Friday, April 8, 2011

The Most Influential Figure In Our Culture

Who is it?  Is it President Obama?  Is it Donald Trump?  Is it LeBron James or Bono or Billy Graham?  Or maybe we should simplify it and identify a role.  Politicians?  CEO's?  Professional athletes?  Authors? I'll get back to this in a sec...

My day began at 5:00am.  In an attempt to complete my tryout training and gain some more "ground experience" in my last available weekend before graduation, I chose to drive down to Frederick, MD to spend the day observing some FCA events.  As I rubbed the sleepiness out of my eyes and drove and hour in the rainy, dark morning, I never would have anticipated what I would experience.  This morning, Dr. Jeff Duke presented a seminar to local coaches on harnessing their athletes' emotion instead of shying away from it.  I then had the privilege of tagging along to breakfast at Cracker Barrel and a meeting in which the FCA Maryland leadership had a chance to pick Dr. Duke's brain.  It was like every time this guy opened his mouth, a gold nugget fell out!  He spoke with such wisdom and truth!

But what he said most that stuck with me circles back to our original question.  Who is the most influential figure in our culture?  Dr. Duke would argue that it is the coach.  Think about it.  Coaches have a chance to have an intimate, hands-on relationship with a lot of student athletes in a 4-5 year period.  Most of those relationships will last after graduation.  If a coach coaches for years and years (as many do), they come into contact with hundreds, maybe even thousands of athletes!  That is just one coach.  Just amp up the equation with thousands of coaches around the country, and you can easily guess what kind of astronomical impact they have.

For FCA, targeting the coaches is key.  We can indirectly impact an enormous amount of kids by investing in coaches.  And it's not just about getting pre-existing Christian coaches on board.  It is about using the medium of athletics to build relationships with coaches who might never set foot in a church and watch God transform their lives.  It is about walking alongside and helping them grow instead of Bible-thumping.  Dr. Duke told us that his son coaches a high school football team in Florida in which four boys live in a home where both parents are there.  Four boys on a high school football team!  What kind of role do you think that the team and the coach are playing in the lives of those boys?  That is their family.  That coach is their father.  They cling to him because they have nothing else.  I can't even remember all the stories I've heard from professional athletes testifying to the influence of Coach ___________, because he didn't give up on them or became the father that they didn't have.

Today has been an incredible experience and it's only 3:15pm.  If nothing else, it has brought to life the critical nature of investing in the lives of coaches.  Regardless of sport, sex, age, or belief, they are life-changing individuals.  When I step back and really think about my responsibilities as the future representative to Central PA, it's actually quite humbling.  I have so little influence.  I am one man.   But if I can equip and resource these men and women and walk alongside them in their journeys, the world will change one life at a time by the transforming power of Jesus Christ. 

Yes, please. I would like to be a part of that.         

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What a Wild Ride

Wow.  When I look back at my life it absolutely blows me away to think that everything up to this point has been preparing me to enter full-time ministry.  I mean everything... my academics, my home environment, my athletic career, past jobs, conversations, successes and failures alike.  These experiences fit together like a masterfully designed puzzle and they have readied me for something incredible.  As my friend David Crowder says: "I feel I'm on the brink of something large."  Large might be an understatement...

Three months ago, working for FCA was not even on my radar.  Despite my extensive involvement with it, I assumed that I would enter ministry in a church somewhere, just like my Congregational Ministries degree was preparing me to do.  But God had other plans.

This 2010-2011 season marked the end of my competitive wrestling career.  I had goals to stamp my name into Messiah College Wrestling history by becoming the school's next All-American and did everything within my power to get there.  I sacrificed time, relationships, energy (both emotional and physical).  I sweat.  I bled.  I poured out everything in me to achieve my goals.  But God had other plans.

My past work experience included an unlikely combination of jobs such as lifeguard, camp counselor, bank teller, worship intern.  Looking back on them going into this year, I just wrote these experiences off as mere ways to work up some more money to pay for school.  But God had other plans.

And His plans blew mine out of the water.  Unexpected as they were, His faithfulness in working together all things together for my good has been, bar none, the most humbling experience of my life.  He has blessed me with an opportunity as FCA's Area Representative to Central Pennsylvania to do full time work that involves my greatest passions:  an AWESOME God and athletics.  Along the way, He has provided unmistakable signs of confirmation such as affirmation from my closest friends and family, a place to live, a roommate, and opportunities to finish my FCA training in a timely manner amidst a final semester of madness.

If there is one thing that I will never forget from this wild ride, it is this:  God is faithful and He will see this thing through to completion.  I Thessalonians 5:24 says, "The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it."  I have never believed these words more than I do now.      

Dessert Fundraiser

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to West Shore tonight!  I truly appreciated everyone's support and am so glad to get you all on board with what God is doing in and through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  Posts on my testimony, calling, and vision coming soon!

Monday, April 4, 2011


Thanks so much for stopping by!  In the days to come, I hope to get this blog up and running to share updates, thoughts, stories, experiences, and lessons about my ministry.  Enjoy!