Athletes for Christ aims to be a support system on campus

Sept. 16, 2013

April Wefler
awefler@uccs.edu

Being a Christian in college can be difficult when students want to have a good time while not losing their faith.

Darius Pardner, a junior majoring in organizational and strategic communication, started Athletes for Christ last spring to help college students in their journey with God.

“I honestly believe God’s always speaking to me and through me. The idea wasn’t mine; God kind of spoke to me about it,” he said.

Pardner is a member of the UCCS basketball team and played basketball in high school. “I wanted to mix in athletics with following Christ,” he said.

“If you’d asked me a year ago, I thought it would’ve been hard to work two jobs, go to school and have my own club,” he said.

However, Pardner said he has been able to balance classes, athletics, two jobs and still find time for church.

“One day I was just thinking that we don’t have a place on campus where people who are not of a particular faith can come together and learn about God. You can just come in and talk about topics that relate to us,” he said.

The club plans to talk about everyday topics and how they relate to sports. Pardner said that each week, they’ll have a discussion-based Bible study.

“My goal is to really just talk to people about following Christ as a college student. You’re on your own for the first time – 18, 19, 20 years old,” he said.

Pardner grew up in a church home, but said he didn’t really find Christ until last year.

Like Pardner, Vice President Amber Wilson grew up in a church-going home and said half of her family are pastors.

“When you come to college, you’re away from home and you’re not at your church home and it’s really hard to find other students who have Christ in their life,” she said.

Pardner said anyone can join, even if they aren’t an athlete or religious, and university policy mandates clubs don’t discriminate with their members.

“I don’t see why I should restrict anyone who can join my club,” Pardner said, adding that non-believers are more than welcome.

“I think our goal is just to be a support system and influence students to live with the perspective of God on your side. He’s always there; you should never feel alone on campus,” Wilson added.

Wilson, a junior majoring in organizational and strategic communication, said she is excited to see what other people are thinking.

“I just feel like there’s going to be so many things to cover, ’cause it’s going to be like a big fishbowl when you throw a topic in,” she said. “It gives students another way to cope with college and to cope with daily life.”

Pardner said he wants to talk about being yourself and that it’s OK to follow Christ and still have fun in college.

“I think a lot of students party and if you’re concerned with Christ, you’re wondering if it’s bad for me. God loves us for the way we are. He knows who we are; he made us. A lot of people try to be like other people; God wants us to be ourselves,” he said.

Chris Morgan, a junior majoring in secondary education in history, thought it was important to spread the word.

“I thought it was necessary for people to hear it in a different way,” he said.

Morgan, a Christian athlete in high school and Athletes for Christ’s treasurer, said his dad has been a pastor his whole life and that he was raised in church from a young age.

“My personal goal is just to spread the word and help people with their journey with Christ,” Morgan said.

Along with the discussion, the club plans to volunteer once a month at the Colorado Springs Rescue Mission and go to sporting events.

“This is really just about how does God want us to live, topics that relate to young adults and how to better ourselves and our community. Those make good people and good people are the ones that thrive in the future,” Pardner said.

The first meeting of Athletes for Christ will be Sept. 25 from 6-7 p.m. in University Center, room to be determined.