We meet Salvation Army Sports Ministry Co-ordinator Bobby Weir ahead of Glasgow 2014
published on 25 Feb 2014
Salvation Army sports ministry co-ordinator Bobby Weir at the Laurieston Centre in Glasgow.
As Glasgow prepares to host one the biggest sporting events in its history, we catch up with Salvation Army sports ministry co-ordinator Bobby Weir.
The former Airdrie youth footballer, who is a qualified sports coach, is a lifelong member of the Salvation Army.
Now he’s hoping to use his skills and passion to help communities enjoy healthy lives before, during and after the Commonwealth Games.
He is keen that the church and charity moves with the times and really capitalises on the city’s love of sport by creating various sports ministries.
The 23-year-old said: “For The Salvation Army to keep up-to-date and relevant to people it’s important to engage in a way that’s relevant to them rather than be old-fashioned. If we can take things that people do already and use that, we’ll reach more people.
“Sports ministry is for everyone. One of the perceptions people have about it is that it’s just for young people. It isn’t. There are options for everyone.
“I usually talk about sports ministry in three ways – in sport, through sport and around sport.
“Through sport can be things like sports clubs for kids in the community. We’re using sport to bring the kids together and it’s an opportunity to tell them about Jesus as well.
“In sport is where young people are in sports clubs already but find it difficult to be Christians so we have groups that help them be part of both. They’re already in a sport, so rather than causing a competition between church and sports club we encourage them to be a Christian in the sport they do.
“Finally, around sport which is doing ministry and mission work around events like the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and the World Cup. Thousands of people will be in Glasgow for the Games, so it’s an opportunity for the church to reach out to them.”
As well as working with those connected with the Games, communities and Salvation Army corps throughout Scotland, Bobby is keen to link in with those staying in lifehouses.
Bobby said: “Salvation Army’s roots go into working with people in deprived areas so we’ll also be working with the lifehouses.
“We want to work with anybody who wants to do sports ministry and for the church to be working with anyone in the community who really needs it.
“We’re using sport as that touchbase for people to make contact with people who need The Salvation Army.”
Bobby is helping organise a five-a-side football tournament in April for Salvation Army lifehouses from all over Scotland in a bid to integrate the church and the social work arms of The Salvation Army.
He said: “I want to break down the barriers between people who are homeless and people who aren’t. I think sport is a good way to mix people.
“It’s just 10 guys on the pitch, playing football and I hope to see this integration between people in the lifehouses and the church.
“I’m sure it is going to be a great success and something I’d want to continue in the future.”
The word future is at the forefront of much of Bobby’s work. He is keen that sports ministries create a legacy that lives on beyond the Games.
He said: “One of the things I’ve been saying when I’ve been speaking to people about setting up a sports ministry within their church is that it can go on.
“We’re focusing on the Commonwealth Games coming but it can be an ongoing thing.
“We want to see them progress and grow beyond the Commonwealth Games and it is a very simple thing to carry on. I am encouraging churches to include sports ministry in their programmes week to week.”
Along with the announcement of Bobby Weir's appointment as sports ministry coordinator, The Salvation Army is also looking to create a sports ministry hub in Glasgow.
The opening of the centre will create a base where best practice can be shared and resources can be created.
Bobby explained: “As we get closer to the Commonwealth Games, it’ll be used as office space as people from sports ministry drop in to hot desk.
“We’re saying to as many people involved in sports ministry to work here so that we can come together and link in with each other.”
More than Gold is an ecumenical umbrella charity for churches during major sporting events.
Since Atlanta in 1996, every two years between the Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games, they’ve been moving on from country to country and setting up again as a new charitable company.