Uncommon Sports Group hosted its first ever Members Retreat in Nashville, Tennessee on July 22-24. USG was fortunate enough to have over thirty members in attendance, along with some of our ambassadors. The goal of our Members Retreat was to provide a space for our members to rest and grow in their walks with Christ prior to the fall sports season. We strived to achieve this goal by providing our members with experienced and prolific guest speakers, reflection time in breakout groups, opportunities to break bread with one another, and time to fellowship at Top Golf.
We were excited to be able to introduce our most recent ministry staff hire, Adam Maronde, at the retreat. Adam will be serving as the Director of Ministry Advancement. Prior to joining staff with USG, Adam was a Performance Manager at Exos, a strength training and performance organization for athletes around the globe. If you haven’t already, connect with Adam via our USG Connect App!
Our staff and group of members arrived in Nashville on Friday, July 23rd. We began the weekend with introductions and the opportunity to hear from two tremendous guest speakers, Lee De Leon and Hans Malebranche. Lee is the Deputy Athletic Director at Middle Tennessee State and Hans is the Associate AD for Development and Chief Development Officer at Middle Tennessee State. They both shed light on their career journeys through college athletics, as well as how their faith in Jesus Christ played a vital role in that journey. We capped off the day with a group outing at a local Top Golf.
Our members were fortunate enough to hear from some incredible guest speakers on Saturday. Each of our guest speakers shared a message based on each of our core values- called, committed, and connected. Jason Romano, currently the Director of Media at Sports Spectrum and formerly was at ESPN in various roles for 17 years, spoke on living connected. Our members were able to reflect on Jason’s message in a breakout session. Carol Voronyak, a former colleague of Jason Romano’s at ESPN, spoke on the topic of living called. Her message was impactful and our group was able to discuss her message in breakout groups, as well. We held our retreat on Lipscomb University's campus and we were able to receive a tour of their athletic facilities from Bryan Engle, who is Lipscomb's Associate Athletic Director for Operations and Facilities. Bryan also spoke to our group and shared on his career and faith journey. Our third and final speaker was the chaplain of the Baltimore Ravens, Johnny Shelton. Johnny spoke to our group on what it means to live connected and our members were able to walk through a worksheet that Johnny provided that challenged each of them to reflect on where they are at in their personal walks with the Lord. We capped off Saturday with a group dinner at a local barbeque restaurant and fellowship!
Our first ever Members Retreat rounded out with a worship service led by Deputy Athletic Director at MTSU Lee De Leon and a powerful sermon from Raven's chaplain Johnny Shelton. Our prayer is that our members were able to leave the weekend feeling refreshed and empowered to make an impact for the kingdom as they jump back onto their everyday lives. We are incredibly grateful for each of our guest speakers who took the time to share with our group. We are also grateful for our relationship with another sports ministry, AD’s 4 Christ, who we partnered with throughout the weekend. AD’s 4 Christ has been a tremendous blessing for our ministry and for our members who were able to interact and connect with Christian Athletic Directors from around the country.
If you weren’t able to attend this year’s Members Retreat, we hope to see you there next summer for our second annual USG Members Retreat!
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