Faith & Service

Ministry Minded

By Ted Allen, February 21, 2018

Club Sports student-athletes motivated to serve overseas

Challenging student-athletes to think globally is part of the mission of Club Sports Ministry Director Brian Davidson. At a departmentwide Convocation in October, he cast a vision for the more than 700 members and coaches of Liberty’s 41 Club Sports teams to impact the world for Christ.

“We want the Liberty Club Sports platform to be used for Kingdom purposes because it’s an incredibly powerful resource for the Christian body worldwide,” said Davidson, who is also an adjunct instructor in sport management. “Sport, like music, is universal in its appeal and can help break down barriers and build relationships between people of different nationalities and languages.”

Ultimate player Hilary Kline worked with children in Thailand over Winter Break.

The former professional soccer coach and founder of the Charlotte (N.C.) Eagles Soccer Club, has traveled to over 50 countries to engage in sports outreach over the past 35 years. In 2002, he started Sports Friends, a ministry that seeks to transform lives and strengthen communities through local church-centered sports ministries while equipping churches in Africa, Asia, and South America for Christian discipleship. Currently, he is working with Club Sports coaches as well as churches and sports ministries around the world to coordinate sports-oriented outreach trips for the 2018-19 school year.

Davidson and his wife, Christine, adopted three sons from Ghana, and last spring, he led 12 Liberty sport management students on a trip to the same area where his sons were born. Davidson hopes to take a team of Club Sports student-athletes back to the predominantly Muslim country to help plant a church.

“We’re going to connect athletes to strategic opportunities and help them become imitators of Christ with a mission,” Davidson said. “We don’t want to blow in, blow up, and blow out. We want to help move forward a ministry strategy that’s already on the ground and be really intentional about developing ongoing, sustainable, Gospel-centered sport ministries led by nationals.”

Davidson and Club Sports Associate Athletic Director Jeff Boettger are teaming with Operation Mobilization representatives in Finland to plan the Division I men’s hockey team’s trip there over Spring Break 2019. Boettger has led previous competitive hockey trips to Sweden, Russia, Latvia, and China.

Several Club Sports student-athletes are already catching the vision. Over Winter Break, senior women’s Ultimate player Hilary Kline traveled to Thailand to conduct Ultimate workshops for middle and high school students, using donated discs and cones from Liberty. She also joined missionaries in jail ministry and visited schools to teach English and share the Gospel.

This Spring Break, Flames Hockey player Matt Cruickshank is joining a team of fellow psychology majors on an LU Send trip to Rwanda, where they will focus on combating human trafficking.

Two years ago, disc golf players traveled to Zambia to help build a course and conduct clinics. Last summer, Hannah Croke (’16) helped introduce disc golf to youth in Costa Rica. Several Club Sports teams also have been invited to serve elsewhere around the world: the rock climbing team to France, the crew team to England, Ultimate team to Malaysia, the wrestling team to Russia, the archery team to China, and the lacrosse team to Uganda. The department is also considering an all-sports camp in Ethiopia.

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