Entire athletic seasons are cancelled. March Madness didn’t happen. The Olympics are postponed. In the sports world, it’s safe to say everyone is feeling the impact of COVID-19.
Despite the unforeseen circumstances stripping the world of sport, athletes are still at work using their influence. This training may not be in a physical sense like previously anticipated; but rather, the exercising of spiritual muscles is taking place.
“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” I Timothy 4:8, New Living Translation
Athletes in Action has a ministry presence on more than 65 college campuses. But what happens to ministry when college campuses are shut down, social gatherings are no longer allowed, and a stay-at-home order is in effect?
To use a sports term, you pivot. With one foot firmly planted in faith, the other foot moves. It moves into a new direction, with a new strategy and a new trajectory.
In this instance, ministry moves to the only place it can: “digital discipleship.”
That’s what athletes from multiple campuses in Chicago are practicing. Forming the first ever citywide “Athletes in Action Chicago,” students from local campuses such as Northwestern, Elmhurst, Loyola, UIC, Robert Morris, Roosevelt, IIT and Trinity united to create a space on Instagram to help athletes live (and learn what it means to play) for an Audience of One.
With a challenge to commit to starting their Monday to Friday in God’s Word, the goal is to help student-athletes stay in community through virtual daily devotions. The devotions are led individually by both staff and athletes and viewable as video posts for all to see.
Every Tuesday, a 30-minute live (in real time) session kicks off. A current or former athlete will share his or her testimony and anyone is free to watch live or catch the replay. The live session ends with a staff member sharing God’s truth.
Through takeovers (athletes “taking over” the account to share what they’re learning), encouraging talks, posts & testimonies, athletes are not only sharpening each other and staying in community, they are stepping onto a new training ground. And as you read earlier in I Timothy 4:8, this “training for godliness” promises benefits in this life and in the life to come. His fingerprints are all over this.
Athletes aren’t processing their loss of sport alone. During this delay of game, they are learning how to claim Christ more deeply. They’re leaning into Christ together!
As Athletes in Action continues to pivot ministry activities and strategies, funds are needed to keep serving and equipping athletes across the country. Would you prayerfully consider supporting the mission of Athletes in Action by donating here?