Coaches and Players Speak Up

Coaches and Players Speak Up

I am inspired when I hear coaches and athletes speak up publicly about their Christian faith. I’ve read that ¾ of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL are professing Christians. Sports provide a platform to share their faith. Here are a few examples:

Patrick Mahomes quarterbacked his team to the Super Bowl. After the AFC Championship game, Mahomes said, “I just want to thank God. He healed my body this week. Faith is always a big part of what I do. It helps you know why you are playing the game and who you’re doing it for.”

Jalen Hurts quarterbacked his team to the Super Bowl. After the NFC Championship game, he said, “Only God knows the things that each individual on this team has been able to overcome to come together as a team and do something special. My favorite Bible verse has sustained me when I went through a lot of stuff in college, and it kind of stuck with me, John 13:7 ‘You may not know now, but later you’ll understand.”

Brock Purdy was the last player chosen in the NFL draft last year, number 259. Because of injuries to the quarterbacks of San Francisco, he wound up being the starter. He won his first seven games before he was injured in the Championship game. He said, “My identity is in Jesus Christ. I love playing football, but football is just a game. I identify as a Christian before I identify as a football player!”

Frank Reich was just named the head football coach of the Charlotte Panthers. He is a former pastor. (Maybe I can go into coaching.) He sees coaching as a larger platform to do ministry. He says, “At the end of the day, I just want to be faithful to exalt the name of Christ, be faithful to live out, eat, breathe, and sleep the Word of God. That is my focus.”

Roberto Firmino plays a different kind of football (soccer) which is the most popular sport in the world. The star from Liverpool became a Christian three years ago because of the witness of his teammates and competitors. He speaks in churches on Sundays.

Jacie Hoyt is the Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach. She said, “Three things make my world go round…Jesus, family, hoops. I feel such a strong sense of purpose every day that I wake up to just get to go and live the way that I think Jesus wants me to live, and that He would live.”

Chanda Rigby, head women’s basketball coach at Troy University, has put women’s basketball on the map at Troy. I speak at a FCA Coaches Conference every June, and she and her football coach husband and family are always there. I have heard her say, “Basketball and sports are important, but knowing Jesus Christ is the most important thing in life.”

Bruce Pearl is head basketball coach at Auburn. He recently gave the following note to his team and staff: “Pray for blessings from God so that we can bless others. Pray for influence so that we can minister and do more. Pray that God would put his hand on us. Pray for God’s anointing like he anointed Moses. We have to have His blessing and his anointing to do all we can do. Our competence comes from God, not us. Lord knows it’s true of me. Thank you for overcoming my weaknesses and inabilities. But I know God’s got us! Have a blessed Sunday.”

I wrote a book last year on life lessons learned from sports which shared 54 stories about coaches and athletes. The book can be ordered from my website, johnedmathison.org.

How are you using your situation in your life today to share the Good News of Christ?

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