Evangelist Billy Graham’s view, as articulated last summer to a group of major league baseball players in Kansas City, is that “an evangelical awakening in America actually started in the sports world.”
Howard Hendricks of Dallas Theological Seminary goes a step further. When 100 professional athletes, essentially football, baseball, and soccer players, met last month for five days of spiritual discussion, Hendricks told them: “I can’t think of a group with greater impact for Jesus Christ than you.” Their seminar was conducted by Pro Athletes Outreach at the Dallas Marriott Hotel (Jan. 31-Feb. 4) and it had international significance.
Argentina and Chile sent a delegation of thirty-four soccer players, executives, and journalists to Dallas to mingle with the nearly 300 Americans. The visitors’ objective was to learn how to start in their countries chapel services and Bible studies for athletes.
“A tremendous beginning,” said Eddie Waxer of Miami, whose personal sports ministry involves world-wide soccer and tennis. “The South Americans have learned plenty about what happens to athletes when there is a personal commitment to Jesus Christ.”
Quarterback Terry Bradshaw and six teammates from the Super Bowl champions left behind their Pittsburgh Steeler playbooks, and instead carried Bibles to the conference. The eighty American footballers were joined by ten soccer notables from the South plus half a dozen baseball players, a bowler, and a tennis player or two.
Quarterbacks drew the customary focus. Roger Staubach of the Dallas Cowboys, outmanuevered by Bradshaw in the National Football League championship game, listened to conference speakers along with quarterbacks Craig Morton of Denver and Jim Zorn of Seattle.
“When we played ...1
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