Meet an Agency: Push the Rock Sports Ministry

We heart this new, ongoing series–a little cup o’ joe with organizations to help you go there, serve Him, and love them even better. (For more thoughts about why you might join an agency–and a handful of reasons you might not–make sure to check out He Said/She Said/You Say? “Should I go overseas with an organization?”, both the pros and the cons.)

Today, we’re grabbing a cinnamon latte with Push the Rock, a sports ministry that also happens to have internships and a gap-year program. Pull up a chair.

TELL US WHAT YOUR AGENCY SPECIALIZES IN. WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?

We’re a sports ministry using sports to impact the world for Jesus Christ…one life at a time. We use different kinds of sports to introduce people to Jesus and teach biblical values.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AROUND, AND HOW LARGE ARE YOU GUYS? IN WHAT COUNTRIES ARE YOUR GLOBAL WORKERS LOCATED?

Push The Rock started in 1997 with one week of basketball camp. We currently have around 35 staff serving throughout the US, Brazil, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Italy, Mexico, Spain and Zambia.

“Eagles Wings” is the disc golf wing of Push The Rock. It provides a chaplaincy program at major events throughout the US, helps run tournaments, runs clinics for those beginning in the sport, and runs conferences to encourage and challenge Christian disc golfers.

TELL US ONE STORY THAT EXCITES YOU FROM WHAT YOUR ORGANIZATION IS DOING.

We loved a recent story about a young man named Peterson as told by a local judge.

Peterson’s Story: The Beginning

Peterson is the oldest of five siblings aged 9 to 2, each one from a different father. His mother was arrested on trafficking charges. He was placed with his father, and his siblings were placed in a shelter.

The mother was released, and the father left Peterson with her saying he’d be right back. He never did. We got her a job, got full-time school for all siblings and placed them back with her to see if she would be able to care for them.

But about 6 months later, she wasn’t sending the kids to school. She’d spend the day on the street, leaving the little ones under Peterson’s care. The baby had a terrible diaper rash, they lived in the midst of filth and squalor. Peterson was already being approached by drug dealers to kickstart a life of crime.

We took all of them away and started placing them with adoptive families. Three have already been adopted, but Peterson and his 9-year-old brother haven’t, because they’re past optimal adoption age.

Now it would take a miracle for Peterson and his brother not to spend their whole adolescence in a shelter. By law, at age 18 they’ll have to leave the shelter. Many go back home since they have nowhere else to go.

A New Ending to peterson’s Story

Peterson attended our sports program at PTR Brasil every Friday morning for 6 months. It’s a Christian environment where, far beyond the sports, we teach the saving Gospel of Jesus to all the students.

On October 11th, Peterson was invited to attend a retreat with the teens from one of our partner churches. Besides the fun and games, Peterson was challenged to give his life to Christ and to follow Him. When a staff member was driving Peterson back to the shelter, he asked,

“Do you know that God wants to adopt you as His son?”

His eyes filled with tears and he answered in a trembling voice, “Yes. I believe.”

So, in that special moment, our staff member had the opportunity to explain the salvation plan and to tell him that those who receive Him and believe in His name can be called children of God (John 1.12).

Peterson gave his life to Jesus on October 13, 2018. Now, like us, he has a heavenly Father that loves him and has a wonderful plan for his life.

In addition to meeting us every Friday, Peterson participates in a discipleship program promoted by our partner church called Bible Club. The church uses music, Bible studies, small groups, snacks, and fellowship to help local teenagers to learn more about the Lord and His Word.

5 WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOUR ORGANIZATION’S CULTURE. GO.

We’ll go with four!

  • Kingdom-minded
  • family
  • individual focus
  • partnership

WHAT’S DISTINCTIVE ABOUT YOU GUYS?

We’re not tethered to one sport. We’re open to all kinds of sports to reach people with the Gospel.

Partnership is a defining characteristic, particularly with churches. Our international offices are a blend of nationalities and cultures serving together. And we’re big on impacting one life at a time.

LET’S TALK BRASS TACKS. GIVE US THE 411 ON YOUR APPLICATION AND TRAINING PROCESS.

Our application process:

  • submit an application
  • initial phone screen
  • check references
  • first full interview
  • second full interview
  • face-to-face meeting / interview (also meet spouse / rest of family, if applicable)
  • official offer

Our training process:

  • support raising training
  • time spent at headquarters in Allentown, PA
  • depending on role, time spent under the tutelage of experienced staff in similar roles

WHAT KIND OF GLOBAL WORKERS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? PAINT US A WORD PICTURE.

Our best applicants

  • love the Lord
  • see sports as a great vehicle for introducing people to Jesus
  • have a heart for people
  • have an entrepreneurial / pioneer spirit, especially in new areas to Push The Rock or sports ministry

…and are

  • team-oriented
  • creative
  • hard working

WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER “RED FLAGS” IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS?

We’d be concerned about an inability to articulate a personal relationship with Christ, an unwillingness to raise support as a missionary, or if they’ve “not played well with others” in previous jobs.

WHAT’D WE MISS? TELL US ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO MENTION ABOUT YOUR AGENCY.

We’re stoked to welcome new people into the family, encourage them in their walk with the Lord, and allow them to honor and serve God with their gifts, abilities and passions.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE LOOKING IN AN OVERSEAS DIRECTION?

  • Seek God. Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
  • Get affirmation and confirmation from those close to you that this is from God.
  • Be sent by your church.
  • Know that it will be fulfilling, but it will be incredibly challenging.
  • Go as a learner and a sponge rather than someone who knows it all.
  • Make sure you are serving in your home country. Serving overseas is not a “switch” you flip.
  • Understand expectations, whether they be your own or those put on you by those you are serving with.

Got more questions for Push the Rock? Contact their VP of International Operations, Chico Schlonecker, at chico@pushtherock.org.

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