In and Through …


The vision of Athletes in Action is to see God work IN the lives of athletes and THROUGH their lives to bring others to Himself. We help athletes learn to share their testimonies of God’s work in their lives, and we tell their stories too. One way we do this is through the Struggle and Triumph (S & T) Bible, which features the testimonies of athletes from around the world, a presentation of the gospel, and the AIA Five Principles.

These Bibles have been translated into Spanish, Russian, French, Arabic, and recently Amharic, which is spoken in Ethiopia. We have taken the sports Bibles to 30 countries where they’re being used to open doors to international sports federations and in ministry with athletes. Or coworker Cristobal has been able to share S & T Bibles with every player in the premier soccer league in Guatemala! The very last batch of these Bibles is going out, and new international athletes’ stories will be written for publication in a new sports Bible.

Along with some of the S & T devotions which have been translated into many languages and can be read on the Bible app, Karen wrote some of the additional material in the S & T Bible, so she jokes that she wrote the Bible

Several of our AIA coworkers were in Oregon for the World Athletics Championships over the summer where over 1900 athletes from 192 countries competed, and our staff members got to minister to them. Our coworker Tim has personal connections with some Ethiopian athletes, and he got to meet Werkuha, the silver medalist in the steeplechase event.

Tim was able to give Wehkuha S & T Bibles in her native Amharic language (which she is now studying with her teammates), connect her with our Ethiopian AIA director for discipleship when she returned home, and encourage her to reach out to Luisa, a competitor and top athlete in Albania where an AIA ministry was recently started. Werkuha befriended Luisa in the hope of sharing the love of Jesus with her. Our staff were able to provide resources, encouragement, and discipleship training to Werkuha, and she in turn is reaching out to other athletes.

Thank you for your prayers and gifts that enable us to serve the Lord and help others to serve Him. We are grateful for you!

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.  Click the following:  September 2022 newsletter hard copy. 

Living a “Sent” Life


Gathering regularly means so much for every family. Until our recent national staff conference in Milwaukee, it had been three long and challenging years since all the Cru ministries were able to gather as a family, face-to-face! The Lord showed up in so many ways as we spent time in worship and prayer, heard messages from His Word and attended seminars to equip us to serve more effectively

We celebrate what God is doing through Cru ministries drawing people to Himself! In 2021 there were 764 million views of the Jesus Film Project with 19 million indicated decisions for Christ! We are releasing our 2,000th language version of the Jesus Film along with 200 other short films, and planning has begun on a new version in 2024. Did you know you can have these FREE resources in your pocket to share any time in all these languages? It’s available in the App store or Google play. Just search Jesus Film Project. There are countless stories of God using short, divine appointments where someone has heard the Good News in their heart language!


Our biggest personal takeaway from the Conference was
 the message on being sent. The #1 way Jesus referred to His Father was “the Father who sent me.” In John 20:21 He said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.” If we are honest, we are excited and terrified by that verse.  Heather Holleman’s personal journey of learning what it means to be “sent” is priceless.  Heather talked about having a “rich theology of place” — understanding that wherever God takes us, even through personal pain, there’s more to the story. He may have us there to allow us to connect to a moment in eternity.

Do you ever think, “I must be missing something about being sent,” or feel bad about your role in the Great Commission? Heather shares her journey through these struggles in the tough world of academia. Our original post contained a link to view Heather’s message. However, due to circumstances beyond our control, her session is no longer available. You can get her book “Sent” and many other resources from Heather at heatherholleman.com. By the way, other main sessions from Cru22 are currently at https://www.cru.org/us/en/about/cru22-sessions.html.

Thank you for your prayers and gifts that enable us to serve the Lord and help others to serve Him. We are grateful for you!

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.  Click the following:  August 2022 newsletter hard copy. 

We Couldn’t Do It …


Because of your prayer and financial partnership with us, men and women, boys and girls are hearing the gospel and learning to walk with Jesus. We could not do this work without a team partnering with us and sending us out so we can also send others out. Thank you!

Here are highlights from the ministries of a few people you helped send through your partnership.

Marie ministers to collegiate athletes in Puerto Rico. The women’s basketball team now pray together before and after their games, and she holds a AO1 sign at their games to remind them that their play is a gift of worship for their Audience of One.

Marie and some of her team.

Kory builds into student leaders like Zach and Mike at Ohio Dominican who shared the gospel with Ty. After many conversations with them about Jesus, Ty recently received Christ saying he didn’t want another day to pass without saying, “yes” to Jesus. Kory went to prison last weekend. He took a group of athletes to play basketball with inmates as part of a prison ministry. Gang leaders gather to watch and discuss Christian rap videos, and God has blessed the ministry through friendships that have developed and violence that has been reduced in the prison yard as a result.

