness of spreading impact beyond city limits.
This ripple effect correlates to natural multiplication of 3Dimensional Coaching, which Simon prays to replicate beyond Zambia. He cannot reach all the players by himself, with an average of 50 athletes per field on over 100 local fields, but equip and send over 100 coaches and that multiplies to thousands of players reached with the gospel of Christ.
Audacious and ambitious, this spurs a grander vision to spread God’s love through the African nations. God has given Simon a 12-month plan to get sports ministry into eight African countries, four countries in the first half of the year, followed by four more from July to December.
How can this be done? By bringing in leaders from these countries for training to replicate coaching ministry and send them back to get the gospel to their sports fields. A large charge, for sure, but Simon is confident that He who began this good work will carry it to completion.
“This vision is big, and I need to trust the Lord if I’m not going to become overwhelmed,” he said. “Without the Lord, how can I accomplish this?”
Fortunately, he is surrounded by people who encourage and understand the vision, a community of friends, family, prayer warriors and coaches who have caught the enthusiasm for influencing the upcoming generation. He prays for continued relationship with the Lord to fill and direct him, for His guidance and discernment, and for continued partnerships through FCA and other sport ministries to go out as the body of Christ.
“The church can be anywhere,” reminds Simon with a smile. “It can be on a soccer field—it is where people are discovering God.”
And Africa is only the beginning. Simon noticed a shift in the world of sports ministry, a movement of leaders and partnerships working together for greater light and impact for the gospel.
He’s also noticed how international leaders and countries are really fusing together as one great partnership. “Leaders are recognizing this is happening globally and not just their countries,” he said. “We are part of something bigger, part of God’s plan.”
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