Sports Spectrum believes in highlighting local ministries doing awesome work through sports. Today we feature AGAITAS as told by their Director and Founder Ryan Burgher
On a Sunday morning in April, 2012, our pastor at Mission Point Community Church in Warsaw, Indiana, Kondo Simfukwe, spoke to us about not looking back and having regrets. He encouraged his congregation to listen: if God was telling them something to do, then do it! So, we did! Two months later, AGAITAS was formed and we hosted our first free soccer camp for 37 kids. Six years later, we are preparing for our 6th Soccer Camp, 3rd Baseball Camp, and our 2nd Basketball Camp!
Our organization is called AGAITAS (Ah-gah-tas) the name combines the Greek word for love (Agape) and the Latin word for truth (Veritas). We love because we know the truth. Our mission is to bring glory to God, see lives changed, and develop leaders through sports. We shaped our organization on the story of Jesus and the feeding of the 5,000 in John 6:9. Jesus used a boy, who had little, to bless a large group of people. We wanted to do the same. God gave me the small ability to play and coach soccer, so I wanted to use that to impact people.
In the summer of 2012, AGAITAS used our passion for Christ and soccer to provide a free soccer camp to kids in our community. This camp originally had two goals: (1) to reach out to families that might not be able to afford to go to any other summer camps, and, (2) to use the gifts that we were blessed with no impact our community for Christ. This organization has grown from being just a soccer camp to become a multi-sport ministry to the community. We have also expanded our first goal to include kids from all walks of life, social status, backgrounds, and nationalities to come together. The second goal has stayed the same and each day we are using the gifts that we were blessed with to impact the community for Christ.
What initially began as a soccer ministry changed in 2015, when Alex Miller approached Ryan Burgher about starting an AGAITAS baseball camp. “I saw what Ryan and AGAITAS were doing through soccer and I wanted to provide that for kids with baseball.” That was the beginning of the first AGAITAS Baseball Camp in the summer of 2015, started by a sophomore student athlete at Warsaw Community High School. “I knew I should do this, and there many times I had doubts and wasn’t sure how it was going to go. But, I just went for it, ” says Miller. “Find a passion and just think of a way to intertwine that with Christ.”
The ministry continued to grow when Ryan Bricker decided to join the AGAITAS board as the Director of Basketball Operations. “God used sports, especially basketball, to impact my life in incredible ways,” said Bricker. ” I believe youth sports are one of the primary ways to reach, not only large numbers of kids, but their families. Through sports, we have a tremendous open door into the lives of those within our community.” In the first year, 140 kids attended AGAITAS Basketball Camp at the Grace College Rec Center. Scott Moore, the Director of the center, says: “I couldn’t be more excited to partner with AGAITAS and their mission. A lot of these young men and women are looking for opportunities to grow and AGAITAS provides that for them.”
Now we are beginning our sixth year of AGAITAS camps. There have been over 890 kids who have heard about LOVE and TRUTH. We are all invested in this because we truly believe that what we are doing is bringing glory to God and changing lives.
“What really makes AGAITAS special is how all involved, from the organizers, and volunteers, to the participants, are changed daily by Christ’s love shown through the enthusiastic sharing of high quality technical and spiritual instruction,” says AGAITAS Vice President David Wayne. “This change, we trust God, will be used to inspire and grow leaders of all ages in our community that are willing to be at the forefront of carrying the message of love to a hurting and seeking world.”
For more, visit them at www.AGAITAS.com.