Kory’s bible study

Vincent, a former linebacker and now chaplain for the Cincinnati Bengals, spoke recently to 100+ youth at Anthony Muñoz’s Impact for Eternity camp, encouraging them to know God’s Word in community with other believers. Vincent and his wife Noel hold a Bible study with players and their wives and girlfriends.

Ashley has been ministering to women’s basketball coaches at the U. of GA and has seen them experience true life change because of their pursuit of Jesus. She also had several athletes attend AIA’s Ultimate Training Camp for the first time with significant growth resulting from the experience.

Kaylyn’s softball team at CIU finished 2nd in the NCCAA World Series where they participated in a service event with underprivileged youth in Kansas City. Several want to partner with a local school in NC when they get back by adopting a class and creating a mentorship program where they can share the love of Jesus through sports.

Hailey works with student athletes at several colleges in the (937) area code, including track and cross country girls at Wright State University. Kaitlyn, one of the runners there, was recently baptized as God placed it on her heart to live her life completely for Him.

Haley’s bible study

Thank you for sending laborers like these into the harvest field.  We are grateful for you!

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.  Click the following:  June 2022 hard copy newsletter to print a card copy. 

Shaped for His Purpose


Meet Kaylyn, one of the new staff members Karen coaches. Kaylyn grew up playing softball and played for both D1 and NAIA teams in college. She coached at Columbia International University in Columbia, SC while she completed her master’s degree in organizational leadership and afterward. Kaylyn will lead a new softball department at Athletes in Action’s headquarters in Xenia, OH.

God has shaped her life for this role through adversity and opportunity. In college Kaylyn went on three mission trips to the Middle East with Competitive Edge International. In her role with AIA Softball, she will recruit for, and lead similar mission trips with softball players from around the US. These trips have the dual purpose of sharing Christ in the places they go and discipling the players who go on them.

While Kaylyn is a very positive person, she has been shaped through adversity. Besides losing her final softball season due to covid, Kaylyn had unexplained hearing loss as a child and had to get hearing aids. Sports was her escape because she was athletically gifted and because listening and speaking on the field didn’t mark her as different. Then when she was a high school junior, Kaylyn developed tinnitus in its most severe form, resulting in anxiety and depression. Medication and counseling have helped, but God has given her a desire to use her weakness for His glory, and He is using her story. Because some of her players deal with anxiety, Kaylyn can uniquely minister to them through her openness about her own journey.

Kaylyn currently disciples the players at the Christian college where she coaches. One of her pitchers recently said, “I honestly forgot how much I loved playing the game. It has been so freeing to just worship instead of being caught up in my performance all the time.” Kaylyn says: “I could not have been more excited for her! Seeing this shift happen in her and knowing the work the Lord has been doing in her life is incredible.”

Right now, Kaylyn’s team is in Kansas City, MO at the NAIA softball World Series. Pray for their witness and pray they’ll play for the glory of God.

Thank you for helping us mobilize laborers like Kaylyn to grow God’s kingdom through sports.   We are grateful for you!

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.  Click the following:  May 2022 hard copy newsletter to print a card copy. 

It would not be possible without …


AIA Catalytic Ministries, the part of our ministry where Rick serves, is a short-term, direct ministry experience to a specific audience that will start or accelerate a movement-building strategy. Primarily, this is played out through three categories: camps and clinics, training and academies, and team building and retreats.

Each part of Athletes in Action has its own distinctive contribution to reaching “every” and creating movements, and no one staff member is responsible for an athlete’s complete spiritual journey. Sam, pictured below, is a great example of this.

As a wrestler in Indianapolis, Sam came to some Indy AIA events. There, he connected first with our campus staff, and later with our wrestling ministry. Our staff were able to connect him with a scholarship, which gave Sam the chance to travel to Moldova and Ukraine with AIA Wrestling. There he shared his faith, presented his testimony in a juvenile prison and  grew tremendously.

Through Sam, our campus staff continued building relationships with the Indy Men’s Wrestling team and organized a community service project for the athletes to do. This increased trust with the coaching staff, and when our campus staff were given the opportunity to present AIA to the wrestlers and share what we are about, 30 of the 40 student-athletes on the team indicated interest in further involvement.

Multiple touchpoints, events, people, and conversations took place for all this to happen. It was a dynamic movement with lots of moving parts, and much of it wouldn’t have been possible without many team members working together to reach “every” through the power of the Holy Spirit.

