Drew Stanton is a guy who’s there when you need him. From joining the roster of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when he was semi-retired to helping people around the world get access to safe water, his trademark may be a willingness to help. It’s what earned him a Super Bowl ring in 2021. It’s also what inspires other athletes to live out their faith through generosity.
A longtime NFL player, Stanton kicked off his career in 2007 with the Detroit Lions. Over the next 12 years, he played for the New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns. He left the field in 2019 with a knee injury when his wife, Kristin, was pregnant with their fourth child.
On Christmas Eve 2020, he got a recruitment call from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After talking with his wife, he signed on to be their fourth-string quarterback for the season. The team went on to play in — and win — the Super Bowl. Stanton’s football career saw a resounding finish.
“It was such a cherry on top of my career,” he shared recently on the Sports Spectrum Podcast. “I had the door closed, but God found a way to open it.”
Even when Stanton wasn’t a starting quarterback, he found a way to be an asset to his team.
“I got used to thriving in the background,” he says.
His mentorship to teammates and dedication to the game mattered. He valued being in a community that was working toward a common goal.
“The team lifts you up when you’re down and keeps you humble when you’re high,” Stanton said.
In fact, his faith in Jesus Christ was nurtured by NFL chaplain Dave Wilson. Stanton grew up going to church, but his faith grew early in his NFL career. He says Wilson made a profound impact on him. Wilson even baptized Stanton and his wife.
“Before that, life felt like an up-and-down roller coaster. I wanted to accept God open-handedly,” Stanton said.
Ever since Stanton began living life as a Christian, he has felt compelled to serve the Kingdom of God. He and Kristen look for reputable organizations to support. They learned about Water Mission, a Christian engineering nonprofit, through the Pro Athletes Outreach conference.
“For me and Kristin, there was a natural connection,” Stanton says. “There’s a global water crisis that, here in America, we don’t understand.”
Through Water Mission, he learned that 2.2 billion people around the world lack access to safe water and walk many miles to fetch water that makes them sick.
To understand the global water crisis, Stanton says, “We put ourselves in people’s shoes who don’t have the simple luxuries we have almost every day.”
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Stanton and his wife also have another motivation for living generously — their kids. They try to model a servant’s heart for their four children. Stanton says he wants his kids to grow up looking for ways to help others.
“I want to show my kids how God is working all across the world and what it means to prioritize something bigger than yourself,” Stanton said.
Plus, he cites Water Mission as a vetted organization where he knows his gifts go to good use. He hears stories of how God is woven into the fabric of the organization. When no one else can help, Water Mission helps. When they build safe water solutions, people witness Water Mission and their local church working together in the name of the Lord. This opens doors to sharing the Gospel.
You can join Stanton in championing safe water and sharing the Living Water of Jesus Christ by getting involved today. Your prayers, time, talent and treasure can help bring safe water solutions to men, women and children around the world.
Katie Kelton is a freelance writer for Water Mission.
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