The Team United sports ministry has one mission: To ignite a movement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the athletic community at the University of Georgia by Winning, Building, and Sending athletes, coaches, and all whom they influence. The ministry is staff-directed, but more importantly, it's student-led. We call our leaders F.A.T. D.O.G.'s=Faithful, Available, Teachable--Disciples Of GOD.
Here's one F.A.T. D.O.G., RG Waterworth, who has been making a huge impact on the athletic community at Georgia. I asked him a few questions recently, and here are RG's thoughts about what it takes to reach today's student-athlete for Christ.
RG's Basic Bio, and in his own words, how he got involved with TU:
From Monroe, GA. 2 siblings. I have two degrees from Georgia. B.S.-History, M.S.-Education. I got involved with TU in a pretty round-about way. When I was in undergrad at Georgia in 2010 I was helping run a Christian non-profit called Phi Slam at UGA that hosted and threw massive, creative, nonalcoholic events for college students. I became friends with Chris Burnette, who played football and was heavily involved with TU. He started inviting me to the football team’s bible study, I met Thomas Settles (football’s chaplain), and eventually I started helping Chris lead the bible studies, Thomas began to disciple me, and the rest is history, as they say. After completing my undergrad degree I spent the 2012 and 2013 football seasons working as a graduate assistant for the football program doing all of the operations coordination and logistics while serving in my current role with TU. After I finished grad school I kept working with TU.
Describe your spiritual background/how you came to know Christ personally?
I grew up in a Christian family in a solid church that did a great job of teaching Scripture, and I prayed to receive Christ at an early age, yet my faith didn’t become real to me until my senior year of high school. At that point in my life my primary focus was on athletics, and the Lord had to take it away from me in order to strip me down and begin changing my heart. During my senior year I had a pretty serious knee injury that ended my athletic career. I had to lose the thing I built my identity around in order for God to become number one in my life.
Who has had the greatest impact on your life (other than Christ) and why?
My parents are super solid in their faith, and they have set a very high example for my siblings and me to follow. It’s been a cool process as I’ve grown up more into adulthood to see their heart for the gospel. I didn’t necessarily see that when I was younger but it’s cool to look back and see how that impacted their daily lives, the way they raised us, etc.
How would you describe your role as a ministry leader in TU?
I have my hands in lots of different things. I coordinate our Wednesday night activities and themes, come up with our marketing plans and see to their execution, oversee social media, direct our video content, and plan and coordinate any weekend or outside events that we might do. I delegate tasks to the leadership team in order to complete these objectives, and I work with them to ensure their completion.
How does what you're doing in TU relate to the culture of today's student-athlete?
The goal with all of this is to make Team United relevant to today’s college athlete. What I do is ask what will get a college athlete who is uninterested in Jesus to come to Team United functions and then make it happen. This mainly includes making our Wednesday night events really cool, funny, etc. by having high quality videos we make, coming up with ridiculous games for the athletes to participate in, or even coming up with themed nights in which we may bring in food, drinks, games, music, and décor to match the theme of the night. This also includes secondary efforts such as coming up with creative ways to market TU to athletes on campus. One cool project we did was to create a massive billboard that we hang original on (cool fonts, crazy colors, etc.).
We're not an event-driven ministry; we're about MOVEMENTS of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on campus. How do events like 80's Date Night and "Screen on the Green" help in igniting a movement of the Gospel?
We have started doing events to create an environment where athletes can build community with their teammates and start pursuing relationships with them with the aim of sharing the gospel. While many non-Christian athletes may not feel comfortable coming to a bible study, they may feel comfortable coming to an event, such as a movie night. The TU leadership team is encouraged to invite their teammates to these events in the hopes that their nonbelieving teammates see authentic Christian community played out, that spiritual conversations may be broached, and that ultimately they come to know Christ through the relationships. The events that I head up are just a means to the work that Christ wants to do through our staff and leaders.
|CC Runner, Zach Sims takes a selfie at a Wednesday night meeting in Aug 2014|
What have been some of your most fun experiences while attending UGA? Why?
I enjoyed it all. It was quite the ride.
What makes you “come alive”? In other words, what passions and vision has God placed on your heart for your life and His Kingdom work?
I love being creative, and I really think that is a gifting God has placed on me. I enjoy the role I have with TU because it allows me to use those talents in ways that impact people. Today’s college kids are driven by social media and that field is constantly changing, so it’s fun trying to be on the cutting edge of technology, culture, etc. I’m not sure what the future holds. I’m not sure what next year holds, but I know that if I’m going to be following The Lord in thirty years from now, fiftenn years from now, a year from now, or three months from now I have to follow him today, so that’s my goal: Grow closer to Christ, learn more about suffering, and allow God to use my giftings however he wants.
What are some of your favorite verses in the Bible and/or books of Bible and why?
Ephesians! The way Paul paints God’s grace in Ephesians is incredible. I love it because it’s the hope of our faith.
Anyone is welcome to visit us one Wednesday night. We meet at the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall team meeting room on campus at 9 pm every week! GO DAWGS!!