Updated: Jul 6
On June 23-24, Uncommon Sports Group hosted an Impact Weekend alongside the Christians Working in Sports (CWS) Conference in Minneapolis, MN. The group of twenty-two young professionals in the sport industry went through USG’s eight-week Academy experience, which aims to provide Christ-centered training and professional development for its participants. The Impact Weekend is a fully funded in-person event that helps participants put what they learned over the course of the eight-week Academy into action. In this blog, we’ll share some highlights from the group's weekend in the Twin Cities!
First Day of Impact Weekend
The group flew into Minneapolis on Friday, June 23rd, and kicked off the Impact Weekend at the CWS Conference venue in Chaska, MN. The first session put the group through a Gallup CliftonStrengths activity that allowed them to know more about one another and their unique gifts and abilities. During the virtual Academy, participants are required to take the Gallup CliftonStrengths assessment and do a coaching session with a USG staff member. This activity is an opportunity to put the results from the assessment into action even further.
After the strengths session, the group then joined the Christians Working in Sports (CWS) Conference. The conference's first session was led by Baltimore Raven's chaplain, Johnny Shelton, who shared the purpose of why the attendees were gathered and the importance of living out your faith in the sport industry. Following the conference's first session was a panel discussion on the importance of community in the sport industry. This panel was hosted by the Director of Media at Sports Spectrum, Jason Romano. It featured the Vice President of Government Affairs with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Amilyn Pierce, the former Executive Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs, Jay Jacobs, and the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer with the Minnesota Timberwolves & Minnesota Lynx, Tru Pettigrew.
Once the Friday conference sessions were finished, the group joined the CWS attendees at Uncommon Sports Group’s headquarters for a dinner and social event, where a group of USG members was recognized for their outstanding efforts to live out the core values that USG highlights in the Academy. To close out the night, the Impact Weekend group heard from a panel of USG members about the various opportunities that exist when becoming a member of USG and the impact of those opportunities.
Second Day of Impact Weekend
The group began the day on Saturday with a Discovery Bible study over Acts 2:42-47. During this time, the participants were able to reflect on the purpose and value of a Christ-centered community and, specifically, the local church body. Once the Bible study wrapped up, the group joined the morning sessions of the CWS Conference, which featured some powerful sessions!
The first speaker of the morning was well-renowned author and speaker Jon Gordon, who talked about living a life filled with loving, serving, and caring for others. After Jon’s message, the Impact Weekend group gathered to reflect on the sessions with intentional discussion. After the breakout group, followed the second session by Kelli Masters, who shared on living on mission within the sport industry. Followed Kelli Master's message was an awesome panel discussing navigating trials within the sport industry. The panel was hosted by Jason Romano once again. It featured an experienced lineup of speakers, including NCAA basketball coach Tom Crean, the inaugural women’s hockey coach at the University of Minnesota, Laura Halldorson, Denver Nuggets Assistant Coach Ryan Saunders, and Orlando Magic Forward Jonathan Isaac.
After the panel discussion, the group heard from Mike Linch, who is presently the pastor at NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, GA. Pastor Mike shared on making disciples in the sport industry. The group took some further time of discussion over the afternoon sessions before attending the final speaker of the day, Jonathan Isaac, who commissioned the group with a powerful message on living boldly as Christians working in sports.
Tour of the Minnesota Vikings Training Facility
In the final event of Saturday’s Impact Weekend activities, our group headed to the Minnesota Vikings practice facility in Eagan, Minnesota, to receive a tour from their Director of Equipment Services, Mike Parson. Mike showed us the facility and shared some of his career highlights with our group. It is a priority for USG to provide Impact Weekend attendees with hands-on experience with present leaders within the sport industry and see the operation firsthand.
The Impact Weekend rounded out on Sunday morning with a prayer gathering and service at Grace Church in Eden Prairie, MN, and a team lunch at the Mall of America.
It was a joy to see this group of Christ-centered future leaders of the sport industry develop authentic community with one another, grow in their knowledge and love for God, discover their purpose as Christians and sports, and leave feeling encouraged and equipped to be lights for Christ in the sport industry. We look forward to continue walking alongside this group as members within the USG network!