This Is what AIA Catalytic Ministry is all about.  Spiritual movement is not only taking place on a national scale, but also around the world. Italy, Albania, Croatia, South Africa, Puerto Rico and Jamaica are our partnering countries for 2022. At minimum, each of these places is post-Christian, under evangelized, and characterized by spiritual darkness. We also have a presence in six restricted countries comprising 3,342 unreached people groups.

Your partnership is impacting the sports world both here and around the world so that one day people from every nation, tribe and language will surround the throne of Jesus to give Him glory.  We are grateful for you!

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.  Click the following:  April 2022 hard copy Newsletter to print a card copy. 

He is Working Through it All


One of the ways Athletes in Action leverages the platform of sports to share the good news of Jesus is through large sporting events. For the past 25 years AIA has hosted the Super Bowl Breakfast and the presentation of the Bart Starr Award to a player who exemplifies character on and off the field. The event draws hundreds of sports, business and community leaders who hear about Jesus. This year’s event featured a presentation of the gospel by CBS NFL studio host James Brown. Watch here 2022 Super Bowl Breakfast Online Special on YouTube.com.

2022 Keys to Life Award winner: Allan Houston

 AIA will also host the Wooden Keys to Life Award event (formerly the Legends of the Hardwood breakfast) during Final Four weekend where similar stories will be told about sports, successes, failures, family and faith. Events like these allow influencers in the world of sports and business who may never attend a church to hear the gospel and receive Jesus.

Thank you for partnering with us to reach the nations with the gospel through the platform of sports!

Cru and AIA have 120 Ukrainian staff with one now serving in the Ukrainian army, and many others are serving people in need in Ukraine and in neighboring countries. Some staff members have moved to the western side of the country or to neighboring countries; some have stayed, but all are sharing the hope of the gospel where they are. Our staff in Poland and Moldova have dropped everything to help refugees coming into their countries. You can join Cru and Give, Pray for, or Serve the Ukrainian people at Stand with Ukraine. You can also sign up for a 24/7 prayer chain for Ukraine at this site. Our staff report that shelling is the worst from 2:00-4:00 AM in Ukraine (7:00-9:00 PM Eastern time).

Pray for peace-bringers in this conflict and pray for those leaders who have the power to stop further escalation.

Pray for all our staff in Ukraine and their families and for believers in Ukraine and Eastern Europe—that they will be safe, stay close to Jesus and be a light for those around them.

Pray this conflict ends quickly, justly and peacefully. Pray that many turn to Jesus. Pray that Christians maintain their witness

Thank you for partnering with us to reach the nations with the gospel through the platform of sports!

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.  Click the following:  March 2022 hard copy Newsletter to print a card copy. 

They dog piled him!


At a recent Athletes in Action Chapel, our AIA Baseball department shared results from their 2021 baseball teams. Athletes in Action Baseball has U.S. teams in three collegiate summer leagues; the Scouts in Xenia, OH, which is a part of the Great Lakes Collegiate League, the Rochester Ridgemen in New York, and a team near Anchorage, Alaska. Tim, the head coach of the Xenia Scouts, shared how he was struck by the number of guys who were growing spiritually on the Scouts team, and that a culture of spiritual growth and authenticity was the norm. He shared this: 

Coach Tim and Cameron

“Cameron accepted Christ in the early morning of July 2nd and has been transformed for Christ. He now knows who his Savior is and where his true identity comes from!

“Another player, Noah, also accepted Christ on July 2nd right before our game started at 7:00 pm. After batting practice, before the game started, I went to get ready for the game and pray. As I walked out to the parking lot, I noticed our Chaplain, Taylor, talking to Noah, one of our pitchers. For whatever reason, I knew that God was leading me to go up to him and just hug him. When I did, Noah immediately started to cry and went limp in my arms. I held him and then looked into his eyes and said “Noah, there is NOTHING wrong with you and our God loves you more than you can imagine.

“Right after that, Noah told us that he wanted to pray and accept Christ into his heart and make Him the Savior of his life. Both Taylor and I were a little shocked, but we could see in his eyes that he was ready! We prayed and then hugged him.

Coach Tim and Noah

“We went on to play one of our best games all summer and won the game. Afterward, we invited Noah to tell the guys that he accepted Christ into his heart right before the game. The team went CRAZY!!! They dog piled him, and all of them started to hug Noah! It was a sight that I will remember for the rest of my life!”

Athletes in Actions Sports TEAM minister to (and through) hundreds of student athletes each summer. AIA’s goal is to teach every athlete to become a Total Athlete, one who is physically, mentally, and spiritually mature.

Through your prayer and financial support, you are helping us to send new Christ-centered laborers to serve in the harvest field. Thank you!

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.  Click the following:  February 2022 hard copy Newsletter to print a card copy.