In Philly, we’re not a one-man show. We’re not even a two- or three-man show. We’re made up of a group of really important men whose trained roles are critical for the growth and development of the team.
The same is true for our Christian brotherhood on the team. We don’t have one person leading our group, responsible for the spiritual growth of the rest of us. We trade off who shares the Word, we encourage and challenge each other to lead more, and we help each other out wherever there is a need. We’re continually looking for unique ways to have the Word taught, to support each other, and to share the love of Christ with others.
This year we’ve had some really cool opportunities to worship God and learn from His Word. When we travel on the road, we try to find different speakers or worship leaders to join us for our pregame fellowship time. A few weeks ago when we played against Carolina, we were able to have Mack Brock, former lead singer for Elevation Worship, come to our hotel and lead us in worship.
That same day we also had one of the pastors from our area fly down to share a message with us, and then baptize one of our teammates in the hotel pool. It was a powerful time of worship, hearing the Word taught, and celebrating new life! In a few weeks, when we’ll be in California for a week to play against the Rams and Seahawks, we’re looking forward to having some members of Jesus Culture come lead us in worship as well.
Yes, it’s great to have videos on YouTube where we can watch sermons and listen to worship songs (which we typically do prior to our games), but there’s something special about having these artists come to share with us in person. For some of us, we listen to their music on our iPods every day. For those who may be new to the faith, it exposes them to some amazing resources for Godly music. As we get to meet these artists and hear their stories — who they are, why they do what they do, about their families, and where they come from — we’re encouraged to share our own stories of God’s work in our lives.
These aren’t full-blown church productions; we simply set up in one of our hotel rooms or meeting rooms. Mack came into the room with only his voice and his guitar, ready to lead us. These moments are powerful, intimate times of worship as we gather as a tight-knit group of men, eager to draw closer to Christ. Everyone’s simply there to worship our great God. And we can feel the Spirit move among us as our hearts are softened and the truths about Him are shared.
It’s funny because most of the artists we meet wish they were professional athletes, and most of us athletes would die to be artists. When we get together, we realize that besides our faith in Jesus, we don’t really have anything in common. I possess zero musical talent; you wouldn’t want to see me try. Likewise, they would never step foot on a football field unless it was to perform the national anthem. But it’s powerful to experience the common bond of Jesus with people who are unlike you.
One thing that has stuck out to me about these artists is their boldness for Christ. They walk into a scenario they know nothing about, and into a group of people who are unlike them, but once they enter the room and meet us, they simply pour their heart out to God in worship and lead us to do the same. They open themselves up to be who God created them to be, using their gifts for His glory.
These artists practice and practice. Prior to an album release, they spend hours in the studio, perfecting the notes, beats and lyrics to a song. It can be a grind to devote so much time, thought and energy into a piece in order to make it excellent before they’re ready to perform.
Likewise, as football players we put a ton of energy and effort into practice before a Sunday, Monday or Thursday night game, taking the time to perfect our craft so we will perform at the highest level possible. I’m not an artist, I’m not a musician, but I am a football player. And no matter what God has gifted each of us to do, we’re called to do it with excellence.
We’re called to worship Him through our everyday lives, sharpening our skills and using our influence to bring glory to Christ.
– Trey Burton
Trey Burton is a tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles and a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.