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CCC Athletic and Spiritual Excellence Awarded
On Friday, June 4, the National Christian College Athletic Association presented Clearwater Christian College with the highly sought after Sports Ministries Award for the 2009-2010 athletic year. According to the NCCAA, “The Sports Ministries Award was created for the purpose of recognizing institutions and/or individuals for significant spiritual outreach through the utilization of athletic ministries.” This award is made possible by a $1,000 gift to the NCCAA by The Center for Sports and Physical Therapy in Marion, Indiana. Not only does this award recognize the dedication of CCC athletes and athletic staff to quality athletics from a Christian perspective, but it also testifies to the CCC goal to use sports as a platform for personal and community ministry.
Each year, the NCCAA selects one school from its membership—a membership that includes division 1 and 2 schools—for the receipt of the Sports Ministry Award. To date, CCC has not received this award, but has been in the running for the past 21 years. Athletic Director, James Whitaker is thrilled to receive the award. He said, “Winning the Sports Ministry Award from the NCCAA is a tremendous honor. Sports ministry is one of our core values in athletics and is an important part of the athletic department at CCC. Sports can be an awesome tool to share the Gospel; we want our coaches and student-athletes to take an active role in this area.”
Due to the nature of this award, CCC was required to submit documentation of the various ministries completed by athletic teams over the year. When reviewing the numerous activities, one can surmise that the claim of the CCC athletic department of using sports as a platform for ministry is not only a statement of fact, but also a core value within the program.
This year, the CCC Cougars conducted the following athletic outreaches:
On Saturday, August 29, the men’s soccer team held a sports clinic in conjunction with Skycrest Christian School in Clearwater, Florida. Twenty-eight men’s soccer players gave up their Saturday and spent it teaching children the basics of soccer. Over 100 K-4 to 4th grade children were in attendance at the KidzZone soccer clinic. Our CCC athletes conducted specific skill clinics and competitions, and during the breaks, they brought the children together and shared the plan of salvation using the J316 Ball—a special ministry tool similar to the Wordless Book. Also, on Saturday, January 30, most of our men’s soccer players helped Assistant Coach Luis Hernandez run a soccer clinic for Calvary Chapel of St. Petersburg. Over 100 children participated in the clinic. They conducted skill clinics and competitions, and shared the Gospel using the J316 Ball. In addition to the clinic, several CCC players coach in the soccer academy and soccer league hosted by the same church each week. Coach Hernandez and one of our players had the opportunity to lead the director of coaching for Pinellas Park United to the Lord on the soccer field after one of the clinics. He had been observing the group praying after the clinic and asked to know more.
The women’s volleyball team held several outreaches this season on Clearwater Beach, where they would play a little volleyball and pass out tracts. The team also has developed a special outreach bracelet to be given as a gift to every secular team they play. This ministry is a tool that helps the student-athletes share the gospel and reminds players of the platform for ministry presented in sporting events. Each bracelet is printed with the word “Excellence” and is given with an accompanying tract and explanation paper detailing what it means to expect excellence in the life of a Christian.
Six members of the women’s soccer team assisted the men’s soccer team with the soccer clinic in conjunction with Skycrest Christian School in Clearwater, Florida. They conducted specific skill clinics and competitions, and shared the Gospel using the J316 Ball—a special ministry tool similar to the Wordless Book.
On January 10, the women’s basketball team made a difference in the lives of a special group of young ladies at Hope Children’s Home in Tampa, Florida. The team worked with girls between the ages of 11 and 17 as they spent the day hosting a basketball clinic, sharing testimonies, and spending time with the girls. Hope Children’s Home has helped nearly 5,000 “discarded, abused, unwanted, or orphaned children” over the past forty years. This is the second year in a row that the girls have gone over there, and both years they came back more encouraged than ever after spending time with these girls.
The men’s basketball team hosted a special event at one of their home games called Upward Basketball Night. During this halftime event, children involved in the Upward Basketball League at Clearwater Community Church were involved in a special match for CCC fans and local spectators.
Several of the CCC baseball players joined forces with the basketball team to run the Upward Basketball League at Clearwater Community Church during the fall semester. They assisted coaching and helped as referees for those games over a number of weeks. They also worked with the “Taking it to the Streets” ministry outreach over Thanksgiving. The team was involved in putting together boxes of food and ministering in word, song, and prayer. The baseball team also helped paint and do some landscaping for the Winning Inning in Clearwater, a local baseball academy.
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