Every time I look at the numbers it gives me a prompt in my heart, ‘Lord, send me to the football world.’ Did you know that we’ve estimated 3.5 billion football fans on earth? Did you know what that means? It means you can reach half of the world population through this beautiful game. We all know it, football provides the fastest means of spreading any message around the earth and we can’t afford to overlook it in world evangelization.
I am already so excited since I heard that Believes’ love world messenger angel has entered into every territory inhabited by humans on earth. Rhapsody of Realities, the daily devotional, has been translated into 203 languages and distributed in 257 countries – 195 sovereign states and 62 dependent territories on earth – that’s an incredible milestone.
You could only but imagine how far the gospel has gone through this devotional. Being translated into languages such as Mandarin, Myanmar, Tonga, Swahili and traveled into places like Fuji Island, Solomon Island, and Tahiti in the Oceania region offshore Australia. And on the other end of Cook Island, Niue, Tokelau, in the colony of New Zealand. Truly, the gospel is marching on!
But we may also want to look at the penetration rate. Over 61 million copies of the devotional were distributed in 2013 – that’s about 1 copy to 10 million people, given the world population at 7 billion. Well, if compared with 2010 FIFA world cup in south Africa, where an estimated 1 out of every 3 persons on earth watched the football event, then you may begin to understand how large the football world is.
It’s time we begin to strategize on fulfilling the scriptures that say: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the entire world for a witness unto all nations…” The gospel may have entered all the countries on earth, yet it hasn’t reached all the nations of the world.
The gospel of Jesus Christ hasn’t as yet made such significant penetrations in China, a country that harbors about 1.4 billion of the world’s population. We must begin to look at other ways of pulling down the barriers set up by the country’s policy. We may also look at India, with 1.3 billion populations that are largely Hindu worshipers and Islam.
Internet and the social media have given the gospel vent to penetrate through some of these barriers. You can connect to anybody and share any message you wish with person through the social media platform. Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, President of Believers love world nation, has said that social media is the future of world evangelization. We must begin to learn how to hold virtual evangelism, virtual fellowship meetings and virtual church services.
Well, If social media is the greatest barrier broker, then we must also get serious with the most popular sport on earth and take advantage of the opportunities it provides the gospel – football holds the world attention all year round.
Now, let us look at the numbers and compare what can be done with these two marvelous vehicles.
Social media had a total of 1.4 billion users in 2012, which is expected to increase to 1.7 billion in 2013 – with accumulated usage of 10 billion audiences in 2012. The number one social media platform, Facebook, has about 800 million users and accumulated usage of 2.5 billion in 2012.
On the other side, FIFA world cup alone, which is just one football event, had accumulated 30 billion audiences in 2006 and 50 billion in 2010. Take for instance, 2010 world cup finals in South Africa, had a global audiences of 700 million in just one football match. We haven’t considered UEFA champions league or English Premier League or other minor football events down to the grassroots level around the earth. Truly, football provides us an immense opportunity to break the world’s attention with the gospel.