Creating a Community that Counts - Rodney Pryor

In the past year, God has driven home the fact that He’s in control. A lot was taken from us abruptly in 2020, where we all were literally sanctioned to our homes, wondering, “What do we do next?” We trust. 

When the pandemic hit, we were all so used to going, going, going. We were still in our basketball season, where we grow so used to a schedule, and suddenly it was no more. For me, this was a moment to recognize that my identity truly is in Christ alone. I have all I need in Him. My personal devotional time with God became an incredible time; it’s amazing to see how God worked through it. 

For a while, a buddy of mine and I have been wanting to do more Kingdom work through basketball. To us, basketball is our ministry. So we thought: What better time to start planting seeds than now, when we all had plenty of time on our hands? We started a community in the basketball realm, reaching out to every player we knew who was a believer in Jesus Christ. We set up calls every week to dive into God’s Word together and God caused that to increase. 

Soon, we went from 10 guys to 30 guys — ranging from high school to NBA players — who would get on the phone, not once, but three times a week, to grow and study God’s truth together. Tuesdays we would open up and grow vulnerable, sharing prayer requests and updates; Thursdays we would have a guest speaker come and share; and Sundays we would study God’s Word together, all over the phone. 

Often we think of church or Bible study in the traditional sense, but God is constantly doing a new thing. It’s really good for us to see how God works in unique ways. I’ve never experienced so many brothers growing up in the faith around me!

This community has been monumental for me. I got married during the pandemic, as did some of the men in our group. It was helpful for me to be able to walk into marriage and face new challenges with others who were going through the same thing. God has challenged me as a leader within this group as well, questioning me to make sure I’m committed enough so I can help others grow. In addition, one guy’s wife started a women’s group so that all the wives and girlfriends could grow together too. It’s been so cool to see how God has blessed this movement.

I’ve also been doing a docuseries on social media to showcase the other side of the grind. A lot of times we get to the mountaintop of our career and/or faith and say things like, “Oh, you just need to have faith.” But we have to show people what it looks like to have faith while we’re in the valley. In the middle of trials, we need to be transparent about what faith looks like when we don’t have a job or income. What does it look like to trust God there? God has been strengthening me to have the boldness to know and trust Him no matter what. 

Going into the pandemic, I was realizing how unique of a period this would be to see just how in control God really is. When everything stops, we may realize that we’ve forgotten to truly devote our lives to the Lord. Perhaps we needed a regroup. 

— Rodney Pryor, pro basketball player

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