As part of our ‘Riverside Story’ blog post series, this post will focus on a mission that Riverside is helping to facilitate here in Birmingham, the UK and around the world; supporting our vision to bring LIFE to every generation in every community.
Real Riverside FC (RRFC) currently play in the West Midlands Christian league and relaunched in 2020 to focus our attention on a strong core team and be intentional about our discipleship and care of players.
We pray as a team before each Saturday match and have set up a prayer team in parallel to this.
One of our lads was going through a tough time and opened up one day after the match over a drink at a local pub (The Station). We go there after each home game and have built up a good relationship with them – they even put free food on for us! He talked about his relationship and huge complications going on where his job was in jeopardy. We offered to pray for him. A few days later he messaged to report that the complication had all gone away, this had removed the crisis at his work, and said “Prayer does work!”. We love that!
We have made a conscious effort this year to give more responsibility to more people – spreading the workload around, and to bring more people in from the church community, for the church to take ownership of the team.
We’ve set up a “buddy system” for this year too – with the idea of pairing everyone up with someone they don’t necessarily know from the team to look out for one another throughout the season. We’re seeing more and more people struggling with mental health stuff and I think as men we’re not the best of talkers – so we wanted to provide a place for someone to vent / chat / go for coffee with on a one-to-one basis. We intentionally budget for the cost of doing that.
We’ve seen people have relationship break ups in the team over the past couple of years and the team has been a place of real security and new friendships for three of the lads.
Andy Rattan leads a quiz at The Highbury pub for free once a month and some of the lads have connected into that community on Pineapple.
At our annual awards evening (hosted at Riverside House), a personal testimony from a previous player was shared.
We are desperate for people to come to know Jesus because of being involved in the team.