A significant part of Athletes in Action’s ministry is providing sports chaplains in several professional sports and for Olympians. Many people think that elite athletes have it made because of the fame and money they enjoy, but chaplains to these athletes share a different perspective. “An athlete is viewed as a commodity, not as a person,” says Reza Zadeh, AIA chaplain for the Denver Broncos. “They don’t know who to trust because everyone’s out to get something from them.” Former Boston Celtics chaplain Bill Alexson says, “People love them for what they do, not who they are. Their careers are temporary, and when it’s all done, they’re kind of left high and dry. At chapel, they come in and give their burdens to the Lord. A lot of these guys find peace for the first time.”
“The one thing we do more than anything,” says Mike Tatlock, chaplain to the Portland NBA team, “is to help them with their emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. We bring to the table the peace of Christ that passes all understanding. That is the remedy for the things that these guys struggle with.” Chaplains offer Bible studies, retreats, chapel services and individual discipleship with players, coaches and others in the organization. Many chaplains’ wives also conduct Bible studies for the players’ and coaches’ wives and girlfriends.
When Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin collapsed during the game with the Cincinnati Bengals in January, the medical team jumped into action, and so did Vincent Rey, AIA chaplain to the Bengals (and one of Karen’s coachees). He prayed with the Bills’ chaplain and then went to the locker room to support the team. “I gave out a couple dozen hugs just to let them know I’m here.” He also saw the opening for the gospel: “I had a chance to give a message to some people within the organization and management and even some of the coaches. Even though it was a hard thing to get through, I think the Lord used it to get glory throughout our nation.”
Please pray for AIA chaplains as ministers of the gospel and for major sporting events like the upcoming John Wooden Keys to Life breakfast in conjunction with the NCAA Final Four basketball championship.
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: March 2023 Newsletter hard copy.