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    September 5, 2019 Lynchburg, Va. RSS |

    Liberty University Club Sports Ministry Director Brian Davidson is providing new opportunities for student-athletes to engage spiritually with their respective teams and throughout the campus community.

    Over the weekend of Aug. 23-24, Davidson and Club Sports Assistant Director of Business Operations Reese Braband led an "advance," rather than a retreat, for team representatives selected by their coaches as spiritual leaders.

    They discussed effective means of discipleship with teammates and how to be a witness to opposing players as well as fans, officials, and others they come into contact with as they travel throughout the season.

    "It was great to start out the year by looking at, ‘What is our mission and what is our vision, from a spiritual standpoint rather than a performance standpoint,'" Davidson said. "We asked ourselves, ‘How do we advance the Gospel in and through Club Sports?' We want to use the environment of competitive sports — which can be a greenhouse for growing pride — as a training ground for godliness and being on mission for God."

    Club Sports representataives participate in the spiritual 'advance' held Aug. 23-24 at the LaHaye Ice Center.

    Davidson said the 20-plus Club Sports representatives provided excellent feedback as he and Braband helped them create personal mission statements for why they participate in athletics, written from a spiritual mindset. They challenged the student-athletes to keep winning in proper perspective and to place more importance on development of Christ-like character.

    "From a spiritual standpoint, winning is glorifying to God," Davidson said. "As a Christian, you play to win, but how you play matters. Above all the training and competing, sacrifice, discipline, and devotion it takes to succeed in your sport, as an athlete, we want to train to be godly as well, with our code of conduct, values, and virtues. We want to be intentional about loving people well and exuding the aroma of Christ."

    Spiritual leaders from each of Liberty's 41 Club Sports teams will meet weekly for prayer and spiritual warfare through "Fight Clubs," advocacy groups centered on the call from 1 Timothy 6:12 for believers to "Fight the good fight of faith."

    "The idea is to have them meet in groups of two or three, where they can be vulnerable, transparent, talk about their battles with pride, and ask ‘How can I pray for you?'" Braband said.

    Each week, student-athletes are assigned to read a chapter out of the book, "The Practice of Godliness," by Gary Bridges, as well as a chapter from Ephesians to stimulate discussion.

    "We want to turn to the Word of God, to discuss tactically our battle with pride, and ask, ‘How do we defeat that and cultivate humility?'" Davidson said. "We know in this fight we cannot be victorious by our own efforts and striving, but by the power of God. We have to be praying, asking the Spirit of God to convict us of sin, to renew us, and refine us every day."

    The next group gathering of the spiritual leaders is set for Sept. 9 at 10:30 a.m., when close to 45 student-athletes are expected to attend.

    "We will lay the foundation first, investing in these leaders' lives, and let it grow organically," Davidson said. "We want the Gospel and grace and truth to permeate these relationships so we can be who God wants us to be as student-athletes and let that flow out into their respective teams. Then, we may see multiplication begin to happen."

    Ultimately, he hopes the group meetings will lead to mission opportunities on campus, in the community, and overseas, bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God.

    "We want to ask each team, ‘How do we go on a mission for God as a Club Sport — locally, nationally, and internationally?" Davidson said.


    By Ted Allen/Staff Writer

    Members of Liberty's men's Ultimate team pray with players from the University of Virginia after a match in the Flames' home tournament last season. (Photo by Gabrielle Calhoun)