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Edge Games

What makes a boy a man?

Teenage boys love action and adventure, which is often why they are missing in church. Sitting in the pew and listening quietly can be a bit too passive for young men. They gravitate toward competition and sports, preferring to build relationships in the context of activity.

This is one reason why our Edge Sports program has been so effective at reaching teenage boys with the gospel. In most schools in Central and Eastern Europe, the only sports program is an occasional gym class. There are typically no competitive sports, after-school teams, homecoming games, or regional tournaments. The only option to play sports regularly is an expensive club team or a specialized sports high school.

Our Edge ministry equips local churches to step into the gap, starting Edge Sports teams that attract teenagers from unbelieving families. Beginning with just four teams 8 years ago, there are now 101 Edge teams in local churches across the region competing in soccer, floorball, basketball, disc golf, and ultimate frisbee.

Intext 1

Last month, the Josiah Venture Edge staff hosted our first International Edge Games, with 340 participants from nine countries. The young people traveled long distances with their coaches to a sports complex in the Czech Republic, where they competed against each other for the Edge trophy and learned what it means to follow Jesus.

The evening programs centered around the story of the prodigal son, and coaches from Albania, Estonia, Romania, and Czech shared the story of the Father’s love in words that teenagers could understand. Over 70% of the young people there were unbelievers. They heard the good news not just in words but also through mentoring and character training from their believing coaches. Our staff from Hungary brought 11 boys, and five of them went forward with the invitation to put their faith in Christ.

Gabo is from Medigdia, a Romanian town not far from the Black Sea. Since his parents divorced, his home has been far from stable, and he almost couldn’t make the trip to Czech, because his mother headed off to another country with a new boyfriend and didn’t sign his documents. Somehow, they managed to get Gabo across the border without them, and, at Edge Games, Gabo heard about a Father who never leaves, who loves unconditionally, and waits expectantly for his children to return.

Intext 2

Edge team and coach, Gabo put his faith in Jesus at Edge Games. Now he is attending church regularly and preparing to be baptized.

It takes good fathering to make a boy a man, and only one Father can fill the vacuum experienced by so many teenage boys. When that Father’s heart is modeled week after week by coaches who love them, the entire course of a life can be changed.

Thanks for helping us bring the good news to young people who need to find their way home.

President, Josiah Venture

 

 

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