Heading into training camp this season, I’m re-shifting my focus to be on making disciples. That’s what we’ve been called to do in the Great Commission, isn’t it? The mission isn’t just for us as Christian athletes to get guys into chapel, we have to think about how we can get guys around us to be reproducers in their spiritual lives — making even more disciples of Christ Jesus.
A great way to do that is to open up your home and simply let people in. My wife and I have been asking ourselves, “How do we live in community this season with a core group of men and their wives, so we can spiritual reproduce in an opening and loving environment? And what does that practically look like in the midst of an energy-draining season?” Our mission is bigger in light of eternity, and we need to make sure our thinking is aligned with that so we’re not thinking in terms of worldliness, focusing only on the football season ahead.
That is the hard balance for us as professional Christian athletes: How can we reach these men and women on a spiritual level while still taking care of our bodies and careers? We want to play at the highest level we can, but ultimately, that mission is secondary in light of the Great Commission.
So what does that look like for me? Last year in New York, we had a couples’ Bible study every other week where we were able to hang out with other couples and grow together. Here in New Orleans, I want to get a feel for what ministry and outreach they already have in place. We have an amazing group of Godly men who are great leaders on this team, men like Drew Brees, Benjamin Watson, Austin Carr and others. They are really locked in to the vision of living missionally.
Having men throughout the league who are dialed into this purpose and vision — men who are like-minded in faith and living missionally — makes it a lot easier to switch teams. There’s guaranteed accountability in this brotherhood. When it comes to new ideas for spiritual development and outreach on other teams, it’s not a foreign concept to these men. Instead, we’re aligned with the truth and mission God has for us. In fact, these ideas aren’t counter-cultural, they naturally come up in our conversations.
When I first entered the NFL, I didn’t think there were many guys who were this solid in their faith. I was surprised to find out just how many men weren’t simply professing to be Christians, but actually lived out their walk with Christ. This is the type of community we want to continue to foster and build upon. What would it look like if rookies who came into the league didn’t see this as a foreign concept, but as a faith community to look forward to and be challenged by?
What would that look like in your community?
“How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” — Romans 10:14-15
— Demario Davis, New Orleans Saints linebacker
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.