Being a part of a local church looks a little different for an NFL player.
We have such a short offseason, and during it my family and I have been spending time in between Florida and Chicago, trying to transition to the new team. In Florida, we have a great church we go to, but we haven’t been able to take any type of formal role there aside from giving out tithes and attending services. We simply can’t commit our time consistently with my schedule. I think I’ve been to church here a total of three or four times since the season ended.
And in Chicago I’ve been trying to visit churches on Sundays when I can to see where we can be involved during the season. I’ve found there are a ton of churches, but not many pastors. Most churches have multiple campuses with one pastor who simulcasts the sermons to all the campuses. I’ve never really seen that before; watching the message through video while at church is new for me.
Church takes a different role for us players during the season. Scripture says where two or more are gathered in God’s name, He is there (Matthew 18:20). Though we have many restraints and restrictions on our time and choice of location during the season, we have freedom to have Bible studies whenever and wherever we’d like! One thing that is really cool about being a pro athlete is that we can do church together as a community daily. We don’t have to wait until Sunday. And at the same time we can dig deeper because we meet with the same group of guys who can hold each other accountable, bounce thoughts and ideas off of each other, and build each other up. Our community is a really special thing we don’t take for granted.
Our outward ministry of serving others is done by the way we treat and serve each other, but also through the local community. That’s what we’ve been doing recently with By the Hands, a local non-profit organization that helps young kids receive the education they need to be successful. We used the whole month of May to map out what we can do to impact this city.
With this having never been done before here, we are excited to pave the way for years of impact in Chicago. The Bears are building relationships and connections with groups of people and organizations that really matter and are serving a greater purpose, which makes me really thankful to be here. One of the owners of the Bears, George McCaskey, is all in. He’s extremely hands on with these outreach efforts, coming with us to spend time with the kids and extending himself to build deeper relationships within the community. Having someone like him in our corner for these outreach events is really special, and empowers us to be able to do more.
With so much transition this offseason, it’s been tough to feel really grounded and plugged in with those whom I’ve built up a strong brotherhood with in the past, but I’m very grateful for the relationships I’m building with my new brotherhood here in Chicago. These will really be the guys I lean on this year.
Finding a local church for my family and pouring into my team’s community here gives me confidence and excitement for God’s plans for us in year ahead.
—Trey Burton, Chicago Bears tight end
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 TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.