Hear from USG’s Senior Engagement Associate, Michael Carpenter, as he reflects on how the Lord moved during the 2021 calendar year at Uncommon Sports Group.
"Over the past year, I have been encouraged by the Lord’s continued faithfulness in using USG to reach individuals working in the sports industry, for His glory! After our ministry had not had an in-person event in over a year, we had a Weekend Gathering event in Miami, Florida in April of 2021.
This event was for USG members that had completed our first Training Academy team, Team 24, that walked through the devotional, Purpose Driven Life, as well as some assignment call to action over two months. Some of the highlights of the Impact Weekend included our students building Christ-centered relationships with each other, our group hearing from a diverse group of Christ-centered present leaders in the sports industry, participating in small-group evangelism on South Beach, and leading a Gallup Clifton Strengths Assessment activity with our students! Later in May of 2021, we led a similar Weekend Gathering event in Atlanta, GA!
These in-person opportunities helped prepare our organization for our mission trip to Kenya in July of 2021! I can't help but reflect on the Lord's goodness throughout our whole Kenya mission trip. The Lord was faithful in putting the trip together in a short amount of time, weaving our team of USG members together through authentic and intentional community, and using the unique gifts of each team member for His glory during the sport camps, coaches clinic, excursions, and Bible studies.
My hope is that our USG members left this experience in Kenya with an equipped foundation in Christ Jesus and that they presently are ignited to live a life rooted in Him in their athletics workplaces, all over the United States, where the Lord has planted each of them! Since the mission trip, our team has continued to follow up with one another in terms of accountability for individuals' post-trip goals!
USG closed out the 2021 calendar year strong with two additionally powerful Weekend Gathering events in Minneapolis, MN, and Tampa, Florida, for Team 26 and 27 Training Academy participants respectively. Right at the start of the 2022 calendar year, our USG staff was able to lead a group of over 15+ individuals at the Passion 2022 Conference, in Atlanta, GA for an incredible time of fellowship and spiritual growth.
Over a day and a half, our group was able to hear powerful messages and talks from a wide variety of individuals, worship with 60,000+ believers during the conference, and the Lord wove our team together in unity. My favorite speakers included David Platt speaking on living missionally, Jackie Hill Perry defining holiness, and Jennie Allen illustrating that there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus! A few of my favorite songs included “The Blessing” by Cody Carnes and Kari Jobe, “Beautiful Jesus” by Chidima, and “I Thank God” to close out the conference by Maverick City Music! This was my third time attending the Passion Conference with a USG group, and the Lord moved in mighty ways again in our USG members, through music, personal testimonies, guest-speakers, and prayer!
After missing out on the opportunity to do quality life with our USG members for over a year, due to COVID-19 I’d say that the theme or word to define this past year within our ministry has been “thankfulness”. I’m thankful to have been able to do life in the trenches with many of our USG members at various events, and to meet many in person for the first time!
Individuals all over the nation are growing in their relationships with Jesus, and are shining His light in the sports industry that can often be so dark! I have been so encouraged by how the Lord tangibly worked in USG in 2021, and I am excited to see what he has in store for the rest of the 2022 calendar year!"