Imagine if you could put your son on a club baseball team with a smart, savvy coach who shows he cares and never yells. And who does not have any kids on the team. Add exceptional baseball instruction to the mix. And for the icing on top, the coach is truly ministry-minded and dedicated to making sure each boy on the team learns about Jesus and grows in his faith. All this on a club baseball team with the words Athletes in Action Baseball on the front of the jersey. I’d have my kid try out for that team in a split second. In fact, I did, as I helped start the first Athletes in Action U14 baseball team this year.
Our paid coach is Max Harvell, the varsity baseball coach at Eastern Christian High School. Coach Harvell did an amazing job with our spring and summer seasons. As I watched him teach and deliver devotion times, I was blown away—he is a baseball minister. God blessed us.
About the ministry occurring on the team, Max says, “God is moving in amazing ways. The way this team has come together, with all the pieces falling into place at exactly the right time, there is no doubt of God’s ability to knit a beautiful tapestry. Through excellent devotions by George McGovern, Rob Skead, and Willie Alfonso, I can sense that the players are learning and growing as baseball players, but also as young men seeking to find truth. There is something bigger than baseball going on and it’s exciting to be able to lead a team with a broader perspective. I hope that through this experience players will become believers and make an impact in their own sphere of influence.”
As part of our leadership development, the players and Max selected three captains. Max says, “In order to be a great leader one must earn the respect of the team, and that is exactly what our captains PJ, Shane, and Joey are accomplishing. They’re earning respect through their performance in games, but more importantly how they conduct themselves as young men. They have a big responsibility and I know that they will grow to embody what it takes to become a great leader on and off the field.”
The Athletes in Action U14 team was comprised of 11 boys from seven different towns, and making new friends was certainly part of the experience. The team competed against some of the best club teams in the county and in tournaments against strong regional teams. In addition to baseball instruction, the ministry is focused on growing in one’s faith in Christ, leadership development, and serving others.
Coach Harvell plans to stay with the team next summer as we become a 15/16 U team. If you know a talented player in that age group who may be interested in the program, please contact Max Harvell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are an experienced baseball coach who loves Jesus and would like to coach an AIA club team, please reach out to Will Michaels at email@example.com.
AIA also offers basketball programs for middle school and high school boys and middle school girls. For more information, contact Will Michaels.
-written by Robert Skead
Robert Skead is an associate staff member of Athletes in Action, where he served as the chapel leader to the New York Red Bulls for ten tears. He is also a published children’s author of sports and American Revolution books. Visit www.robertskead.com for more information.