Every January, various plans and resolutions to read through the Bible in a year start trending. For 2020, professional athlete and outspoken Christian Adam Wainwright is inviting fans to join him on a yearlong journey through God’s Word.
Wainwright, a veteran pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, tweeted last week: “This won’t be for everyone, but it’s an important part of my life. Most of y’all probably just want to talk baseball, etc. BUT, if you want to read through the Bible with me in one year you can join my other twitter account… @walkingwwaino We’ll start Jan 12.”
Adam Wainwright Hopes This Blesses and Encourages People
The separate Twitter account Wainwright set up for the Bible-reading initiative already has almost 13,000 followers, and the first day’s study notes have almost 1,000 likes. In a welcome message, the pitcher admits being both excited and nervous about the venture. “It’s my prayer that this would be a blessing and a daily encouragement to you all,” he adds.
After posting the first day’s notes, Wainwright tweeted: “Glad to see everyone on here. The commentary and back and forth is what is going to take this study of God’s Word to the next level. Keep it going. Great first day… lot of good points made and some really good questions.”
Before the yearlong study even began, the pitcher expressed surprise at the initial response. Because of high demand for the journal being used, Wainwright says he’s working on a way to make that resource available.
Pitcher Uses His Platform to Share Jesus
Wainwright, 38, attended church and Sunday school as a child but became a Christian in 2002, thanks to Pro Athletes Outreach events. He also was inspired by hearing Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz speak. “It was powerful to see a future Hall of Famer come and pour his heart and soul into a message for us,” Wainwright says. “I was on the fence at that time in my own faith….and we were able to see someone who we really looked up to share his faith through the platform he’s been given.”
Having his own platform—and his own relationships with younger players—is key to Wainwright’s longevity. Though the father of five says retirement has been tempting, he recently signed a one-year contract for 2020. Wainwright tells Sports Spectrum magazine that if he “didn’t feel so connected” to the younger players—especially the pitchers—on his team, “it would have almost been a no-brainer for me to walk away.”
Former Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter is one beneficiary of Wainwright’s devotion. Though he’d declined numerous invitations from Wainwright to attend chapel, Carpenter eventually came to faith and credits conversations with his teammate as a big factor.
In addition to mentoring teammates, Wainwright is active with charity golf tournaments and his organization Big League Impact. During 15 years as a pro, he’s posted a 3.39 ERA and racked up 1,776 strikeouts.
Acts 20:24 is Wainwright’s favorite Bible verse and personal mission statement. “If I’m not using my life, this platform, for good, for the kingdom, then I’m completely wasting it,” he says. “My goal is to constantly keep my eyes on Jesus. And if I constantly do that, I’ll have a greater impact.”