Men’s Basketball Fulfills Mission Through Ministry

During the off-season, the Grace men’s basketball
program went up to Michigan City to play a
game against the Indiana State Prison team. This
game wasn’t about winning and losing, but about
the ministry opportunity, a chance to grow, and a
fun competition.
Coach Jim Kessler said that he wanted to place
his team in an “intimidating situation because they
were locked in until the game was over.” Kessler
also noted that “a few of the inmates are Grace
grads who came up to me and were asking about
several professors by name.” The Grace team won
the matchup but this game was not about winning
or losing. Coach Kessler mentioned that after the
game, both teams participated in a “post-game
prayer and the inmates were very open to us praying
for them.”
This fall, the men’s team also held a basketball
clinic at the Pierceton Woods Academy, where
many students were formerly in jail. After the conclusion
of the clinic, the team and the students had
pizza together. According to Kessler, “both events
were very successful.”
Kessler was also eager to describe his team’s
spiritual goals for the year, saying, “The team purpose
is to bring praise to God by being the best
basketball team we can be, committed to putting
the team first, developing skill, and playing together
as hard and as long as we are capable. We have
to be committed to Jesus because He is the center
of what we do.”
The guys seek to bring praise to God by spiritual
growth and accountability, being servant leaders
to each other and the rest of campus individually,
as well as the athletes performing to their capability
in the classroom, aiming for the NAIA Scholar
Team minimum of a collective 3.0 GPA. The guys
also look to be the best team they can be with a
fierce competitive spirit and will to win, “bringing
it” daily on the court. The third goal the guys
are looking to accomplish is to develop skill. Their
last goal is to play together at a high level, always
putting team first. The team plans to accomplish
this by building a program upon honesty, accountability,
humility, integrity, respect, responsibility,
sportsmanship, and servant leadership.
It’s time to get excited for this season, which
promises not only a repeat for the conference title,
but also a deep tournament run. As Coach Kessler
says, “Preparation is the price of success.”