Since it kicked off in Banbridge last autumn, ‘Gospel Goal’ has scored a string of successes in its ongoing campaign to spread the gospel to football supporters across Northern Ireland.
Now one of its key players is planning a fundraising event to net the cash needed to keep the ball in the air.
Gospel Goal emerged from a meeting in Banbridge Orange Hall, where those present were challenged to practise their Christianity not just in church, but at home, at work and in their social lives.
Among them was Paul Clydesdale, who took the ball and ran with it, building a team along the way.
Several months later, and Gospel Goal has its own steering committee, elected officers, adopted constition and bank account.
A number of pitch-side boards have been erected at football grounds, from Windsor Park to Mourneview to the Coleraine Showgrounds, while more than 800 tracts have been distributed and a prayer breakfast held, with much more apparently in the design stage.
“The Lord has provided for all of our needs,” said Paul, “and we give Him all the honour, praise and glory for what He has done for us.”
Northern Ireland’s qualification for the Euros provided Gospel Goal with one of its highlights to date, its Euro 2016 Facebook graphics campaign, a series of professionally designed graphics with football related slogans tied into a passage of scripture.
One read: “Incredible Save!” - “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us,” while NI keeper Michael McGovern’s stand-out performance against World champions Germany, earning him a player rating of nine, inspired Gospel Goal’s most popular graphic of a campaign that ran throughout the Euro finals and earned hundreds of likes, comments and shares.
“Unbeatable Keeper!” it read, “The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.”
Said Paul: “Gospel Goal reminded everyone on their page that in all of our lives we can have someone who will be our guard and protector, someone who will always be unbeatable, and someone who will always gain a rating of 10/10.”
In the run-up to the new football season locally, Gospel Goal has shifted emphasis to the production of more pitch-side boards and tracts.
“Gospel Goal has an aim of having at least one gospel advertising board at all of the local Premiership grounds by 2018,” said Paul, adding that they hoped to have other boards at lower division grounds and pitches too.
To help finance the campaign, Paul has joined forces with Pastor Roy Graham for a 10-mile sponsored walk from Shamrock Park to Mourneview Park.
“It seemed a good idea at the time,” said Paul, “but as it draws nearer it seems rather daunting.”
Anyone wishing to sponsor the pair can do so either by contacting them, or via the special crowd funding page - https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/GospelGoalSponsoredWalk
If you would like to know more about Gospel Goal you can contact them on Facebook, Twitter, or their website – www.gospelgoal.com.