Growing in Word and Spirit

Jul 13, 2022 | Sports Friends Africa, Sports Friends Malawi

Every parent feels excited when they see their children growing strong and healthy. There are many stages of growth throughout life, and each one is an important milestone that parents look forward to seeing.  Sometimes, however, growth is difficult because a child may encounter disease or malnutrition, which can delay the normal growth process. The parent then becomes concerned about their child’s wellness and may worry they will not continue to grow properly. Just as good parents want to see their children growing well with unhindered health, God wants to see His children grow spiritually.

Ministry in Malawi has been growing fast, even in areas dominated by a resistant religion. We have seen many turn to begin following Christ even in very dark places. When our region was hit by the COVID pandemic, and then more recently bad flooding, we had become concerned about how we could maintain momentum in these places. We did not want new believers to be stunted in their spiritual growth. We began to cry out to God and cast our cares on Him, asking Him to show us what to do. 

He gave us the idea to return to older ministry styles of gathering in small groups of 5-10 people to study the Bible together in local churches. The government would allow groups of this size to gather, and this strategy allowed new believers who had previously met Christ through sports ministry to continue to grow in Him even when we could not gather our teams together.

As these believers have met to read God’s word together, they have also grown to hunger for intimate individual relationships with God. In the eastern region especially, they are seeking His face as much as they can. They agreed to pray and fast together the first week of every month, beginning in April. Fostance, the team leader for Sports Friends Malawi, was able to join with them last month. They want to grow spiritually, and to experience God’s presence and power in their lives and ministry. They are reading and understanding Scripture, then applying it to their lives.  This is so exciting! Sometimes in ministry it can be difficult to measure success. Watching new followers grow and pursue Jesus for themselves, then become sources of joy and encouragement to those around them, brings us great joy and motivation to keep working!

We cannot talk about all that God is doing in the eastern region of the country without mentioning Coach Griphin. He is a godly man gifted with leadership both to teach sports and the Bible. Coach Griphin was entrusted with leadership of the ministry in the Zomba District, and there he serves as a trainer of trainers, who then raise up coaches to minister to many more young people. 

Griphin leads spiritually as well, as he consistently meets with coaches to study the Bible. Coaches in this region are solid in the word of God because it is maintained as central to their time together with Coach Griphin. His desire is to help them grow into Bible-based servant leaders in their work as sports ministers. Because of his character, he has won the respect of many coaches and inspires them to pursue intimate relationship with the Lord. His coaches are called Coaches of the Bible because they understand the only way to do better in ministry is to know the Boss (Jesus) well and listen to Him! These coaches are effectively blessing their teams, families, churches, and communities as they use their gifts and leadership skills to honor God and serve Him, and His people, faithfully.

The Scriptures teach us to faithfully gather together as followers of Jesus, to grow in wisdom and righteousness, and to allow the Spirit of God to grow us into fruitful disciples. This simple path proves true over and over again, to strengthen, model, mentor, and multiply the Kingdom of God. It also gives us the opportunity to have trusting relationships with other like-minded men and women. We thank God for what He is doing in Sports Friends through small Bible study groups in Malawi! Praise God that He has planted faithful workers like Coach Griphin in the eastern region, and for the flourishing growth that is taking place there.