By Danjuma Auta
ECWA President, Rev.(Dr) Stephen Baba Panya, has said that the church has identified sports as a tool for soul-winning and effective mission work among the youths in the society and will do everything possible to improve on the football and volleyball tournaments.
The cleric made this known while addressing participating teams during the closing ceremony of the ECWA President’s football/volleyball competitions held at the Jos Township Stadium.
He called on ECWA youth to support the leadership as, according to him, the church had been doing everything possible to support them and would continue to identify with them in all areas that would bring glory to God and the advancement of the Great Commission.
He said, “I am a strong lover of sports and do understand what sports ministry in the church can do therefore, I will ensure that the ECWA General Church Council do everything possible to improve on the present ECWA President tournament so that talents are fetch out to form a formidable team that would compete favorably with other teams in Nigeria and beyond.
He disclosed that because ECWA was into holistic ministry, she was focused on ensuring that the youth ministry is encouraged so that the youth do not leave for places where their faiths are not encouraged.
He explained that the tournament was established to bring ECWA youth, particularly those who love football and the volleyball together so that they can pick a career from it and grow in the knowledge of Christ.
Coordinator of the tournament, Rev. Samuel Akeju, thanked ECWA for believing in the drivers of the competition all through the years.
He added that the competition, which started many years back as a mere volley ball training for ECWA staff at the headquarters for their physical fitness, has now grown into volleyball/football competition while much was being done to accommodate other sporting activities as the resources permit.
He disclosed that the tournament was introduced to further advance the work of the kingdom and said over 25 participants in this year’s tournament had given their lives to Christ with many others re-dedicating their lives.
According to him, the organizers of the competition had enjoyed remarkable support from the ECWA leadership and appreciated those individuals who were keying into it.
Rev. Akeju disclosed that the organizers were exploring ways of accommodating women and children in subsequent competitions.
He called on ECWA DCCs to embrace the competitions and encourage the youth in their districts to participate in the preliminaries that produce winners to represent them at the final stages.
Rev. Akeju, explained that some zones could not be represented in the final stages due to lack of funds.
He called on DCC leaders to understand the potentials of the youth for whom competition could be an avenue to keep them for Christ.
Rev. Akeju disclosed that about 8 teams had qualified for the final rounds of both competitions with Garki and Tangale DCCs emerging as the first and second in the football tournament, while Jos and Gombe emerged first and second in the volleyball competition.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of awards of cash and trophies to winners and players who distinguished themselves during the tournament.