Dodgers, Fans Switch Focus From Slump To Faith During Post Game Event
LOS ANGELES — Several Los Angeles Dodger players and thousands of fans were able to switch focus from a nasty slump to a time of worship and testimonies during Christian Faith Day, an annual post game event at Dodger Stadium held earlier this month.
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“You’re going to spend more time with your faith than you are playing baseball,” three-time Cy Young Awards winner Clayton Kershaw told TogetherLA.net and K-Wave 107.9 prior to the event held September 10. “You can’t treat (life, a player’s life) like a pie chart — have Jesus in one part and then baseball in the other part because baseball is going to take over.
“You just need to find a way to put Jesus into every part of your life. I try to do that with baseball, with a bigger picture in mind, and a bigger perspective in mind,” Kershaw continued. “It’s not always easy coming to the field every single day, especially the way it has been going for us now, but we just have to remember on a consistent basis that we are doing it for a bigger purpose.”
While the Crowder band was setting up the stage and preparing to play before fans who gathered after the game (an 8-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies) on the 3rd-base side of the stadium, a panel of players, including Kershaw and Adrian Gonzalez, were interviewed by the team’s chaplain, Brandon Cash, on top of the Dodger dugout.
As a pastor at Oceanside Christian Fellowship in El Segundo, Cash came to the Dodgers by way of the Baseball Chapel ministry that learned about his work with the L.A. Kings. He has helped host Christian Faith Day at Dodger Stadium for the last seven years.
When asked by TLA about the importance of the event and sports ministry in general, he said, “In the culture we live in, sports and entertainment may be two of the biggest industries in cultural influences that we have and so to have guys that follow Jesus in either of those worlds is really a good thing. It’s encouraging to the faith of those who may be wavering and it’s a great voice for the gospel for people that don’t know Jesus.”
Cash, an alumnus of Biola’s Talbot School of Theology, said that he is excited to serve as a chaplain and Christian leader in Los Angeles.
“We have some 10 million people in the L.A. area so just the population — it’s huge, it’s diverse, the world comes to L.A. so if you reach L.A. [new believers] will go back out and reach the world,” he said. “I just think the opportunities in L.A. are incredible.”
Cash said his hope for the annual event is that Christians are encouraged and that unbelievers would discover the truth about the gospel.
“I think of when Apollos came to town (as described) in the book of Acts. He was more eloquent and he defended the faith. He was an encouragement to those that lived in the city,” he said. “Sometimes when they hear someone like a Clayton or an Adrian encouraging them in their faith then I would hope they leave encouraged. I would hope that people who don’t know Jesus would hear the gospel and see the truth.”
Kershaw also described the importance of the event.
“This is just a great way to maybe reach people who have never heard the Word before, never heard testimonies,” he said. “I know baseball is a great platform to be able to use that for Jesus. That’s why we do the faith day — maybe our stories can help a little bit.”
Gonzalez, who has been on the injured list, appeared to enjoy the event not only as one of the players giving their testimony, but as a Crowder fan relishing the time of worship with his family by his side.
“If we can be a blessing to one person in the stands, it made it all worth it,” Gonzalez said.