You’re Sending Laborers


At Cru headquarters in Orlando stands a sign that reads: “Boldly proclaim Jesus Christ and His life-changing love and truth to every person, and urgently mobilize co-laborers for the global harvest.”

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A few weeks ago, I (Karen) had the privilege of traveling to Cru’s headquarters to meet a group of about two dozen men and women from their 20’s to their 60’s who have responded to God’s call on their lives to proclaim the gospel all over the world. This newest group of staff met in Orlando to receive training to assemble a team of prayer and financial partners so that they can report to their assignments. They will be serving with Athletes in Action and eight other Cru ministries which all share the vision of building spiritual movements everywhere so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus.

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The AIA staff who participated are assigned to campuses in Indiana, Ohio, Kansas, Florida, Minnesota, Texas and Rhode Island. Because of their presence on these campuses, athletes will hear the gospel, be discipled and begin reaching their friends, their teams, their campuses and the world with the gospel.

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I am working with a group of these new AIA staff to encourage, disciple and help them prepare to win, build and send multiplying disciples into the harvest. I love working with them, helping them to be accountable, cheering them on and encouraging them take leaps of faith and obedience to Jesus. They are taking initiative to reach out to everyone they know in the power of the Holy Spirit to invite them to be part of changing the world for the glory of God. This week I have heard comments from my interns like, “I really needed to hear that,” “Our conversation was a game changer,” and “I thank God for your help.” Thank you for helping us mobilize laborers for the harvest!

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Interns in the midst of their training weekend.

Our new address is 6300 Sedge LN, Hilliard, OH 43026-2111. Update our contact info.

Your support impacts countless lives with the gospel every day!

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.

Click the following: October 2018 to print a hard copy newsletter.

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74 Days this summer


This summer Athletes in Action will have at least one missions project in the field from May 15th to August 27th. . There will be 40 teams serving in 30 countries from New Zealand to South Africa to Poland. Right now, Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 9.20.12 AM.pngthe Poland Basketball and Ivory Coast Volleyball teams are conducting their training camps in Xenia. In addition, our men’s soccer project to Portugal and East Asia basketball teams are in country. Get a glimpse into their mission by going to Goaia.org’s Opportunity Blog. My role continues to be providing financial/operational insights to help each team complete their mission.

Our basketball ministry just put on a Men’s Captain’s Academy where 21 athletes spent five intense days learning how to integrate their faith and love of basketball to help them Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 9.22.10 AM.pngbecome not only leaders on their teams, but to become all God wants them to be for life.

In June and July there will be Ultimate Training Camps and leadership projects on our Xenia campus. I (Rick) am blogging for the high school Ultimate Training Camp (UTC), June 24th-30th.  Last year 28 of 75 athletes accepted Christ! Follow this year’s project now at Goaia.org’s High School UTC and ask the Lord to change the lives of those attending the 2018 camp.

On the homefront, we celebrated Annie’s graduation from Eastern Michigan U., and Aaron is finished with high school. Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 9.59.42 AM.pngWe have also been working the last few months to sell our home and downsize. We plan to list May 31st and then live in an apartment for at least a year. As of August 1st our new address will be 4300 Sedge Lane, Hilliard, OH 43026.

Your support impacts countless lives with the gospel every day!

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.

Click the following: May 2018 Newsletter to print a hard copy newsletter.

Achieving their highest potential


Coach Rob: I’ve seen players and coaches develop as disciples due to AIA … helping Christian players achieve their highest potential, using their platform to promote Christ.

Coach Rob’s statement sums up Sports TEAM’s 2017 ministry year! We fielded 32 different mission projects in 19 countries, including the U.S. These projects involved competitive teams, coaching clinics, Ultimate Training Camps or leadership academies, based on the needs of the ministry team we were serving.

Sports TEAM Staff Retreat 2017

Sports TEAM Staff @ John Bryan Park (Rick, 2nd row, 3rd from left)

Our biggest impact is changed lives. Coach Kara explains, While it’s been five years ago, the experience we had together will forever impact the way I coach and develop the culture among my current athletes. God did amazing things through these teams: they shared the gospel with over 400 individuals one-on-one, and nearly 5,000 heard the gospel in group settings. In addition, Sports TEAM had the privilege of training 120 interns. While only God knows how many new names were added to the Book of Life, we know of at least 230 people who gave their lives to Christ.

Our opportunity to impact lives grows as our involvement with coaches and athletes expands. Coach Cranston agrees. Showing athletes and coaches how to use this platform to honor and serve the Lord is special, and Jesus will use you in incredible ways if you’re willing to show up for Him! Over the last two years, AIA has accelerated the development of new camps and academies at the request of many leaders in the sports world.

Coach Matthews told us, “Today’s athlete is slowly getting more and more difficult to coach, and new laws are lessening our rights to be outward with our faith.” Yet God is opening more and more doors to impact our country’s future leaders, because both academic and sports leaders know that without character, their teams and athletes will not reach their full potential now or in the future.

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.

Click the following: October 2017 Newsletter to print a hard copy newsletter.

Perfectly Chosen!


Ashley, an AIA staff member, just returned from a Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 9.18.22 AMvolleyball mission trip she directed in Asia. At the end of their trip, the team of college students took time at a hostel to process and debrief the week: the good, the hard and the divinely inspired.

