Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The 30 Football Guys Who Trusted Christ

In Student Venture we're all about evangelism and discipleship. We want to share with students how they can know Christ personally and how they can grow in their faith. Then we want to equip them to reach out to others, to use their natural sphere of influence to have a personal ministry while they're still in high school. Many students make a very significant impact on their campus before they graduate.

In this process of evangelism and discipleship, one of the distinctives of our ministry is that we go to the students, to their world. We don't wait for them to come to us. Many times we approach this through group outreaches. In the fall, there are lots of large, responsive groups to reach into. The band, the cheerleaders and the football team are three prime groups that we try to reach this time of year. The story below is an exciting look at what can happen when we go to the students. These are some of my former disciples in Carrollton, Texas.

>>>Jared Lyons is a senior on the football team at Newman Smith High School. Although he became a Christian at a young age, in the fall of his freshman year he took the first steps in growing in his faith when he attended a freshmen football team meeting hosted by Student Venture. That summer, he rededicated his life to Christ at the Student Venture Getaway. For the last few years he has been involved in Student Venture in weekly Bible studies, winter and summer conferences, and a summer missions trip.

After the last SV conference in December, he felt the Lord placing it on his heart to have an outreach for the freshman football team at his school in the spring. In April, Jared invited the entire freshmen team to an Iron Stomach contest similar to the one he attended as a freshman 2 years ago.

Twenty-five freshman football players and one coach showed up. A JV football player, who became a Christian through Student Venture his freshman year, also came and shared his testimony about the difference that Christ had made in his life. After the testimony, Jared explained the Gospel and extended an invitation to trust Christ. Five players indicated a decision to place their faith in Christ that day! In addition, ten JV football players agreed to attend the weekly freshmen follow up Bible study to help disciple one of the younger players. (Many of these JV players have become Christians in the last 12 months and have been discipled by one of the SV staff.)

Although Jared was excited about seeing several of the freshmen respond to Christ, there was still 30 other freshmen players who did not attend the outreach. So Jared had another outreach for the freshmen team! Twenty more players came out and five more placed their faith in Christ!

A follow up Bible study started up and one of the JV players, Matt Rucker, led one of the freshmen players, Robert, to Christ during the study. Several new guys came to the study and Robert, who had been a Christian for one week, led his friend to Christ using the Connecting With God booklet that Matt had used to lead him to Christ the week before.

In the last two years, 30 guys from the JV football team have come to Christ through a SV staff member or student sharing the Connecting With God booklet with them. Most of them have been regularly attending a Bible study group at Matt Rucker's home. They want to see the same thing happen with the freshmen football team, who they hope will catch the same vision and reach out to the incoming freshmen football team this fall.

Matt and Jared continue to lead the freshmen group in the study and have included the varsity football players in the bible study this fall. They are currently recruiting all of them to attend this years' Student Venture Fastbreak (our winter conference) in Austin, TX. They hope that their disciples will continue to reach out to incoming freshmen football teams, and leave a legacy for Christ at their high school.