By Kira Roberts, Layout editor
The Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) put on an event called Courts of Praise on Tuesday, February 19.
Similar to the Fields of Faith event that is held every Fall semester, this was an evening for all athletes to gather to hear the gospel and grow together in community.
This year assistant men’s basketball coach, Artavius Bogan, and head athletic trainer, Mike Mathis, shared their testimonies and what God had laid on their hearts.
“SNU puts on Courts of Praise and Fields of Faith as a testament to our belief of integrating faith with our education. As athletes, we take it seriously that as Christians, we have a mission field on our teams and during competition,” said senior Ellen Martin. “This means that the SAAC, FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), and the coaching/athletic staff are committed to making sure that every athlete that comes through the university knows about the saving grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that they have the opportunity for spiritual growth here.”
Martin said that this event helps build a sense of community among all of the sports teams and breaks down walls for people to ask tough questions, share hardships and victories in their life, and generally encourage each other in the Lord.
Martin also mentioned that it helps emphasize the fact that the coaches and athletic staff are here for the students and want to see them grow in a relationship with Christ.
Mathis just started his 13th year at SNU. He said he loves his job because it allows him to be in a position of helping people.
“When an athlete comes to see me, they are usually struggling with an injury that is hindering them from doing what they love to do,” Mathis said. “Any advice or course of treatment that I can give is usually seen as me helping to make the situation better. They may not always like the course of action that I lay out for them, but ultimately they know that it is all in their best interest.”
Mathis was adamant that God laid it on his heart to share the gospel with the athletes that he works so closely with.
“At first I thought this was something that God was calling me to do for their sake, but now I realize that He was showing me that I have fallen way short of who He needs me to be,” Mathis said. “My daily walk with Christ must become more transparent for people to see Him. At this point I can either be ashamed of what I have not done, or get busy seeing where God is working and join Him there.”
Mathis said the hard part was admitting to everyone that he has failed in an area of his life. However, he also said that same difficulty was also the most freeing.
“While Satan loves to keep us guilty in our complacency, Christ loves to liberate us through His grace,” he said.
It may seem as though events like this don’t make a difference, but both Martin and Mathis would disagree.
“Many disciples of Christ are inspired by testimonies…and I think it’s always a good thing to get connected to those around you and hear their stories as an affirmation of the crazy ways God works in our lives,” Martin said. “I know of at least one person who came to know the Lord [at Courts of Praise], and I’m constantly amazed at the way God uses humble people to do great things.”
“What I know is that I said what I felt the Lord was leading me to say. The results I will leave up to God,” Mathis said.