Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders NFL Player to Hometown Churches: What Are the Needs of the Youth?

NFL Player to Hometown Churches: What Are the Needs of the Youth?

Joshua Norman

Josh Norman, a cornerback for the Washington Redskins, has a pretty simple—though hardly easy—job: Shadow the opposing team’s best receiver and prevent him from ever catching a pass.

For a man whose job description in the NFL encourages words like “breakup,” “prevent,” “shutdown,” and “erase,” Josh Norman seems to be doing the exact opposite in his life off the field. The ad was not self promoting. It did not even wish his hometown friends and family a Happy Thanksgiving. The purpose, like his job description in the NFL, was simple: to bless others because he has been blessed. In a letter reminiscent of Paul’s to the early church, Norman addressed the ad in his local hometown newspaper “To the Shepherds of the Churches of Greenwood, SC.”

“Your persistent prayers and devotion to the people of your congregation, to whom God has given you stewardship over has not gone unnoticed. For the need of the people in the church and community you serve is always above rapport. This season, God has laid it on my heart as a servant of the crown to reach out and touch every church in Greenwood, SC with my tithes and offering of love and peace. It is my wish that everyone in your place of worship be touched by this blessing that I’ve been blessed by and now giving unto you.

I request that every church send me back a letter stating the concerns of the church and the needs of the youth. I can’t fulfill the entire list, but I am going to do my very best with what God has blessed me with to uphold the needs and standards of your church. If you would send the letter to address: 21300 Redskins Park Drive Ashburn, VA 20147. I also ask if your letters could be delivered no later than December 12th. I will read through each one and get back to you all respectfully. I truly thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being that beacon of hope to look up to and strive for greatness in your teachings and vessels on earth to reach our Father who is in heaven.”

“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13.”

Although the entire ad encouraged me, one particular statement resonated deeply: “I can’t fulfill the entire list, but I am going to do my very best with what God has blessed me with to uphold the needs and standards of your church.”

I love that statement because there is a challenge in it for me. And you. Am I doing my very best with what God has given me to uphold the needs of the church?

What if every Christian in the NFL took a similar approach? What if every Christian in professional sports did the same? What if—and this may be a little too crazy—every Christian, period, had a similar posture? What might it look like to love God and bless others with the resources He’s given us in our local church community—our primary job description as a Christian? That is what happens when we understand that our primary job description—as a Christian—is to love God and love others with what has been entrusted to us.

The local church is God’s primary plan to reach the world. There is nothing wrong with starting our own foundations and being involved in parachurch ministries. But if it comes at the expense—and neglect—of funneling resources to the church, we are probably misunderstanding one of our job descriptions as Christ followers.

Josh Norman should not need high praise and affirmation for simply being obedient to the Lord with his finances, but I will do it anyways. Bravo Josh! Thanks for modeling what it looks like to be a good steward of God’s resources that He gave to you.

May you continue to use your skills to lock down the opposition on the field and your resources to open up opportunities for the Church off the field.

This article originally appeared here

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Brian Smith is on staff with Athletes in Action at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is married with 3 kids, likes the Detroit Lions probably a little too much, and graduated with a degree in Journalism from Wake Forest University. You can find him on Twitter @BrianSmithAIA or contact him by email at brian.smith@athletesinaction.org