so close…

fundraisingSo close, so very close.  That is where my wife and I are on our fundraising journey with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  So very close to reaching our monthly support goal.

As most of you know we joined staff with FCA in the summer of 2016 and life has pretty much been a whirlwind since then.  We have definitely had some emotional ups and downs over the past two and half years with cancer, autism, celiac disease, car issues, and fundraising issues all hitting us over the course of that time.  In each of these situations though we have seen God work.  We have been amazed by his faithfulness as we have seen cancer taken away, therapies for autism, and great adjustment to the new lifestyle of being gluten free for Celiac disease.

Financially things have been tight due to our support level needing to be higher than it was for our previous ministry, more cost of living expenses with the move and kids getting older, medical issues, loss of some major support team members, and much more.  Throughout this time though, even though our support has not been at 100% we have seen over and over God work and provide for our family through the generosity of friends, family, and even faithful followers who we don’t even know.  We have truly been blessed and provided for.

As we approach the end of 2018 we are close than ever to reaching our monthly support goal of being fully funded.  We currently sit at only $290 a month from being at our support goal.  We are praying that in the next two months, God will provide the monthly or annual support partners needed to be fully funded.  Being fully funded means a weight would be taken off of us and we would be free to just go and serve.  Please join us in prayer that we would reach this goal by 2019.  Also, please pray about if you know anyone we can talk to about partnering with us that you could connect us to.  Lastly, pray about whether or not God would be leading you to join with us.  There is a link on the this blog where you can join our support team or feel free to contact me personally for more information.

Thank you for your prayers!

 

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a topic that I love…

This morning I am off to give a presentation on something that I love, Sports Ministry.  If you have followed this blog or know me at all it’s something that I am truly passionate about, love to talk about, blog about, and it’s the career that God has called me to as I serve with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In my personal opinion it is one of the best ways to reach our world for Christ and crosses more cultural and social barriers than almost any other form of ministry.

sports minToday, I am going to actually be sharing on a couple of topics, first of all the need for sports ministry and why we should be using it to reach our students.  Most of the reasons I am sharing about I have blogged about on here before.  Things like the fact that we live in a sports crazed culture and that over 17 million students K-12 grades are involved in school and community sports.  Also, I am going to be sharing about how we need to be using sports ministry as a way to reach coaches, because of the influence our coaches have.  Another stat that I recently got was also that almost 80% of our students are now unchurched.  By doing sports ministry we have an amazing opportunity to bring the Word of God to these students for the first time ever!

My 2nd topic that I am sharing on today is on how to prepare a chapel talk for speaking to a sports team.  I will be sharing tips on how to prepare and also some do’s and don’ts about preparation, presentation, and follow up.  The opportunity to go into a team practice or pregame routine and share a devotion/chapel with them is so amazing that it is something that we can not afford to not do well.  Whether that be how we communicate the Word and break it down for them, or just respecting the coaches time parameters.  As mentioned above about 80% of those we share with in a team chapel situation are not attending church so we must do our chapels well for Christ.

Please pray with me as I share in more detail about these topics this morning.  Also, if you would ever like to discuss anything with or relating to sports ministry please let me know!  If you are looking for a practical way to serve the Lord that reaches all kinds of people, you should definitely look into plugging into a sports ministry!

a great summer study…

truecompThis summer Erin and I were blessed to have a weekly Bible Study in our home for the student athletes at Eastern Kentucky University.  We got off to a slow start with a lot of the athletes going home for the first month of the summer.  However, by July many were back and for the rest of the summer out living room was overflowing with students.

Each week we would dive into one of the devotions is the “True Competitor” devotional that FCA puts out.  The lessons in the study are designed to help us realize where we are in our walk with Christ and also what needs to happen for us to grow closer and fully committed to Him.  What I have loved about the study is that while it is very simple and easy to understand, no matter how long you have been a Christ-follower, it goes deep and really makes you think about what areas of your life need work and to be fully surrendered.  I also love the fact that it really did foster some great discussion with our EKU athletes.  Getting to hear what God was/is teaching them and their hearts for Christ was truly awesome.

