Sports Ministry

Go For It!

“Those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize. Run in such a way that you may win.”
1 Corinthians 9:24

Next time you are tempted to quit, remember the words of the apostle Paul, who among all people knew adversity and obstacles: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). The qualities, which make for a good athlete, will also help you in your personal life. Choose to be a GREAT ATHLETE. Remember, sports are only for a season, but attitude and faith will last a lifetime.

Poor Athlete

  • Does not play fair
  • Does not give 100%
  • Gives up easily
  • Has a bad attitude
  • Is out for himself / herself
  • Discourages others
  • Complains, makes excuses, or blames others
  • Lets himself / herself be defeated by frustration
  • Loses like a poor sport
  • Thinks they are a loser if they lose a game

Great Athlete

  • Plays fair
  • Gives 100% all the time
  • Never gives up––NEVER
  • Has a good attitude
  • Is a team player
  • Encourages others
  • Does not complain, make excuses or blame others
  • Overcomes frustration by being the best he / she can be
  • Loses like a good sport
  • Realizes that if they play to their maximum potential, then they are a winner – whether the game is lost or won

Are you a Wimp, Whiner or Winner?

Wimp = quitter Whiner = complainer Winner = doesn’t quit or complain

Bill Rudge coached soccer for four years. He used these principles to motivate his soccer teams to four championship seasons.

“Success does not mean that you always achieve your goals, but that you give your best effort to attain
those goals. … Success is not what you do, but who you are.”
– Coach BJ Rudge

Bill encourages players and coaches to never forget: “His name is more important than my game.”

© Copyright 1989, 2022 by Bill Rudge

Touching Lives Through Soccer

BJ Rudge was instrumental in bringing soccer into the schools in his region. He has coached several high school, middle school, and youth soccer teams. He coached three teams this year and ran a soccer camp. BJ also trained numerous individuals, including his nephew, Carson (pictured in poster at right), who has competed in many national soccer tournaments on various teams. BJ’s soccer experience, speaking engagements, serving part-time as professor at Penn State (Shenango Valley Campus) and working full-time at BRM, continues to touch the lives of many young people and adults. Because of BJ’s love for the game he has impacted the lives of numerous players, coaches, parents, administrators, referees….

The Heart of a Coach

BJ Rudge’s testimony may be found in the Faith Through the Fire book. You can read about The Heart of a Coach in the following article (initially printed in Janor Bestwick’s newsletter for Fellowship of Christian Athletes). Used by permission.

BJ’s Comments On Perseverance

Dictionary definition:
“To continue in some effort in spite of difficulty; to be steadfast in purpose.”
My definition:
An unrelenting drive and desire to overcome any obstacle or challenge in the pursuit of achieving a particular goal.

My favorite biblical passage that deals with perseverance: “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven” (Philippians 3:13b – 14).
Why I chose this passage:
It reminds the believer, that just as a runner in a race, he must be persistent and steadfast in pursuing the goal of Christ-likeness.

Application of this attribute in my life:
While playing soccer as a youth, I came to understand the importance of perseverance. After three soccer related injuries, all of which required surgery and extensive rehabilitation, I had to overcome many obstacles in order to play soccer again. Through these challenges, God not only taught me the importance of never giving up, but also taught me always to keep my focus on Him.

How I apply this to my coaching: At the beginning of the season, I have my players write down specific goals that they want to accomplish. Then, when the team faces obstacles and difficulties during the season, I remind them of these goals. I do this to motivate them and help them recognize that they will only attain their future goals if they are willing to persevere through their present challenges.

Congratulations to coach BJ Rudge (center back in photo at right), his coaching staff (assistants Andrew Levitt, Caitlyn Bleggi, Doug Orendi, Bob O’Kresik plus manager Emily Grande and trainer Tammy Thomas) and the Hickory High School girls’ varsity soccer team for a great season and being Region Champs eight years in a row, 3-time District 10 champions and qualifying for the State playoffs.

As a youth, BJ was passionate about soccer. His dream was to compete in the Olympics and become a professional soccer player. Although the Lord took his life in another direction (see his book, Faith Through The Fire), He didn’t take away his passion for soccer and has used it to impact many lives.

BJ Rudge (age 16) with Haitian boys to whom he gave this soccer ball (see photo at right). A few days later these boys saved the lives of BJ, Bill, and several BRM team members surrounded by angry voodoo participants. Soccer is a universal language and if you have a soccer ball you have an opportunity to communicate and touch lives.

Students at Artman Elementary School in Hermitage listened intently as high school soccer coach BJ Rudge addressed them during Career Day. Rudge told them not only about soccer but also that he teaches his soccer players about “giving back”. To illustrate this message, he had the first graders participate by signing soccer balls that BRM was sending to the Karen Rudge Foundation in Liberia.

The soccer balls and jerseys were contributed for the children from the Shenango Valley Soccer Club and Hermitage Soccer Boosters. The youth of the Karen Rudge Foundation in Liberia were thrilled as they wore their new jerseys and used their new soccer balls.

“The soccer tournament at the stadium in Liberia honoring William Rudge brought together four communities. The Yellow Jersey team won while the Blue took second place. The pamphlets from Bill Rudge Ministries were shared for the glory of God. The teams and I distributed the tracts to the community. The kids took the true life testimony of Bill (The Taming of Godzilla) home to their parents. Also, thank you for your contribution to purchase a new chalkboard for the children of this village. May you never lack anything in life. Your contribution will be a remembrance in the lives of these kids. We are so grateful to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Pastor Festus Banks, Liberia.”

Following a devastating earthquake that hit Haiti, BJ sent several soccer balls while his sister Tabitha coordinated the Run for Haiti to raise funds for earthquake relief. BJ spoke during a school assembly for kindergarten classes. Since his daughter was in kindergarten, her teacher asked BJ to share what he did as the high school girls’ soccer coach. In connection with this, he had the kindergarten kids, as well as members of the soccer program, sign soccer balls for Haiti. The Bill Rudge Ministries sent them to Mission Possible in Haiti for distribution.

These Haitian students loved the new soccer balls they received from Bill Rudge Ministries. They no longer have to use rolled up rags or old deflated soccer balls to play their favorite game.

BJ (holding soccer ball) and Peter (director of an orphanage in Haiti) speak to youth and parents at Upward Soccer. First Assembly donated a large box of soccer balls and air pumps for Peter’s orphanage. Chaplain Bruce Miller, a friend of Bill’s, delivered the box to the orphanage. The youth received them with great joy.