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!

Cancelled means Opportunity


As of January 30th, the Sports TEAM division of AIA planned 40+ mission trips, leadership academies, and camps for 2020. Meanwhile, our leadership had been tracking the Covid-19 outbreak and planning since early January.Cancelled Image

Then on March 13th, we received an email from Cru stating:

“Effective March 15, all ministry sponsored projects, missions and conferences are postponed through June … limit group meetings to a maximum of 20 people until then… comply with all local, city, state and university guidelines during this time.”

Opportuintiy             Opportuintiy

Like every other organization, AIA is adapting to ramp up all forms of digitally operations for at least the next 30-90 days and maybe longer, while closing our traditional ministry facilities.

Stay tuned, we will share more about how AIA is adapting to full-time digital ministry. The good news for Karen and me is that both of us can and do much of our work through virtual and digital means.

Karen Working1

Karen is coaching and encouraging new staff. We just heard 58 people are currently applying for staff. God is clearly calling more to serve with AIA. In addition, she continues to write and edit for a variety of our platforms.

Rick Working

Rick’s role of providing analytics and insights for Sports TEAM leadership has become even more important around transitioning to an entirely digital ministry. He will be helping our division redefine and manage assisting our staff as we expand and explore new opportunities for ministry to athletes, coaches and sports fans. Your partnership with us is touching many lives through our staff.

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

Praise God for how He is leading us in redefining our ministry today and in the coming year! Your partnership makes a difference. 

Your Story Makes a Difference


The opportunities believers have to share God’s love and message of salvation through their lives seem almost unlimited. Here are two recent examples through two different parts of AIA’s ministry.

Indy Winter Retreat

Every winter, AIA helps college athletes grow in their walks with God through retreats. One retreat took place in late January in Indianapolis. Over 320 student-athletes from 39 different campuses attended. Kate, the retreat director, said that 42 athletes indicated decisions to follow Jesus and many more were energized to return to campus ready to live out their lives for Christ. Some commented: “I’ve learned to trust God through grief and surrender it all to Him … God is always faithful,” “Because of how God worked in my heart, I texted my mom, who I have a broken relationship with,” and “Everyone … is capable of joining God’s call to reach the world because God is with them.”

Super Bowl 2020 image

Ten years ago, a Michigan State football player attended an AIA winter retreat to help him grow in his walk with God. Now the quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, Kirk Cousins shared the gospel at AIA’s 34th annual Super Bowl Breakfast in Miami, Florida. The program featured many well-known and influential voices in the NFL. People who heard the testimonies will be encouraged to share their stories, too, so that more people will be drawn to Christ. Search “Super Bowl Breakfast 2020” on YouTube to get a recap and hear Kirk Cousins’ inspiring message.

One woman’s comment card at the breakfast asked for prayer for her husband to come to Christ. The very next card was her husband’s, indicating that he had placed his faith in Jesus for salvation. This man was one of 34 of the 1,400 in attendance who indicated first-time decisions to follow Jesus. Amen, and praise the Lord! Sports are a very effective way to share the love of Christ.

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

Praise God for new life in Christ from these events! Your partnership makes a difference. We are grateful for you! 

Thousands More


About 80% of people in the world play, watch or read about sports, so it is an effective platform for sharing the gospel. AIA currently has staff in 60 countries where we constantly strive to reach people with the gospel and to disciple them so they can reach others. In ⅓ of those countries we are focusing on a new paradigm to involve and equip more laborers for the harvest. The dual approach is to equip churches to reach their communities through sports ministry and to develop volunteer chaplains to minister to professional sports teams.

Adam, Jan 2020 Newsletter

Adam is the tall one. Piedad is on the right.

AIA staff member Adam K. recently traveled to Cali, Colombia, where he led the first sports chaplaincy conference there. At the 2008 Olympics, Adam met Piedad, the AIA country leader in Colombia. She has over 40 volunteers serving with AIA in her country. Adam partnered with Piedad to train over 20 new volunteer chaplains. Adam says, “I can’t imagine a finer group of like-minded Christ-followers to pioneer this new strategy in Colombia where we envision thousands more being raised up to point others to Jesus.”

“There is brokenness in sport,” Adam says. “Athletes are struggling in their personal lives and their personal development, and owners want their teams to have good reputations.” Because God has blessed, AIA is held in high regard around the world. Competing teams we have sent on mission trips have played a part, as have the good character and spiritual maturity of national staff members who have had much influence in the world of sports.

Adam, Jan 2020, group

AIA has provided chaplains for the Olympics since 1966 and chaplains for US pro teams, and we are praying for God’s favor and grace for international pro teams to agree to allow chaplains to serve them. We are trying to establish relationships with coaches, sports federation presidents, team owners and others to see sustainable, on-going ministry in countries around the world.

We will never have enough staff members to reach the entire world with the gospel, so creative ideas are required to involve more people in fulfilling the Great Commission to “make disciples of all nations.” Pray with us for more laborers.

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

Praise God for Adam and others who are pouring out their lives to reach another generation for Christ around the world!
We appreciate your partnership. We love you!