Last night, we actually wrapped up our summer Bible study and I have to admit that I am a little sad as I will miss the weekly deep dive with the students.  However, we are getting ready to launch our weekly meetings on campus and I can’t wait to see how they take what we studied this summer and really apply it through out the school year.  Please keep praying for our students and also I highly recommend you check out “True Competitor” for yourself.

thank God for camps…

summer-camps-bannerI had the privilege of growing up at a camp where my parents still serve.  It was a great experience getting to meet people from all over the country and sometimes  from around the world.  I also had access to horses, paddle boats and canoes, bb guns, archery, hiking trails, and best of all the camp gym anytime I wanted.  Of all the great things about camp as I look back now, the most amazing thing was getting to see the way that God used camp to change people’s lives.

At camp, I was able to see people removed from their comfort zones and away from all the distractions of life.  Then while at camp God began chipping away at all the baggage they carried and revealing their need of Him to them.  Year after year I, saw what a powerful tool for change the camp setting was/is.  Personally it was also at camp where I first felt called to go to Bible School and into ministry at the ages of 14 and 16.

While I am no longer working at my parents camp, God has blessed me with the amazing  privilege of serving with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  This summer, I got to help at basketball camps, wrestling camp, and our FCA Leadership Camp.  Each time, I saw kids coming for various reason like loving a sport or wanting to hang out with friends.  But even more amazing, I once again saw live changed for Christ.  At Leadership Camp over 500 students heard the Gospel and 30 gave their lives to Christ.  Once again, God took students out of their comfort zone, chipped away at the baggage, and they emerged as Christ-followers.

If you haven’t had the privilege of seeing the way God works through camps, I encourage you to make it a priority to do so.  If you are young enough find a good Christian camp and go.  If you are older find a Christian camp you can work/volunteer at.  If you want to know some great FCA camps let me know and I’ll point you in the direction.

finding my sweet spot…

31381164_10155359850217327_2674765949316046679_nThis past couple of years of switching from one ministry to a new one and moving to a new area of Kentucky have been crazy.  Throw in my wife having breast cancer, my son being put on the autism spectrum, and my daughter being diagnosed with Celiac Disease it’s taken a while to really feel settled and where I sort of know what I am doing.  To be honest there have been times where I definitely have felt unqualified for what I have been doing and just wondering how God can use me.

The past few months though I finally feel like I am hitting my sweet spot and really finally doing what I believe God has called me to do in ministry.  I’ve been able to go into high schools and middle schools and train coaches and teacher sponsors on how to do FCA on their campuses.  Even though, I used be petrified of speaking, I’ve been blessed to share on several occasions with students and challenge them to grow in their walk with Christ.  Perhaps that most exciting part of ministry for me over the past few months has been the launch of our FCA ministry on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University.  To get the chance to work with the college athletes has truly been a blessing.  Building relationships with the students, Seeing them grow in their walk with Christ, want to go deeper in Bible study, making commitments to faithfully participate in the local church, have all just been so confirming that I am right where God wants me to me be.

Don’t get me wrong, I know God has used me in various ministries, church activities, and other outreaches over the years.  And I know there is a time and a place for everything.  Yet, there are those passions and gifts that God has given that I don’t feel that I have always been able to use for Him.  I know that I still have much to learn and much more to do for God, but to finally be in a place where I am able to serve, and use the passion for ministry to coaches and athletes He gave, is just a wonderful place to be.  I am so excited to see how God is going to continue to just take that passion for sports ministry and FCA and use it for His Glory!  Just keep praying for me as I seek to serve.

a rollercoaster of a day…

Today, started out really well.  I had the opportunity to go share with a church about our ministry with FCA and ask them to partner with us.  I felt like I clearly communicated the vision of FCA and our passion for working with coaches and athletes and we seemed to have a good response.  I love sharing about the ministry God has called us to and am thankful for the opportunity to once again do so.

overwhelmedThe ride home from speaking though was where things started on a rollercoaster of an afternoon.  When I was halfway home, my wife called me to let me know that the battery in her van was totally dead.  Earlier in the week I had to buy a new battery for my car and so automatically I saw dollar signs and was cringing at the prospect of paying for another battery.

I arrived at home and managed to jump start her van to take it to the auto parts store.  As I was pulling out of the driveway I noticed water rushing from around our water meter and down the street.  Once again a sense of dread filled me as I pictured the water meter just spinning out of control and getting a bill that we would never be able to afford.  I called the water department and let them know of the issue and on the verge of wanting to cry I drove to the auto parts store.

