Summer 2024

THE INCREASE: Ryan Hollingshead - A Watching World

Recently, a group of guys at our church — The Village Church in Plano, Texas — has been committed to a summer Bible study together, studying the book of 1 Peter. It’s a seven-week study, and one of the ministers on staff and I have been teaching it, wanting to grow in our ability to teach. After two weeks of teaching, I have learned a lot and seen how much I need to continue to learn.

Part of my goal after I’m done with playing soccer professionally is to go into full-time ministry. Because of this, I’ve been trying to work out if God has gifted me with the gift of teaching. I used to teach a lot at my college AIA group (Athletes in Action), but I’m now trying to discern, is that because it was a gift of mine or simply because I was being faithful, sharing my faith and was desperate for people to know Jesus? I can teach, I’m able, but is it what the Lord has for me down the road? As I practice this in different places and venues, I am able to discern this better and see if the Lord is behind it. Being able to do this at my local church has been a great opportunity.

I also know that God’s timing and plan is perfect in all of this because of the topic I was able to teach on. I was scheduled to teach different weeks, but due to schedule changes, I was assigned 1 Peter 2 and 3, which talk about submission. God knew I needed it. The first chapter talks about submission to those in authority over us. Peter uses a couple specific examples to speak of any situation in our society where authority is exercised.

There’s purpose and beauty in this structure and it’s been created to bring glory to God. It’s not about the authority figure taking power of position over us, and it’s not about us being in a position of weakness. It’s about us laying down our “yeses” to humbly submit to God’s authority.

This is a great truth for all of us, but I often find in my own heart a refusal to submit, and a desire to demand my “rights.” As I was teaching this passage on 1 Peter, the Lord was gracious to show me how slow I am to submit to those in authority over me, especially on the soccer pitch.

As a Christ follower, my ultimate goal is not to be treated justly or fairly. That’s not a bad pursuit, but more important is to suffering for righteousness sake even if it is at the hands of injustice, in order to honor the Lord. It’s easy to get caught up in our culture, which tells us to demand our rights and fight for our preferences. We’re always seeking the freedom to do what we want, even if it’s not what’s necessary. If someone tells us we can’t have it, we fight even harder.

— Ryan Hollingshead, FC Dallas midfielder/defender

The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit for more stories and videos.