The pain train
Youth for Christ (YFC) has been encouraged after teaming up with a professional American football star to run a four-week long mission in High Wycombe.
Zack Follett, a 24-year-old Detroit Lions starting linebacker and born-again Christian, was forced into retirement in August last year because of a serious neck injury. However, the pro, who was dubbed ‘The pain train’ because of his ferocious tackles, believes this was part of God’s perfect timing.
He said, ‘Preaching Jesus was the only thing bringing me joy, so I was praying that God would reveal his plans for my life’.
The four-week mission happened because keen Detroit Lions fan Sam McKee, Wycombe YFC schools and outreach worker, felt called to send Mr Follett a message on social network Twitter, after he read of Mr Follett’s retirement and desire for mission.
According to a YFC statement, Mr McKee’s twitter message read simply, ‘Come preach in England some time, bro’. And that was the start of the mission.
Mr Follett ran a mission week of American Football training in three different local schools, to honour their support of Mr McKee’s work developing the sport in the area. He enjoyed training the young people, sharing his faith in schools and at youth events and serving the bigger vision of the ongoing work of Wycombe YFC.
Mr McKee said, ‘It was easily the most worthwhile thing I’ve ever done as a youth worker. As a major sportsman passionate about Christ and making him known, Zack’s story spoke powerfully to young people’.
YFC, which has used sport as a relevant means of bringing the gospel to young people in Britain, is now exploring how high-quality American Football coaching and tournaments could increase its local presence and help serve schools and communities.