Colton grew up in a Christian home and heard the Gospel “a million times.” He even accepted Jesus into his heart a couple of times as a child. At King’s, each Bible class has brought him closer to the Lord. But his best fellowship is combined with what he loves most—football. And it was at the football retreat between his freshman and sophomore years that he was baptized by Coach Jim Shapiro in the chilly waters of the San Juan Islands.
“Every year it seems like someone wants to be baptized,” Colton said. “But now we are a lot further along as a team. My junior year a couple guys asked for prayer here and there, but this year has really taken off with accountability and men’s groups. We pray before practice and we dive into scripture. It’s a great way for all of us to find peace.”
Lincoln said the team has changed in the past few years. “It’s a testimony to God’s faithfulness because my freshman year it felt like the football team was a secular place, but now God is really working in it. Our weekly accountability group has a motto: ‘You’re safe here, but your sin is not safe here because we’re going to come after it.’ As my friend Will Culberson says, ‘Vulnerability breaks the power of the devil.’”
Along with discipling his athletes, Coach Shapiro is teaching them to disciple others. Groups of junior and senior football players now meet with seventh and eighth grade boys regularly to disciple them with a curriculum he has helped them prepare.
“I’ve always been focused on evangelism, and over 27 years of coaching more than 100 kids have come to Christ. But this year it’s more about discipleship and training,” Coach Shapiro said. “Evangelism is addition, and discipleship is multiplication, and that’s what is happening this year. The guys are reproducing faith in each other, both in the high schoolers and the junior high.
“CRISTA has always been about Christianity in Action,” Coach Shapiro continued. “It’s so fundamental but difficult for us—it’s a matter of putting Jesus at the center of everything you’re doing. Even in the crazy game of football, we put Jesus in the center and make Him the reason for everything we do—how you love your teammates, how you witness to the ref. That changes the whole experience for everyone around us.”
Through all the global turbulence of this year, we are constantly reminded at CRISTA, and at King’s, that we are on Holy Ground. The Lord is answering our prayers for this generation of students and we see His faithfulness every day. Truly He has great plans for them.
Watch Colton’s full story and see how a team truly becomes like a family at King’s Schools.