Faith an integral part of Biola athletics

Joseph DeClercq says that sports at Biola are unique opportunities to share the gospel.

Biola athletes walked away from 346 games, events and matches this year. When the games came to their end, the players took off their uniforms, packed up their equipment and went home — win or lose. One thing that these athletes didn’t put away, however, was their faith.

As cheesy and “Biola” as that may sound, it is true.

When the games end, what happens next isn't a game. Biola's official teams and the emergence of popular club sports like lacrosse and rugby only add to the unique opportunity that our athletes have to spread the gospel.

There is a reason a prayer is said in the opening minutes of every sporting event on campus, and that following the conclusion of games teams can be seen praying as a unit. Biola’s teams and athletes are ministry tools and shouldn’t be overlooked as we approach the final weeks of competition.

Athletic field is an opportunity for a missions field

The majority of schools we compete against are religiously affiliated. Still, there are several other games, across all sports, against secular schools and California State Universities. Those are the opportunities where Biola can share God’s love with unbelievers through the majesty of sport.

There is something the fans don’t realize when our teams take the field — each minute, each play is a showcase of who God is. I’ve talked with a lot of athletes here and seen a lot of games, and each time I’m encouraged by the humility and thankfulness they show. From my vantage point the athletes at this school get a bad rap. But the thing is, they are a special group in a special position.

Sure, most of us go to chapel two, maybe three times per week, but some of us don’t go at all. When teams are together up to seven times a week, they not only engage in fellowship with each other but they have the chance to witness to opposing teams. Many other schools don’t open in prayer, and rarely do you hear Chris Tomlin play over the loudspeaker as a player is introduced into the game. On Feb. 23, internet sensation Jefferson Bethke came to campus to perform his popular spoken word poems, courtesy of Biola Athletic Ministry. All of that is to say that the athletes on campus want Christ to be in the forefront of their game just as much as the name on their jersey.

I’m not trying to say that the athletes on campus are better than the average student or that they take their faith more seriously, but there is a lot more good coming from our athletic department than just the Golden State Athletic Conference championship banners hanging in Chase Gymnasium.

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