By Kayla Palmore
Every Monday evening at 8:30 p.m., Roosevelt University student athletes flood the main conference room in the Roosevelt Goodman center. Once all of them find a seat, everyone greets one another asking questions like “how was your weekend?” and suddenly a cloud of silence fills the room followed by a soft voice saying, “let’s pray.”
For the past two years, Athletes in Action become an active organization on RU’s campus. AIA is a worldwide organization serving student, professional and international athletes by helping them grow in their faith in God. AIA’s mission is to build spiritual movements everywhere through the platform of sports so that it may be possible for everyone to know someone who loves Jesus.
AIA member Lance Evans, 26, explained his impact by being a supervisor.
“There are four Chicago college campuses under my care of supervision, RU is one of those four,” Evans said. “My job is to equip student athletes who want to grow in their faith and resource those who may have spiritual questions.”
During these weekly sessions the group discusses a chapter in the bible. They try to pull out a general message, pray on it and see how they can apply it to their week. Evans explained that the main purpose of each session is so that these student athletes can grow as a spiritual community.
“The main objective of each weekly session is to grow closer as a community of student-athletes, and to grow closer to God individually and collectively.”
In a recent session on on Nov. 23, RU junior women’s volleyball player Brooke Lee, 20, elaborated on how testimonies have an impact on her.
“We read from Romans 5:1-5. I enjoyed talking in small groups about the passage and then sharing them as a whole,” said Lee. “Molly (one of the student leaders) shared her testimony. And I love when people tell their stories because it is always interesting to see what paths everyone has taken to get to where they are today and to see how they have been saved and where God has been present in their lives.”
Although Evans is considered the head of AIA at RU, there are also five student leaders that meet weekly with certain students who cannot make the meetings as well as taking turns leading the discussions each week.
Senior Bethany Hart, 21, is a Student leader for AIA and RU Women’s Softball Player. Hart is one of the reasons AIA is present on Roosevelt’s Campus to this day.
“Bringing the AIA movement to RU has been an ongoing process since my sophomore year when a friend of mine who is a student-athlete at UIC connected me with an AIA staff member, who talked to Morgan Higgs (RU women’s soccer player) and myself about bringing it to Roosevelt,” said Hart.
Hart went on to explain since she became a part of the AIA community, she wanted other RU student athletes to have the chance as well.
“Long story short, Morgan and I were immersed in the AIA Chicago community and started our first bible study in spring 2015. Thankfully a new and more regular staff member was assigned to RU (Lance Evans) starting that fall.” Said Hart “Lance was pivotal in guiding Morgan and I in reaching out to more athletes, establishing a leadership team and simply helping to organize the movement and meetings to help our group in direction, growth and truly making this a reliable resource for the RU student-athletes.”
Sophomore men’s basketball player Kevin Day, 19, said that AIA made him better on and off the court.
“AIA makes me a better athlete because the meetings help me to stay focused on the big picture and to not get weighed down by so many trials and tribulations,” Day said. “I come away encouraged and ready to take on the week with God in the forefront to take on anything that comes my way.”