WHAT IS AIA?
AIA is an international organization founded in 1966 in Ohio. It focuses on bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to college and professional athletes all over the country and world. AIA has sports teams, training centers, training conferences, missions trip opportunities, fall and winter retreats, and the infamous Ultimate Training Camp in Colorado (more on that later).
Locally…AIA is a support network…a community...a movement of athletes seeking to honor God in sport and life. The word “seeking” is intentional. We’re not perfect. We believe Jesus Christ is the Perfect one, and so that’s why we talk about Him and follow Him.
AIA is a bunch of broken people who don’t have it all figured out. We admit that freely because that’s where our faith begins. We’re NOT a clique (at least, we don’t want to be). We’re NOT an exclusive club. We’re NOT just a student group or an organization. We’re a Christian ministry that seeks to serve and bless the athletic community.
WHAT DOES AIA DO? Well…
- We have these large group gatherings on Thursday nights, as well as Men’s & Women’s Life Groups on Sunday nights.
- We throw various parties or social events.
- We hang out.
- We have a giant Nerf Gun Capture the Flag Tournament.
- We giveaway Injured Athlete Care Kits to our teammates who spend all their time in the training room or on the sidelines.
- We show up to each other’s events and scream our heads off.
- We have home-cooked dinners with discussion on relevant topics.
- We have a pumpkin-carving contest.
- We have a gingerbread house competition.
- We have t-shirts.
- We probably do other stuff too…so you’ll just have to show up to find out.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT AT AIA?
You can expect all that I mentioned. You can expect that this place is a safe place to talk about sport, faith, and life. We want to be an authentic community that’s really tight and at the same time very welcoming and easy to get into. Remember, not a click or exclusive club. You can expect that we want to talk about relevant stuff. It’s just theoretical or theology—it’s practical and useful. You can expect that we’ll talk about faith and sport, but also about life: about dating and relationships, sex, marriage, time management, conflict, depression, addiction, drugs, alcohol, society, culture, and more. The reason we’ll talk about this stuff is not only because it’s relevant to you right now, and a lot it after you graduate, but it’s because God addresses all these things, through the person, works, and words of Jesus Christ. We don’t know it all or have it all together, but we believe we know the One who does…and we want you to know Him too.
WHO CAN BE INVOLVED AT AIA?
There are no “official” requirements to be part of this community. However, unofficially, I’d say you’d have to at least like sports, because this is what most of us do and talk about. We have all sorts of athletes: Varsity, former varsity, club, intramural, friends of athletes, wanna be athletes, and even some veteran athletes like myself.
Religious requirements? None! Yes, this is a Christian ministry. We believe Jesus Christ is the ultimate athlete. We believe that God the Father is the perfect coach and He’s actively recruiting us. He’s gone through great lengths and paid a great price to make us a free agent, enabling us to join His team and stop being on our own team. He wants us even though we’re rebellious, selfish, and (what the Bible calls) sinful.
To be on God’s team costs us nothing. We don’t need to tryout. He already sees the potential. The catch, if you can call it that, is that we must put down our own playbook or someone else’s playbook, and instead pick up God’s playbook…With a new coach and team come new plays and strategies. God doesn’t require a perfect performance, but He wants us to turn from our old ways and follow His ways. This is the essence of the Christian life, and this is what we discuss and dissect at AIA.
If none of that made sense, that’s okay—please come back because we’ll be unpacking this more every week. In fact, this semester on Thursdays, we’ll be going through the 5 AIA Principles and doing it in a variety of ways (not just me up here!): student stories, guest speakers like Brown Alumni, videos, group discussion, and learning interactive activities. It’s a great place to bring your teammates!
HOW CAN YOU BE INVOLVED IN AIA?
- Show up every Thursday.
- Come to Sunday night Life Groups.
- Got an idea for a social event or party? Email us.
- Want to be on the AIA leadership team to help shepherd this growing ministry? Let me know.
- Have an idea for how to serve and bless athletes on your team or athletic community in general? Let us know.
- Have more questions about sport, faith, and/or life? Let us know.
Here’s the last thing I want to say—you are always welcome here. Always. Here’s why I say that: every year, every semester, I see this happen. Some athletes come to AIA event once or twice, or they even come for half the stuff we do all year. But then the next semester, they stop coming.
Why do they stop? Well, it can be for a variety of reasons, some of which you’ll address as the semester goes on. For some, it will be because they get a boyfriend or girlfriend and then start cross some sexual boundaries that they believe would be unacceptable at AIA (as if we’re the moral police or something). For others it will be because they start drinking alcohol excessively or doing illegal drugs.
Let me tell you: I’m under no illusion that some of you are sexually active in some capacity right now. And that some of you are under some sort of “influence” that’s not natural. Statistically I know it’s very likely, and from experience I know that to be true—that was me in college (more on that another time) and I’ve seen it over the years.
If that person is you tonight, or if that becomes you at some point, I want to say this—I, we, AIA, still welcome you. No judgment, for only God is the ultimate judge. No condemnation, but no condoning either. We’ve got issues too, whether you see them or not. We’re about walking with God together, not about behavior modification. Are y’all tracking with me on this…?
Some people think they need to get their life together first and then come to God, and then they come to AIA. But it’s actually the opposite. The Christian says that I don’t have my life together and that’s why I need God. So, whether this is your first time here or your last time here, we love you and welcome you because God loves you and welcomes you.