Sport and Christianity in the 21st Century

Over the past 30-40 years there has been a steady growth in the academic literature concerning the relationship between sport and religion. [1] What this article aims to do is to map out the key features of this relationship focusing specifically on developments in the UK both during and since the Victorian period. To this end, we begin by addressing the formative
and innovative role which the English public schools and the Protestant church in Britain played in the growth of sport. Our discussion then goes on to locate these developments against a wider cultural backdrop of nineteenth century social change. The subsequent decline of the relationship between sport and the Protestant church in the UK during the 20th century is acknowledged, but it is also argued that there are now signs of church growth and specifically sports ministry as a means of outreach, especially amongst young people. Accordingly, the final section of the article outlines how sports ministry workers may be seen to be re-engaging professionally in both church and non-church settings. [2]

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