Along with other new opportunities and clubs at Bryan, United, a group of student athletes, was formed this semester in order to encourage and build up fellow student athletes.
United began as a result of a passion that Jonathan Doran, Director of Counseling and Soul Care, had for the athletes at Bryan. He noticed that Bryan lacked the type of support groups that exist for athletes on other college campuses.
Last spring he gathered together a few upper classmen, roughly two from each of the sports teams, and shared with them his vision for the athletes at Bryan.
Together they chose Colossians 2:2 as their theme verse, which says, “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ.” The concept of being united soon became not only their name, but also their vision.
United aims to reach all athletes on campus regardless of whether or not they profess to be a Christian. In an interview, senior volleyball player Jessica Jones, a leader of United, said, “There is really nothing for the athletes spiritually outside of chapel and the classroom… it is hard for a lot of the athletes to connect with chapel and class if they haven’t come from a Christian background, which the majority of us haven’t.”
The group is still trying to map exactly what they will be doing, but they plan to hold weekly meetings where the various sports teams can get to know each other and discuss what it really means to be a Christian.
“We’re trying to keep it basic enough… so people who have no idea about anything… have somewhere to go and hear the gospel,” Jones said.
Jones said that they just want to be “open and honest” with their teammates.
She stressed that the meetings are not meant to be exclusive to the non-athletes at Bryan, but inclusive to this particular group of students on campus who often feel excluded from many of the community aspects of Bryan. She encourages the students of Bryan to “rise above stereotypes” and to get to know the athletes on campus.
From an athlete’s perspective she added, “They want you to know their name. That is huge to us.”
United has already begun reaching out to athletes. Last week they provided Gatorade to both the men’s and women’s soccer teams before their games, and they are preparing for their official kickoff meeting on Oct 2.
Jones was unsure what all United would do this year, but she said, “We’ll just take it one step at a time. We have no idea what we are doing, but doing something is better than doing nothing.”