As the director, it was special for Ashley to look back and to hear the team examine and share their stories, laugh about funny things that occurred and prepare together to head back home, different from this experience. “We talked about what God showed us that we want to take home and bring into our everyday lives.”  “This group was unique and perfectly chosen by God.”

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 9.18.37 AMGod chose this team for His purposes in each of their lives and on their mission field, but that’s just one project. We watch God do this 30-40 times every year! Three projects have already completed His purposes in 2017 and two are in the field with many more to come.

God hand-selects each team, and every one is different. Just ask the AIA staff members who direct each trip, and they will tell you the stories of how God knits together and designs each team uniquely for His purposes.

Some team members are well-known for their abilities; some Ao1 Imagedon’t yet know the Lord. Most want an opportunity to make a difference in the world, regardless of their skill level, by trusting God to show them how to worship Him through their love of sports. Normally, the team members have never met before, but they finish their project with a lifelong bond. Everyone ultimately learns it’s all about serving for an Audience of One.

Each team has a number of roles that must work together to accomplish their mission. Among them are those who ask the Lord for wisdom, protection, and guidance as the team prepares and goes into the field. Here is where you can join over 30,000 others annually who follow/pray and share AIA’s projects. By visiting, praying and sharing AIA’s team blogs on Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 1.31.36 PMsocial media, you can be not only part of our ministry team, but that of 30 to 40 others as well. We can only imagine how God will use your prayers and sharing in your world and for these teams. Click the image to visit.

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.

Click the following: March 2017 Newsletter to print a hard copy newsletter.

23 Changed Lives


In addition to leading AIA’s Team Blogs, I had the privilege of serving with the Xenia High School Ultimate Training Camp (UTC) this summer. Erin, our director, captured our team experience:

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“My team would arrive around 7 and I’d lead them in a staff meeting and prayer time, work on all of the logistics for the day and watch the Lord do His thing in these athletes’ lives until very late into the evening. My whole staff team operated on very little sleep and poured themselves into these athletes all week. I was reminded that all of the planning and hard work that went into this week was worth it. Twenty-three athletes made the decision to trust Christ as their Savior for the first time and are committed to go back to their teams and apply the principles they learned throughout the week. #UTCXenia!”
Over three months, 72 stories were published about the HS UTC. You can witness what God Xenia High School Ultimate Training Camp .

Family News

Walking Ellie to AlterThis summer has been quite eventful! Our family witnessed two big events for Ellie and Elizabeth.
On July 30th our family celebrated the marriage of Ellie to Austin. God blessed their day with great weather at the outdoor wedding in Mt. Sterling, OH.

Ellie, Austin, Karen
A few weeks ago, we rejoiced as Elizabeth started a new chapter in her life, one that’s exciting for all students, but exceptional in Elizabeth’s case.

Elizabeth at OU

Most of you know Elizabeth suffered from an extremely bad concussion and missed a year and a half of school. Through much prayer, God’s grace and very a talented concussion medical team at the University of Pittsburgh, Elizabeth is now attending Ohio University. Praise God!

Please review our prayer page  and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.

Click the following:   Sept 2016 Newsletter to  print a hard copy newsletter.

Discover your “why!”


Why do we work, play, or do anything?

There’s a motivation for everything we do, whether we are conscious of it or not.

In three minutes you can watch how AIA is helping hundreds of athletes and coaches every year to discover their “why.”

During this project, many on the team discovered their foundational rock which they will build upon for the rest of their lives.

Can you imagine helping someone discover their why, their foundational rock of life?  Now imagine this being your job!  That’s our privilege.

Please share this post so others can learn about opportunities with AIA.

If you are on Facebook, please like our ministry page and start following Athletes in Action’s Ao1 page. You can partner with us by sharing AIA’s ministry with people in your network.

Learn more about Athletes in Action or our ministry.

Once we know…


Have you ever experienced meeting someone who expressed compassion or care without any strings attached? Your world,June 2014, Darvin sharing gospel at least for a brief period, might have been transformed. Imagine further that this person traveled thousands of miles to meet you. How would you feel? If you’re like me, you would be wondering what was going on.

Amanda, Kristen, and Gabriel found themselves expressing compassion to a young man recently in Puerto Rico. As he realized they were expressing true compassion, everything changed. Kelsey and Grant were also sharing with four young men, and by the end of the conversation two of them accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.

June 2014, Amanda, Kristen, GabrielThese students were part of AIA’s Extreme Challenge project to Puerto Rico – one of 15 missions projects currently underway or recently completed. They are experiencing what it means to be connected to Christ and live out 2 Corinthians 4:6; For God who said “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” Just as Christ has pursued them, they are now pursuing June 2014, Kelsey and Grant
others because of Christ’s love in their lives. The lives of these student athletes have been transformed as well, and they are experiencing an authentic relationship with Christ!  You can click on either image her them tell their story.

These are two of countless encounters for over 400 athletes/coaches serving in 30 countries around the world on at least 35 projects, touching thousands of lives. Together we and you are assisting them by training them on how to share what God is doing through their projects this summer for others to see. See more about these stories at “Fishers of Men” or visit AIA’s Team Blogs.

Your prayers and support allow us to serve with them!  Thanks!

Please review our prayer page and support needs and lift up our ministry to the Lord.  Click the following:  June 2014  to  print a hard copy newsletter.