Episode 37

#37. Why Ministry Contextualization Matters: The Robert Katende Story

Through sports and chess, Robert Katende takes Christ to communities of young people from all religions living in IDP camps and local slums in Uganda.

He shares his wisdom on mentoring young people, pastoral calling, effective sports ministry, and the absolute importance of ministry contextualization.

Since the true story of one of his students was portrayed in the 2016 feature film, Queen of Katwe, Robert Katende continues to serve in sports ministry, coaching young people in Kampala, Uganda.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How sports ministry differs from sports activity programs
  • The ingredients for an effective sports ministry
  • Why understanding the community is so important when starting a sports outreach ministry

About the Guest: 

Robert Katende is best known as mentor and coach to Phiona Mutesi, their true story was portrayed in the 2016, family-friendly film, Queen of Katwe. As a young person Mutesi became a chess phenom and Robert Katende was her coach.

Robert became a Christian when he was a teenager. He began working with Sports Outreach Ministry full time a few years after volunteering as a university student in Kampala, Uganda. The ministry included young people from the slums of Kampala and living in IDP (Internally Displaced People) camps.

Before going to university, he overcame many struggles in his childhood like being separated from his young mother, growing up during a time of war and civil unrest, being raised in different households and growing up in the slums of Nakulabye in Kampala.

With hard work, he was able to go to Kyambogo University. That’s where he began to volunteer with Sports Outreach Ministry participating in soccer. He completed a degree in Computer Engineering at Kampala University.

Today, Robert and his wife, Sarah, have three girls. He has attained a master’s degree in International Community Development from Northwest University Seattle, USA. He continues to serve in Sports Outreach Ministry (SOM) where he is the Director for Southern Uganda and founder of the SOM Chess Academy. He is also the founder of the Robert Katende Initiative, in Uganda.

Scripture Related to Episode :

Matthew 19: 23-26; With God All Things Are Possible

Ephesians 4: 1-3; What’s Your Calling?

John 13: 34-35; Unconditional Love

Romans 7: 21-25; Speaking to the Inner Man

Links Related to Episode:

Sports Outreach Ministry (SOM), Southern Uganda

Robert Katende Initiative

Contact Robert Katende, Robert Katende Initiative

Contact SOM Chess Academy

Contact SOM Kampala

Timestamped Show Notes:

01:12 - Topic: The Importance of Understanding the Unique Needs of Communities in Ministry

03:12 - The Blessing of Being a Family Man

04:16 - Growing Up in Several Homes

05:53 - Sports, Mentorship, Character Development, Evangelism and Discipleship

07:12 - Why Chess for a Sports Program?

08:08 - Relational Evangelism and Connecting with Kids One on One

08:50 - Understanding the Local Community

09:01 - Diving in When Young People Have Given up on Life

09:12 - Addressing Generational Bondage

10:11 - Restoring Hope and Transforming Lives

10:39 - Sports Outreach for the American Congregation

11:13 - Role of a Sports Minister

12:18 - Losing, Winning and Christ

13:32 - Advice for Starting a Sports Outreach Ministry

14:02 - Taking the Church to the Community

14:55 - Sports Ministry vs Sports Activity Program

15:11 - Ministry On Field and Off the Field

16:15 - Unconditional Love in Action

17:04 - Contacting Robert Katende

17:53 - Joke Time for Breakfast