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. 

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. 

Can Soccer Spread the Gospel?


Shaun and Karlie

Shaun and Karlie, a couple I (Karen) am currently coaching, will be joining AIA’s soccer department. Isaac, the director of the department, recently used our brand-new sports performance facility to coach a group of boys from inner city Dayton. He and fellow soccer staff member, Karen work together to reach out to refugee and immigrant kids through “the beautiful game,” since soccer is played worldwide by 250 million, and is watched worldwide by 3.5 billion people. There are even kids from an unreached people group in the youth soccer program.

Isaac says, “Ohio winters offer limited opportunities for outside play. A lot of the kids we minister to don’t have transportation to, or can’t afford club sports, so they have no chance for training throughout the winter, but they have skill. Some could be good enough to get college scholarships. We can help build a brighter future for these kids. They, in turn, can reach their families and friends for Christ as they give back to their communities. We pray the Sports Performance Center will be a place of spiritual multiplication.”

A group of Dayton Soccer participants in the Sports Performance Center

Amos was a kid participating in The Academy, an invitation-only development camp held at the new center. He wanted the soccer help, but not the personal and spiritual stuff, so he dropped out. He got into some trouble, and a couple of months later he returned with an apology. “I want to come back. You wanted what’s best for me,” he acknowledged.

AIA soccer provides for kids’ needs through donating cleats, clothing, food, sports training and Bible study. We also partner with a local ministry called No Longer Strangers, which provides after-school tutoring and rides to our campus in Xenia. As we serve the total athlete by helping them grow physically, mentally and spiritually, we pursue our mission of building spiritual movements everywhere through the platform of sports so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus.

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.  Click the following: April 2021 newsletter to print a card copy.

The Gospel and Sports Performance


A few weeks ago, AIA opened a new Sports Performance Center at our headquarters in Xenia, OH. Within days, the new strength and conditioning facility was busy with athletes being coached by AIA staff members who were being mentored by former Cincinnati Bengals strength coach, Jeff.

Coach Jeff mentoring our interns and staff.

“The vision of having our sports performance facility filled with high school teams, local soccer athletes, collegiate camps and athletes from around the world is coming to fruition before our eyes,” says Tim, our property manager.

The 10,000 square foot AIA Sports Performance Center gives us a destination for innovative and pioneering ministry that changes the lives of people locally and extends around the world. Athletic training and strength and conditioning impact every sport, every day, in all age groups. The new facility gives our ministry a home from which our team of accomplished athletic trainers and strength coaches have the opportunity to introduce people to the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

Paul, the director of AIA’s Sports Performance department says, “The facility is part of a Sports Performance Institute which will focus on the Total Athlete — mind, body and spirit. Our programming will range from developing strength, speed, and agility to athletic training services that touch people’s lives when they are most vulnerable — during injuries. Our vision is to partner with every aspect of AIA to change lives. Our desire is to work locally to impact the lives of youth and athletes of all ages and then extend that influence globally. The quality of this facility including digital ministry capabilities is attracting athletes and coaches from all over the US and the world.

Left to Right: Paul and Tim

“Providing expertise with humility as we serve others allows us to be used by God to change lives. The call is to reach every person with the love of Christ. Sports is a universal language that attracts and provides opportunities for spiritual conversations. Sports Performance is an avenue that connects the heart of the unbeliever to a life of fulfilment knowing their identity is not found in their performance, rather it is only found in Jesus Christ.”

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.  Click the following: March 2021 newsletter to print a card copy.

What is a Coach’s Mission?


We’ve all had mentors. Why do some really make a difference? They probably pursued a personal relationship with you, as well as taught you the X’s and O’s, so you not only became a better athlete, musician or student, but you became more successful in life.

AIA recently held the U30 Leadership Experience, a multisport digital conference for 93 coaches of athletes under 30. Coaching requires pouring into athletes and students daily. As a coach, it’s hard to keep this up without someone pouring into you. The U30 was designed to refresh, equip, and build community for coaches so they can become influencers for God’s kingdom.

Jake
Amber

Here are four coaches’ takeaways. Find their comments by searching “U30 Impact” on YouTube.

• “One speaker told us: ‘Keep your barometer of success in your why.’ If you do not compare or worry about the opinions of others, but you trust God, success will follow.” Amber S.

• “I was able to connect with some great coaches, get some great insight and grow a lot spiritually and as a leader, especially through a Bible study afterward”. Jake B.

LaMeisha
Jordan


• “They really opened up my eyes to the bigger aspect of coaching — being able to give yourself a break, creating relationships with the kids and leading them to Christ.” Jordan C.

• “My biggest takeaway was to be intentional with my players, coaches, and peers. Greatness in God’s eyes is not found in how many serve the leader, but how faithfully the leader serves others.” LaMeisha L.

These digital conferences build not only coaching skills, but community to help coaches have godly influence on the next generation!

Praise God with us for these coaches who are investing their lives to make an eternal difference in the lives of others for His Glory!

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.  Click the following: November 2020 to print a hard copy newsletter.

New Beginnings and Introductions


(L to R: Annie, Emily, Elizabeth, Karen, Laura, Andrew Rick, Erica Pairrish, Bella, Ellie, Austin, Aaron)

A few weeks ago, our family and friends gathered to celebrate the wedding of our older son, Andrew to his love, Laura. Their wedding had to be postponed due to Covid-19, and they had to change their honeymoon plans four times due to changing travel restrictions, but God blessed us with a beautiful day for their outdoor wedding in Harpers Ferry, WV. We rejoice with them as they begin their life together as husband and wife.

“Let marriage be held in honor among all …” Hebrews 13:4

(L to R, Hailey, Kelly, Karen, Karen, Shaun, Karle)

These pictures feature new AIA staff members Karen is coaching. They are following God’s call to help fulfill the Great Commission by sharing Christ through the platform of sports. Your partnership is enabling us to mobilize a great team of Christ-centered laborers who will touch lives for eternity.

Brandon & Johnna

Hailey will be serving at Wright State U. and other schools in that area, Kelly will be serving in our Sports TEAM division in women’s basketball, Shaun and Karlie will be serving in the same division in soccer, and Brandon will be serving at the AIA challenge course. They will be sharing the gospel and discipling new believers both here and around the world. Thank you for partnering with us.

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.  Click the following: October 2020 Newsletter to print a hard copy newsletter.

Praise God with us for these men and women who are investing their lives to make an eternal difference in the lives of others for His Glory!