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Director of International Initiatives
HQ Phone:  (330) 493-4824
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5350 Broadmoor Circle Nw
CSRM has many resources available to help you be more successful in your sports ministry. From books to audio resources to our certification program to one-on-one consulting with our experienced board and staff. CSRM has the resources you need to take your min... more.
Coordinator of Global Associates
Many thanks to CSRM for resources, support from CSRM's Director of International Initiatives - Jonathan Detweiler - and all the prayers from all CSRM staff & global GNP staff.
Jonathon Detweiler - Netherlands
CSRM : Resources : Preferred Partners Jonathon Detweiler - Netherlands Jonathon Detweiler has created a most successful model for the development of the international local church Sports Outreach Ministry. Trained by Rodger Oswald, Jonathon and his wife work for Athletes in Action and are excited to be joining the CSRM-GNP network. Here is a brief biography and a newspaper article about Jonathon. Please welcome them warmly. Biography of Jonathan Detweiler - Netherlands Jonathon: Born in Tampa, FL and raised in Marion, VA. In the seventh grade, Jonathan Detweiler was cut from the school basketball team. For four more years, he persisted. Each year, the result was the same. He was cut from the team. Finally, in his senior year at Marion Senior High School, he didn't even try out. Now, 20-some years later, Detweiler travels the globe, proclaiming the power of sports. He doesn't, however, promote sports alone but as a tool to build relationships, ultimately, a relationship with Jesus Christ. Based in the Netherlands, Detweiler recently accepted a new position with Athletes in Action International. He now serves as the agency's Global Church Resourcing Strategy Leader, helping foster the growth of sports ministry. Laughing about his early sports experience on a recent visit to his hometown, Detweiler said, "If God can use me in sports ministry, he can use anybody." While he didn't play on the school team in Marion, as a teen Detweiler pursued opportunities to serve God. He went on a Royal Oak Presbyterian Church mission trip to Mexico. Working on church construction, Detweiler said, "There God really began to remove blinders" so he could see the world. After graduation, Detweiler continued his education at Wheaton College in Illinois. He pursued ministry opportunities, teaching at an inner-city church, conducting prison ministry and singing in a gospel choir. It was there that he got his first taste of sports ministry, working to reach individuals in inner-city Chicago. "We invited people to play. At the break, we presented the gospel," he explained. Sports ministry became his profession when he joined Athletes in Action Holland, which is the third-largest base for the organization after the United States and Canada. AIA, which was founded in the 1960s, boasts its presence in 96 countries. AIA Holland was established in 1998 and has grown, according to its 2009-2010 ministry report, from 120 athletes touring the Netherlands to nearly 1,000 young people serving churches and spreading the gospel worldwide. While the church has lost its relevance in many people's eyes, Detweiler said, "Sports is something everyone loves." Given the popularity of sports, which AIA Holland defines as most any type of recreational activity, Detweiler said, "Sports is the greatest tool God has given this generation to reach the world with the gospel." He noted that in the U.S. close to 100 percent of the population has some tie to sports. No other tool can reach that percentage of the population, he said, "in a way that is relevant and connects with people's hearts." One of the first photos to come out of Afghanistan after the U.S. invaded, Detweiler remembered, featured a child playing soccer. "Even in the midst of war zones, kids still want to play sports." In Africa, in the midst of poverty, he said, "Kids still play." When people play sports together, Detweiler said, they build relationships in which the gospel can be shared and eventually other needs addressed. Detweiler explained, "God loves people, people love sports, so God loves sports." However, he did note that some attitudes about sports must be addressed. While AIA Holland encourages athletes to be competitive, Detweiler said, they do work to change mindsets about winning, emphasizing that doing the best is oftentimes preferable to being on top of the scoreboard. Detweiler referred to a quote by Eric Liddle, the Olympic gold medalist who was portrayed in the film Chariots of Fire: "God made me fast. Detweiler said feeling God's pleasure while at any type of pursuit is the ultimate form of worship. AIA Holland uses the word "sports" as a generic term to include "almost any physical, recreational and/or leisure activity." He noted that one group in Romania began a chess club. He suggested that in Marion a group of elderly walkers might want to meet at the Riverwalk, walk together and then go out for breakfast. He suggested churches should ask: "What do people in your church love to do?" With AIA Holland's momentum, the organization wants to take its program global. For the last two to three years, Detweiler said, the group has focused significant attention on Africa. This spring, he conducted training in Liberia. After a few more weeks of visiting family in the States, Detweiler will make his way to South Africa to follow up on work under way. This summer, the group added Europe to its areas of focus. AIA Holland's literature notes that about 80 percent of Parisians have never read the Bible and many of Europe's great cathedrals are crowded with tourists but empty of worshippers. All the programs, said Detweiler, are looking toward the 2012 Olympics to take advantage of the accompanying sports excitement. While his work is global, Detweiler encouraged people interested in gospel outreach to say, "Let's do something, and step out." "I would encourage people if they have a love of sports and a love of Jesus to use their talents for him." He's willing to help.
Jonathan works for Athletes in Action Holland as the Manager of International Partnerships. He has been involved in sports ministry for more than 18 years and has travelled to many countries to train local churches in the development of their own sports ministries. The conference was attended by 150 participants; Pastor, church leaders, Sports Ministries Leaders, College & Universities Leaders,etc with Dr. Dolphus Weary, Jonathan Detweiler, Bram Koerts and I (George Festus Blamoh) serving as Speakers.