Fellowship International Blog

Let's Play Ball!

It doesn’t matter if it is a baseball, basketball, soccer ball, or football, you’ll find a kid attached to it. Whether it be a hockey stick, a lacrosse stick, a bat or a glove, you’ll find a kid close by. You’ll probably find some pretty big “kids” in the vicinity as well.

What better place to build spiritual principles into the lives of youth than to meet them where the vast majority tend to gather—on a sports field.

Since 2010, Onside has been providing affordable, recreational sports programming for families throughout Southern Ontario. In 2019, Fellowship International and Onside Athletics (OA) established a partnership and in January 2021, Onside Athletics became an official ministry of the Fellowship.

OA uses sports as a means to connect the community with the church, providing family-oriented sports programs that the local church can use for outreach and discipleship. Training local church volunteers and coaches becomes an opportunity to promote disciple-making. Summer programs are also a part of the ministry and these provide a platform to encourage hired summer students to think about how they might fit into short-, as well as long-term mission opportunities through Fellowship International’s LAUNCH ministry. Kids around the world gravitate to balls and sticks and what better way to engage Canadian youth in mission than to promote short-term mission experiences for Onside Athletics interns who can work alongside our Fellowship International missionaries.

Fellowship International now has four recently appointed missionaries who will serve with OA:

Bryan Gilmore founded and incorporated Onside Athletics, a ministry that began under Crestwicke Baptist Church, Guelph, ON. The organization has gained a strong reputation for being excellent in service and innovative in programing. Bryan is passionate about partnering with local church leaders, assisting them in fulfilling the great commandment to love their neighbour.

Ben Stulen has been involved with sports-based ministry through his home church. For the last three years he has organized and run a province-wide church invitational hockey tournament and feels a strong call to use sports camps for kids as an avenue to share the Gospel. Ben's responsibilities include implementing disciple-making principles in local churches and their surrounding communities.

Matt Flemming has a diploma in Recreation and Leisure and has served at several different camps in Ontario and British Columbia over 20 summers, most recently for 15 years as a full-time staff member at Camp Qwanoes on Vancouver Island. Onside’s BC initiative is soon to be launched. Matt’s task will include helping local churches and communities on the island to implement disciple-making principles.

Justin Anderson will be overseeing the operations and logistics of the newly-acquired Onside Athletics while working very closely with internal Fellowship International staff to grow and develop missionary personnel locally, nationally, and globally.

These men are currently looking for support partners. For more information on each of these individuals please click here.

Once training camp for Major League Baseball started in March, we all began to look forward, yearningly, not only to just enjoying the “boys of summer” back at play, but also to looking for healthy options for the boys and girls that make up our family networks. Onside is an excellent choice. Summer ball camps (soccer, baseball, ball hockey, basketball, flag football and multi-sports) are planned for 11 locations across southern Ontario during July and August with all COVID-19 safety protocols in place. For more information on the ministry or to register for a camp visit the Onside website.