On the way to the store I began to pray that God would take care of these issues and that we wouldn’t be financially overwhelmed.  I did a lot of pleading and just let God know that I was trusting in Him to help us out no matter the outcome.  While God doesn’t always answer prayers in the way we want, today I was overwhelmed by his immediate answers to prayer and the way he met our needs.

First of all, when I got to the auto parts store we were able to find out that the battery that went bad was under warranty.  They replaced it for free!  When I arrived at home the guy from the city water department came and was able to determine the water leak is on the city’s side of the line and so I won’t be responsible for any of the water or repairs!

I am so thankful for the way God worked all this out today, but most importantly just that once again I have seen Him work.  God is good and I am so thankful for all he has done, is doing and will do!

reasons for Sports Ministry…

Greetings from KY.  I have been absent from this blog for awhile, but I hope to change that with more regular posting.  One of my friends asked me to contribute monthly to a blog that his church does.  The post below is my first blog post for them that I wanted to share with you all.  It gives insight into why I am so passionate about using sports for Christ and hopefully it will encourage you to do the same.  I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to your feedback!

SPORT_1Hello, my name is Andy Owens and I serve with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Central and Eastern, KY as an Area Representative.  Even before, I went on full time staff with FCA God really gave me a passion for Sports Ministry, where you use sports and recreation as a tool to reach others for Christ.  So, for the past 17 years in some form I have been working full time in sports ministry.  For at least my first few blog posts I would love to share with you about how sports and recreation can intersect with your faith and family.  How these things don’t have to become idols or distractions in your life and walk with Christ but powerful tools.

Most of you will probably agree we live in a culture where sports, athletes, and coaches are very often idolized.  Our kids, and even adults, look up to these figures in sports like they are heroes.   As a result, Christians tend to fall into two categories when it comes to sports and athletics.

The first is that you really can’t tell that much difference between them and the rest of the world.  Even though they claim Christ as king of their life, participating in athletics or having their children in athletics is truly their main priority.  It affects the jobs they take, their moods, how they treat their family and friends, their church attendance and much more.  When it comes down to it, they do have a god in their life, but it is the idol of sports.

The second category that Christians tend to fall in to is that of separation.  They see the danger of letting sports and athletics become a god or at the very least a high priority and so they choose to stay away and not participate.  These people see sports and athletics as worldly and something that should be abstained from.

I would like to suggest to you that the proper way to view sports and athletics is in the middle of these two views.  One of the things I love about the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is our vision statement which says, “To see the world impacted for Jesus Christ through the influence of athletes and coaches.”  Both categories I mentioned above will agree that sports have a high place of value in our culture.  So rather than letting it rule our lives or staying totally away from it, let’s use it as FCA does, to impact our world for Christ.

In a sport crazed culture, those who participate are given a platform where there are people looking up to them as an example.  Billy Graham once said that in a year a coach will have the opportunity to impact more people for Christ than the average Christian will in their entire lifetime.  That is an opportunity to share Christ that we can’t waste on a poor testimony or choosing to stay away from.  For the athlete, former NBA star Charles Barkley once said that people shouldn’t look up to him and that he wasn’t a “Role Model.”  The problem with that statement is that in sports you don’t have a choice.  You have a platform and therefore you are a role model!  This is another platform that we as Christians must seek to take advantage of for Christ.

When you walk in any sports arena you see people of different ages, races, religions, and all kinds of other diversities.  As you look at these people it become abundantly clear that sports cross all kinds of social and economic barriers.  So, why as people that have been given the command to “go into the world and make disciples,” wouldn’t we use sports as a tool to obey the command that God has given us!

So, maybe you are reading this and thinking to yourself that you agree with me, but you are just not that into sports.   How does this apply to you?  Well, I would point out that as Christ-followers each of us has been given different gifts that give us each different platforms of influence in our world.  Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  Whatever plat form you have been given, use it to let your light shine before others and point them to Christ.  If you are an artist, use your art to point them to Christ.  If you are a musician, use your music to point them to Christ.  If you are a talker who has been given the gift of gab, use those social skills to point others to Christ.  If you are a coach or athlete, or just love sports, use the tool of sports and athletics to point others to Christ!

In our sinful sports crazed world, we must use the gift of athletics to reach the lost for Christ