USA (MNN) — Cornerstone University will begin something new this weekend. Spiritually speaking, it's very exciting with many layers. God may be poised to use this new athletic program to take the Gospel to the world.
This weekend Cornerstone University is reintroducing baseball to their athletic program.
I know what you're thinking: MNN isn't about baseball. That's true, but it is about people sharing Christ, and that's our focus.
Head coach of CU's baseball program is David Mitrof. He says when God blessed CU with a donor who wanted to bring baseball back to CU, "The very first thing we discussed was: it would need to be something more than just baseball. The concept of something beyond baseball really came to life."
"When Dr. Stowell and the trustees asked me to accept the position as head baseball coach, one of the core values we talked about was using baseball to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ worldwide," says Mitroff.
He's excited about this weekend. "The stadium is actually six-weeks ahead of schedule for construction–it's finished right now. We have 42 baseball players arriving this Saturday for a retreat before the season really starts."
Another exciting layer is that Mitroff has connected with an organization called Global Baseball. President, of Global Baseball, Jeff Siegel, says: "Through the great game of baseball, we connect young people and families to the local church all over the world."
Siegel has a heart for the nation of Cuba. "Coach Mitroff came with me to Cuba and actually saw that the nation of Cuba is absolutely ripe for the harvest. Baseball is the king in Cuba, so through the king we get to share the King of kings and Lord of lords with the people of Cuba."
In 2001, Global Baseball was only able to align themselves with four house churches. Now, there are over 62 house churches. And through some special government meetings, Seigel says, "The Cuban government has given us permission to plant churches anywhere in the island, and they've asked us to help with more humanitarian aid. So now, Coach Mitroff in Cuba is a known entity."
Mitroff was asked to bring his program to Cuba to play and to have the players share their faith. Mitroff says, "We're going to do a retreat about a half-hour from campus here. One of the core values we're going to talk about is taking baseball around the world, and the very first place we're going to go is Cuba."
But that's not all. Cornerstone University would like to host an event that will encourage other Christian baseball coaches and players to do the same. The plan is to "bring them to Cornerstone and have a Global Leadership Summit for baseball where we not only bring in and evaluate players, but introduce them to the concept of 'beyond baseball' and take the Gospel worldwide."
And there's more! Because of Seigel's Jewish roots and ties to Israel, Global Baseball is beginning a partnership with that nation as well. "Brian Doyle and I have been asked by the Israel Association of Baseball and Softball to begin a national baseball and softball academy in Israel."
Global Baseball needs to raise $80,000 to make this happen. If that happens, that would open the door for Christians. "We are going to train every coach in the nation and train all of their children from 8-years-old through the national teams." In addition, "We have been given permission to share the Gospel message with people 18 and above."
Cornerstone is asking that you pray for the new baseball team that they would be excited about this call to take the Gospel to the world through baseball. Pray also for funding so the team can travel to Cuba next year. And finally, pray for funding for Global Baseball so they can begin this incredible opportunity in Israel.