Upward Sports, a Christian youth sports organization, is looking beyond the challenges caused by COVID-19 and is eager to share its fresh vision for 2021.
The organization assists church leaders to utilize sports as a way to connect with families in their community and raise awareness of Jesus Christ.
Kevin Drake, executive director for the ministry, told CBN News that churches are reconnecting with Upward and people are exploring new opportunities.
"I'm excited. What we're seeing is a shift," he said. "We're seeing churches really begin to re-engage. We need to do what we can to reach people with the Gospel. Children who have been unable to play in competitive sports have realized more of an opportunity to get out and do this."
— Upward Sports (@upwardsports) October 10, 2020
He emphasized that their church partners are taking the proper precautions to keep the kids safe during the pandemic.
"Based on the area, it (precautions) varies across the country and some states have tighter restrictions," Drake noted. "We know that God is still in control and we are thankful. Our church partners are taking appropriate steps in line with the CDC guidelines."
As COVID-19 continues to disrupt our normal routine,
we’ve modified our sports programming to reflect best
practices in infection prevention. To learn more about the ins and outs of sports ministry programming during a
pandemic, visit https://t.co/eZatGmmyYk. pic.twitter.com/rO3W6p4o5L
— Upward Sports (@upwardsports) September 14, 2020
And Drake highlighted that Upward has seen a "21 percent increase" in the league creation during October of this year, compared to last October. "It's a great time for you to explore ways to get people to your campus and church."
He pointed out that the coronavirus may occasionally cause a delay in sports participation, but that shouldn't distract churches or players from the main purpose...to draw people closer to our Lord and Savior.
"From time to time, a league may need to pause due to COVID, however that's not preventing churches from re-engaging," he said.
"We're launching a new branding in 2021," Drake added. "We're upgrading all league software and adding a whole new portfolio of options for churches to choose from for merchandise. We're encouraging competition and launching volleyball in January."
Additionally, the organization is seeing brand new churches become involved with Christian youth sports. Despite the difficulties and setbacks that Upward has faced this year, the ministry remains focused on their primary goal - promoting spiritual and physical health.
"Our mission is to bring people to Christ. As an organization, we are also excited to move past COVID. For 25 years, we've seen tens of thousands of kids come to Christ. Upward now offers all the flexibility any church needs to engage people with Christ," Drake concluded.
Upward Sports is based out of Spartanburg, SC, and was started in 1995 by Caz McCaslin. The ministry offers sports leagues and camps for children across the US. To find out more, click here.
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