Young People Transformed

Mar 11, 2014 | Sports Friends Africa, Sports Friends Nigeria

By Ishaya Inuwa Durkwa, SF Nigeria

“Thank you, Sports Friends. Our young people are being transformed…”

Above are some of the words spoken to the staff of Sports Friends Nigeria by the president of a denomination called Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN). He spoke them as we paid him a visit to donate balls as a part of our partnership obligation to the denomination. COCIN is a denomination with membership strength of nearly 4 million people spread across Nigeria, Niger, Malawi and, recently, London as well. It has a large presence and the headquarters is in Jos, the capital of the Plateau State in the north-central region of Nigeria.

COCIN Pres wirh SF brochure

It is important to note that, since the end of 2010, security has further deteriorated in Jos. This is because of terror attacks and suicide bombings against churches and security installations by a suspected militants group northern Nigeria. Thousands have been killed, hundreds of thousands have been displaced internally, and billions of dollars worth of property have been destroyed.

Responses from local and national authorities have proven mostly ineffective; police and military action also has had little success. Therefore, groups of young people at various times have made effort to defend themselves and their communities As a result, many of these youths have given up on Church and instead have turned to drugs and African Traditional Practices for protection.

It is in this context that Church Centered Sports Ministry (CCSM) has become a handy tool in bringing transformation in the lives of young people and their communities. It has indeed been a blessing. Sports Friends began a partnership with COCIN 4 years ago, and through this partnership over 4 thousand people have been touched with the love of Christ.


During the visit to the President of COCIN, he told us how important CCSM is to the Church. In his words, he says “Many of our young people who would not come to church were met at the field of play and discipled. Now they are coming to church. Many young people have given their lives to Christ, and I have heard stories of how youths that were given into drugs have changed. More amazing is that the wall of hostilities built by crises over the years is crumbling through this sports ministry, for I see our young people playing with people from other faiths and even building relationships.”

Alex, one of the coordinators of sports ministry in COCIN, says, “We in COCIN are learning through CCSM to not just open the doors of our church buildings every Sunday morning, but to go out there to the field of play and daily open the doors of our hearts to those around us so that they may see the change in us brought about by the love of Jesus Christ, as it is abundantly manifested in our lives.”