Christians across Houston, the megachurch capital of America, are saying their prayers for the Houston Astros as they play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

As a baseball chaplain, Juan Jesus Alaniz happens to be praying right alongside the players who are hoping to bring a major win to the Bayou City just months after it was swamped by Hurricane Harvey.

Alaniz, pastor of Houston’s First Baptist Church’s Spanish campus, leads ministry among the Astros’ Spanish-speaking players. The team includes Venezuelans José Altuve and Marwin González; Puerto Ricans Carlos Correa, Carlos Beltrán, and Juan Centeno; Cuban Yuli Gurriel; and Dominican Francisco Liriano. Kevin Edelbrock, a development director with Young Life, serves as the English-speaking chaplain, and Alaniz’s wife, Josie Ban-Alaniz, conducts ministry among the players’ wives and girlfriends.

True to their faithful fans, the Astros hold a Faith and Family Night each season, featuring worship music and players’ testimonies. Houston’s First, which draws over 7,000 weekly attendees, has a particular connection to its home team. As the Baptist Press reported, the church has a prominent ad in right field, pastor Gregg Matte has thrown out the first pitch, the congregation has held fellowship nights at the park, and Astros president Reid Ryan has come out to speak to church staff.

With the series tied 1–1, CT talked to chaplain Alaniz about his unique vantage point as an Astros fan and chaplain.

What do you do as a team chaplain?

We provide Bible study, prayer, and support. We’re there whenever they call and want to have a cup of coffee, privately, but most of the time we’re with them in the ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.