In our last few articles, we’ve discussed how Christ’s followers can become a bridge for God that connects heaven to earth for others in simple, practical ways. And one of the best places to accomplish that is right where you work.
Early in pro baseball, I (David) decided the clubhouse would be my ministry place, the location where I built most of my bridges.
The first day players arrive in a new town to start a season was always an experience. Guys from the UCLA, LSU, and Podunk High School, USA to Venezuela, Cuba and the Dominican Republic all converge in one location. Countless life experiences, each guy viewing the world through a different set of lenses, yet all aiming for the same goal.
As guys rolled into the clubhouse in my first season as a Red Sock, a young, second-round draft pick pitcher named Mike threw his bag down next to mine. I overheard him having a conversation where he talked about the brand-new 1998 silver Corvette he bought with his signing bonus. When he ended up in the locker next to mine, I knew God had handed me my first assignment.
But I didn’t hit him with the Gospel right then and there. I knew my play on the field, behavior off the field, and consistent Bible reading at my locker would be enough to get him asking questions. Sure enough, within a few days, my plan worked. We played the Tigers; he pitched and I caught, and they couldn’t touch us. Turned out, we were a pretty good combo on the field.
After the game he came and sat next to me. “So …” he said with a long pause, “are you religious or what?” And that was it – bridge construction began.
It turned out Mike had previous experience with the Lord, but he wasn’t walking with Him any longer. Baseball became his top priority, and according to him, it was paying off. But over the next few weeks, he began reading his Bible again. A few weeks after that, he rededicated his life to the Lord, and we went into full discipleship mode. Two other players eventually joined us, and I made my dorm room our Bible study spot.
I also used batting practice as my time to walk around and get to know the guys. For 90 minutes every day, I walked from player to player talking about life, baseball and faith. The hardest part was breaking the ice, but I realized after several weeks of being with the team I had earned their respect because I worked hard and always got to the field early. Those guys knew I meant business about baseball, so when I talked about Jesus they were willing to listen. The same is true for us in business today.
In time, more and more guys came to me about their life problems. It was common to get knocks on my hotel room door at 2:00 a.m., when loose living finally caught up to them. Minor-league baseball proved to be quite the missionary endeavor.
That first season ended, and we all went our separate ways. In professional baseball, you don’t see many of your teammates again after trades, promotions and releases in the off-season. That’s what happened with Mike and me.
But years later, in a sports magazine article, I read Mike’s story of how he made it to the Big Leagues just a few years into professional baseball. In the article, he mentioned a Bible study that helped him start off on the right foot his first year in the league.
Heaven to earth, through a bridge built in the clubhouse.
Whether you find yourself in a cubicle, a schoolroom, a factory, or on a road crew somewhere, God wants you to make that location – the place where you work – a place where bridges are built that connect heaven to earth for those the Lord has placed in your path.
Now, we have several more stories from baseball that you’ll enjoy reading as well, but to get them … you’re gonna have to read our book!