Tuesday, December 18, 2012

For Us, Why AIA?

During the my time as a student at the University of South Florida, I was introduced to the athletic ministry (Athletes in Action) of the campus ministry (Campus Crusade for Christ, now Cru) I was heavily involved with. I want to share with you about these missional organizations and why my husband, Tyler, and I chose to serve full time with Athletes in Action as campus staff.

Tyler grew up playing multiple sports and wrapped up his official athletic career as a wide receiver at USF. I, on the other hand, dabbled in sports here and there growing up but preferred to scream sideline. However, we share the passion for athletics. We also share a deep passion for Jesus Christ and the furtherance of the Gospel message. As we sought God, individually prior to marriage, we both felt God's calling to serve in full time ministry. And almost immediately after deciphering our calling, we knew God wanted us with Athletes in Action.

Here is Cru's Statement of Faith and some information about Athletes in Action. We are in complete agreement with their beliefs, that was number one for us. As we got to know the leadership, it was evident that they were in close relationship with the Lord and their humility was undeniable. I vividly remember Tyler telling me that trusting and submitting would not be a problem because of the humility displayed by our leadership. Hearing such confidence from my husband, spoke volumes to my heart. We have already felt warm and welcomed by fellow staff and we haven't been a part of this organization family for very long. Aside from how much we appreciate the people, we have seen God use the ministry of AIA to bring people into a new and deeper relationship with Christ. On our first week here at Rutgers, Tyler sat in on a meeting with our director, John, and a football player. During the meeting, the football player prayed to receive Christ! On a separate day, I sat in on a discipleship appointment with John's wife, Missy, and two volleyball girls. One of the volleyball girls shared that over Thanksgiving break she invited Jesus into her life for the first time! Now, these student athletes are being trained in the basics of the Christian faith. These are just two examples of how God uses the ministry of AIA to bring people to Himself.

As much as we love and support the organization of AIA, we are not claiming it to be perfect or above another [athletic] ministry. I stumbled upon these three articles not long ago and can say that measuring AIA against the bullet points, it is a solid (not perfect) organization with a long history of Christ centered service.

"...if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." 
- Acts 20:24 

Our personal beginning with AIA: I served as an intern with AIA from Nov 2010 - Dec 2011 at USF while Tyler finished school and was involved with AIA at USF as a student. During 2011, we applied for full time staff positions. This would require us to undergo two years of on-campus training by senior AIA staff. We were accepted and began our initial training in January 2012 with all of Cru's ministries at New Staff Training in Daytona Beach, Florida. While we were there, we found out our initial on-campus training placement -- Rutgers University in New Jersey! Beginning in February of this year, we began to trust God for our financial needs. By November, God had raised up all of our initial financial needs and we were packing for our big move! The day after Thanksgiving, we were headed north! We've now begun serving at Rutgers and are enjoying being part of a movement on campus that is centered around the Gospel.

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