This past month, Uncommon Sports Group hosted seventeen Academy graduates in Indianapolis, IN, for an Impact Weekend. USG offers a fully funded Impact Weekend for every individual who completes the eight-week virtual USG Academy. These weekends provide Academy graduates with the opportunity to put what they have learned in the virtual Academy into action, as well as networking with present leaders of the college and pro sport industry, fellowshipping with other Christians in sports, and being challenged to grow in their walk with Christ.
Two participants on the trip were Preston Flanders and Nina Petersen. Preston is currently the Coordinator of Youth Sports & Development with USA Basketball, and Nina is a Group Sales Account Executive with Madison Square Garden. Below are their testimonies from the trip to Indianapolis:
"I recently attended the USG Indianapolis Impact weekend, and a few of my biggest takeaways from the weekend were the fellowship with other Christians in the sport industry, the facility tours, and the huddle groups on professional development and how to continue growing our faith while working in sports.
The biggest impact for me from the weekend was getting to fellowship and connect with other Christians in sports and to be encouraged that you can have a relationship with Christ despite the busyness of working in sports. Having only been in my role for a year, it was so encouraging to connect with others in the sports industry who are also just beginning their sports careers. Saturday morning, we did a group bible study on Acts 2:42-47, and the passage really spoke to me about the importance of community within our walk with Christ and also how we can be a light in our work environments.
Working in basketball, I thoroughly enjoyed both facility tours as they were related to basketball and hearing Jamie Ingram’s testimony and her story of getting into sports. Touring Hinkle Fieldhouse, the history of that arena, and the great coaches that walked that sideline and facility really resonated with me. Saturday, we toured the Indiana Pacers practice facility, and it was incredible to see and hear about the day-to-day operations and what goes on inside their facility.
Saturday afternoon, we went through huddle groups with the USG staff, and I found the professional and personal development part of this to be as important as the fellowship we experienced all weekend. One group consisted of thank you notes, how to write one, ways you can find someone’s address if you do not know it, and the impact a thank you note can have. Another group went more in-depth on leading a Discovery Bible Study (DBS) and how it is not as intimidating as it appears to be. The last group was about prayer, and I learned more about ways I can rest not just physically but also rest in Christ and his presence. These huddle groups are truly what sets USG apart from other development groups because this weekend was just as much about connecting with individuals in sports who love Christ as it was about learning how to grow more spiritually in our walks."- Preston Flanders, USA Basketball
"The Indianapolis Impact Weekend was an amazing experience! In fact, I already wish I could go back. The best part was definitely the people. It was great to be able to learn from the experiences of other believers in the industry balancing faith and work in an industry where work-life balance is so hard to come by. I also really enjoyed learning what the industry looks like through different lenses and backgrounds. I don’t have any experience in the college sports landscape, so I enjoyed learning more about it both on our professional development trip to Butler and through conversations with other participants working on that side of the industry. The relationships that were made on this trip, whether at outreach, professional development, or even just Top Golf, will help me to continue to have people to lean on for accountability when it gets difficult to manage everything that is going on around me.
I also greatly value the opportunity to do outreach with the group. Being able to go outside of my comfort zone has allowed me to grow, which in turn will encourage me to approach similar situations with more confidence, whether in the workplace or outside of the office. I have even started a weekly post asking people how I can pray for them on my Instagram as a way to practice more intentional prayer. The exercises we did, such as learning to run a Bible study and pray more effectively, were tangible tools that made things that sometimes feel so big feel much more approachable. I look forward to utilizing these tools to connect with others through my faith.
I hope to continue to be an active part of this wonderful community and to continue to grow alongside other believers working in this often chaotic industry."- Nina Petersen, Madison Square Garden
It has been so encouraging to see the ways that God has used this Impact Weekend to challenge, encourage, and grow the participants in their faith and career. We are grateful to Preston and Nina for their testimonies!
If you're interested in learning more about Uncommon Sports Group and how we can come alongside you as a Christian in the sport industry, click here to get in contact with us, or click here to apply to join our USG Academy!