Picture this. Valentine’s Day 2018. Twenty-two hockey players ages 16-20 are in the Cobourg Cougars dressing room sitting at their stalls eating pizza and talking. They’re pretty tired after a hard practice preparing for an important game the next day. You walk in with a large box and set it at the front of the room where the coach usually gives his instructions and motivational speeches. Instantly the guys’ attention is drawn to you, and more importantly, the box. “What’s in the box?”, a few players yell out.
After they’ve all settled, you start chapel. You talk about “You Are Loved” – a concept that is rare in our world today. You read a testimonial from Gigi Marvin, a member of the USA Women’s Olympic hockey team and two-time Olympic silver medalist. Gigi shares how “God’s love is not contingent on what I do, but on who He is… that no amount of success or failure ever defines who I am.” You read Psalm 139:13-18, talking about how much God loves each guy in this room, that God designed every intimate part of him inside of his mother’s womb, and that God is with him each day as he wakes up. At chapel, you always read a portion of Scripture to support the topic. You consistently discuss the value of the Bible – the saving truth of Jesus, daily wisdom, encouragement when we’re feeling down, and much more! And you pray. Every chapel. About whatever the guys want to pray about – that they would play well next game, healing and recovery for injuries and sickness, high school exams, post-secondary entrance exams, work, and family. They name it, you pray about it.
But today, you do something special before you lead in prayer. Today is about the box. As you open the box behind you, you can feel their eyes boring right through you toward that box in anticipation. You remind them how important and valuable the Bible is to you and how valuable it can be for them. You tell them that the best way to figure out what they believe about Jesus is to read the Bible, and today, you have a Bible for each of them. You pull out the first Bible, with the Cobourg Cougars logo, the Hockey Ministries International logo, and their name and jersey number imprinted in gold lettering on the front cover. The room erupts! Guys who have never been in a church, and guys who have a Catholic background but haven’t attended mass in years, all jumping off their seats to get their very own Bible! They’re eager to help you hand out the Bibles to their teammates After chapel is over and you’re leaving the dressing room, you overhear one player say to another, “This is great! I’ve never had a Bible before and now I have my very own!”