The theme for our Bible studies this year was one simple message: Press On.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 3:12-14
In this passage, Paul shares with the Church that despite life’s victories, and even defeats, we must press on toward the goal of the upward call of God. He has experienced every emotion and curveball that life could throw at him, but through it all, he learned to press on. The only way to faithfully accomplish this mission is through Jesus Christ.
As a team, we experienced a lot of ups and downs this season. But with this source of hope from our Bible study, we were able to keep all things, both on and off the field, in perspective. I loved seeing guys encourage each other all year long to press on! Players would rise in leadership and guide their teammates in our weekly Bible study, focusing on topics that are really important such as involvement in Church, baptism, and how to share the Gospel with others.
Not only have these athletes shared their faith in the locker room with their teammates, I’ve watched as many of them, without hesitation, accept speaking and teaching invitations at local community functions or church events. The Gospel was proclaimed all over our city and even our world this season through our players!
Every year I’m with the team I learn so much more. This season I’ve been really encouraged by the focus and framework that many of the veteran players have built into their lives. Living life as an NFL athlete brings a lot of high pressure—they are living life constantly in the spotlight. As a pastor of a great church, in addition to my role as the Saints Chaplain, I understand how chaotic their schedule can be. But they have kept themselves grounded by establishing a set of important priorities that they are not willing to compromise. These include things such as their personal relationship with Christ, family nights, and Bible studies. They stick to these priorities no matter what temptations or other opportunities may surface. Keeping these priorities protected has really proven to help them take ownership of their lives and their faith in Christ and as a result, they have the opportunity to impact and influence many lives around them.
“But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” —Matthew 6:33
Each season my prayer for the team is that ministry won’t happen only when I’m sharing the Word at chapel, but that it will happen at all times throughout the entire season. This past season, having the veteran leadership of players including Benjamin Watson, Luke McCown, and Drew Brees was an answer to that prayer. I’m so thankful for the Gospel witness of these three men to their teammates, the Saints organization, and the entire city of New Orleans. Gospel multiplication is only possible when an ownership of Gospel impact begins with the players and spreads throughout the team. It was amazing to be part of that movement this year.
—Rob Wilton, New Orleans Saints Chaplain
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