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Will Startup

A former relief pitcher in the Braves, Padres and Tigers organizations, Will is currently pouring into nearby youth by coaching high school ball and serving as the youth pastor for Parkway Presbyterian Church in Cumming, Georgia. Having retired from his professional baseball career, Will is enrolled in the Savannah College of Art and Design where he is studying graphic design to pursue another passion of his: Designing sports footwear.

What effect does your faith have on your lifestyle?

Faith plays a daily part in my life. With a wife and two kids I am challenged by how I speak to them and care for them. Being a father and husband gives plenty of daily opportunities to exercise my faith. Patience is the virtue I am being most challenged with right now. I am by no means perfect but I am quickly convicted by the Holy Spirit when my actions do not glorify God. It is a daily surrender to live for Christ as I raise my family.

Describe how your Journey with Christ began.

I was born into the church. I understood the stories at a young age. I answered some questions when I was seven but it was only head knowledge. Around the age of twelve God started revealing to me that it was about a relationship. He wanted to be in charge of everything. So I surrendered my heart at an early age. I did not start maturing in my faith until I was out from under the umbrella of my family when I went to college. I struggled big time to live my faith authentically my freshman year in college. God started placing people in my life and orchestrated circumstances to get my attention. It has been a major refining process to say the least.

Who have been the mentors in your life? How did God bring these people into your life?

My family members have been strong examples for me. In college I had a mentor who discipled me every week. I also had a teammate in 2010 who showed me what it looked like to be bold for Christ and live an unashamed Christian life. Currently I have a man who is about 25 years older than me who is a great encourager and helps me see God’s truth in the middle of tough circumstances.

What does the Increase of Christ mean to you?

The Increase of Christ means that it is not about me. As much as we crave attention and fame as individuals, living for Christ asks us to count the cost, love the unlovable, and live a life of service to others. This can only be carried out with the power of the Holy Spirit. The Increase of Christ means focusing on building his Kingdom and not my own.

What is your life verse and why?

My life verse is John 3:30. It casts the perfect perspective. “He must become greater, I must become less.” As an athlete it is easy to get carried away with a story book career and trying to shape it on my own. If He is to become greater, my focus is on giving Him my best, sharing the gospel through words and actions, and viewing myself as God views me, in failure and success. No matter what I do, His unconditional love for me will never be greater or less than it is right now. What a mighty God we serve!

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