Mixing it up with football

Mixing it up with … Football
Owen Smith, Church House Publishing, 2007

£8.99 (Approx)
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What does it say on the tin?

Fact 1. 75% of 9-13-year-olds play at least 27 minutes of football a day.

Fact 2. Young people aged 9-13 are a massively under-resourced age group in churches.

In 10 sessions, this book tackles some of the central Christian beliefs using the features of football to help your youth group connect with the theological message in terms they can relate to – from Fans (God’s Great Love for us) to Team Tactics (the Church as a Body).

Mixing it up with Football will help young people to engage with their faith with the same enthusiasm with which they hit the football pitch!

What do you get?

Leader’s guide with 10 session outlines and photocopiable resources.( Amazon, EBAY or Church House Publishing).

Who is it for?

9 year olds to 13 year olds (Suggested for boys groups). Can be used as a full series or stand-a-lone sessions. These sessions are best suited for young people who have no or some knowledge of Christian teaching.




  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Appealing paperback glossy cover with illustrations relevant to its Football theme. Each session is extremely clearly laid out with clear subheadings. Instructions are very clear.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    Aims are stated at the beginning of each session. These are then reinforced by football metaphors, activities and passages from the Bible.

    How accessible are the leader's notes?

    Accessible to any leader. Guidance is simple yet informative. This resource also outlines some helpful tips in inclusion of young people and good practice. The notes allow leaders to confidently lead on topics, while also leaving room for conversations to be directed by the group.

    Who could lead it?

    Any person passionate about helping young people understand themes in the Bible, a knowledge/interest in football may be beneficial.

    How helpful are the participants' resources?

    Photocopiable activity sheets are simple yet effective at aiding sessions.

    How good is any digital material?

    Digital material is not required. All hand outs are photocopiable from leader's book.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    Preparation for these sessions is quick and easy. The accessible format of the notes and clearly labelled 'Beforehand' section means leaders can straight away see what they need to do prior to the session. There is also a section for resources on each session which clearly defines what needs to be provided for the event.

    Is there website support? Links?

    Only link explicitly mentioned is BBC sport in order to obtain recent football leagues.

    Is it dated?

    Some material may become less accessible to participants, e.g. football facts quiz and salaries of football players, however these can easily be substituted by more recent information by the leader.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Very well. Best done in small groups, this resource encourages young people to discuss relevant topics with one another, but also gives space for them to share vulnerabilities. Opening and closing activities keep group interaction both fun and relevant.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    A plethora of discussion and activities keeps participants engaged. Participants are focussed on topics by reading and question time while activities like choosing your own football team and shooting goals gets young people active.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    Quick and easy planning. 45 minutes sessions are designed to be used for midweek or school lunchtimes. They may require some space for football related activities. Sessions also do not necessarily need to be done in chronological order which allows the leader to choose the most relevant for their young people each week.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Biblical themes are consistently related to football metaphors. This language is easy to interpret by young boys who have an interest in football. Participants work together in applying the material through group work sheets and prayer time.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Just under half - the rest encourages application of what the passage means.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Clearly and concisely. Young people read the passages together and then answer follow up questions on what it means. The Biblical material is cleverly linked to football themes and then used in activities to help young people see how it affects their lives today.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Effectively. Young people are directly challenged on their attitudes towards key topics such as: sin, rules and winning.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    No, this resource is widely relevant to many denominations. Prayer and worship are a larger focus than the Holy Spirit.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    Gently challenges participants to apply biblical teaching to their own actions and thought processes. Young people are asked to think how they can use their talents for Jesus.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    By providing opportunities of reflection, young people can be honest with God about where they are at. This resource encourages a safe forum for open discussion and questions. It outlines a suggested set of tools needed to live the life God wants for them.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    This is done successfully by sessions on God's priorities for our lives and how his rules are good ones to follow.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Explicitly in every session. This is the purpose of the whole resource; to engage young people in Christianity via contemporary culture so the Bible becomes applicable to their lives. Parallels are drawn between football metaphors, God's word and our actions.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Personal evangelism is facilitated by young people considering what God wants for them verses what they may want. Encouraged to apply Bible teachings to own actions.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    Indirectly by highlighting the importance of how our actions/attitudes influence those around us.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    Not a huge focus.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a huge focus.

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