Faith and Football Conference set

Published 1:38 pm Wednesday, July 31, 2013

When it comes to football in the south—high school and college football—it can often times be treated as a religion…especially in Alabama. An upcoming conference in Destin will combine the two—football and religion—and will have a local speaker speaking at the event.

The 1st annual Faith and Football Conference, scheduled for Saturday, August 24 at the Palms of Destin Resort, will feature Brewton’s First Baptist Church youth pastor Randy Winton at the event. Winton, a Tennessee fan, is also a Christian author.
Joining Winton at the event will be: Fletcher Law, a Christian author and evangelist from Gainesville, Georgia, who will be sharing his story and the Word of God as one of the speakers. Law has a new book coming out that Ole Miss fans will love called “Finding Grace in the Grove”.

Another speaker is Auburn fan Chad Gibbs. Gibbs is a highly sought after Christian author and evangelist from Alabama Chad Goss, a former Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver and evangelist from Alabama will also be on hand as will Wayne Asprodites who is the student ministry pastor at Destin Worship Center in Destin. Asprodites is an LSU fan.

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Scott McKinney is the host of the popular college football sports talk radio show “Southern Sports Tonight” and is the one spearheading the event. McKinney is also an Ole Miss fan.

“I am in sports radio, but my other job is marketing sports events,” McKinney said. “The Lord put it on my heart to look at doing an event, with everyone getting excited about football, to do an event with a faith theme and get everyone as excited about their faith as they are about the football season. I fought it for a few days, but it just kept coming to me. The Lord put it on my heart to call Randy because we have been friends for a long time. He gave me some names of some speakers that have ties to college football through a player or a coach or a reporter or an author who has written some books with football ties. It is just amazing how everything started to come together.”

McKinney said he went on his radio show and started talking about it a few weeks ago and talked about it and had 225 requested tickets really quick.

“The ballroom we are having it in holds 600, so I hope we will have a full house,”

McKinney said. “It is going to be a fun day. It is going to have a lot of college football theme to it. We are going to have concessions set up to eat just like you will find at the stadium. All the speakers have great stories to tell about their faith and the good times and bad times and it all ties to football. They coached in the game, they have played in the game, so I think it will all be great. I think when folks come to this, they will receive something from God only that they and God know about. I am just praying it will be a real blessing for everybody. It has already touched me.”
Locally, Randy Winton will take part in the conference.

“Scott and I have been friends for a long time and one day he called me up and said he had something eating him up that he wanted to pass along to me,” Winton said. “He said God had put something on his heart and I told him to go with it. Just for him to ask me is awesome. I love the opportunity to go speak to people. Like everyone, I am passionate about college football, so to tie it in with college football will be fun.”

Winton said he feels this is an opportunity God has given him to speak at this event.

“It is an honor to do this and I am excited to do something with Scott,” Winton said. “I think every man will say that we struggle about being passionate about our faith when we are not about sports. We all struggle with that. I see myself getting fired up about college football and we sit on our hands on Sunday mornings. We just go through the motions. It is OK to be passionate about college football and sports, but people have to see in us a passion for Christ.”

Winton said he thinks people are more passionate about sports or college football than church because it is more of a social event.

“It is a whole lot easier to be outside with 80,000 people and not know everyone and be more free,” Winton said. “Yet in church, we have taught ourselves we have to be reverent in church. We get reverence and passion mixed up. In your heart should be joy and college football brings joy. Watching your team play and win and get to a bowl and championship, brings joy and that is fun. God provides those things and opportunities to be successful and have joy. At times we forget how we grew up in church having to be quiet. If God gives someone a talent to play sports, He wants them to use it and be talented for His glory. So it is OK to be excited for those players and teams. We all have a platform to honor Him. It is fun to go to games and God is fun, we just have to put it into perspective. We should spend the same energy for sports that we do for Him.”

The format of the day will start with praise and worship and then some “pregame exercises”. The speakers are expected to speak anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. The event is open to men and women and children and anyone who likes college football and loves the Lord.

A limited number of tickets are available and can be acquired by   emailing Tickets are free, but your must have a ticket for admittance into the conference.