October 10, 2022
The East Texas Baptist University Tiger Baseball Team concluded its series of free baseball skills camps for local children. Over the last six weeks, the Tiger student-athletes spent their Thursday evenings teaching an average of 60 children per week the fundamentals of baseball and sharing their faith through personal relationship development, Gospel testimonies, and prayer. More than 120 local children participated in the baseball camps over the span of six weeks.
“This kind of community outreach means everything to me,” junior finance economics major and Tiger Baseball player Blake Mullen said. “Baseball has been a part of my life for the past 15 years, and it is so awesome to incorporate our Lord and Savior through it all. It is important for ETBU Baseball to serve as a team to create this bond sealed through our Heavenly Father. Whether we realize it or not, God is at work with us as we teach these kids how to play the game to glorify His kingdom!”
After week five’s skills camp, four Tiger Baseball players, including Chris Robinson, Blake Mullen, Ben Jones, and Jake Miller, shared a message about Christ’s love. In addition, campers each received their own Bible donated by Robert Bardin of the East Texas Chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
“Serving the community and holding this kids skills camp helped me realize how great of a platform we have in this city,” Miller said. “These kids come into camp with so much excitement and eagerness to learn more from us, and I think seeing this makes me want to do more for the community. I had one of the greatest opportunities to speak to all the kids about who Jesus is and what He has done for us. Just watching these kids listen in awe and amazement at what I was saying encouraged me to keep going. ETBU is all about growing disciples and followers of Christ, and being able to share the Word of God with these kids is something really special. You never know how much it can impact a kid at this age to grow in their faith and start learning more about who Jesus is.”
A core commitment of the faith-integrated educational experience at ETBU is serving people and enhancing community. Because of this commitment to service and community, each Tiger athletic team has its own community service initiatives throughout the spring and fall seasons.
“All of the planning, coaching, and teaching has come from the players on their own, so they had to work together and learn to communicate with each other,” ETBU Head Baseball Coach Jared Hood said. “With our camp, the big draw for getting kids here was baseball. Through camp, we are using our platform as a collegiate baseball team to reach our youth and their families. Yes, we play baseball, but we also share the Word of God with them while they are here. We are called to make disciples, and I believe we can use baseball to do that. It is important to serve the community as a team because it keeps our guys grounded in this community and invested in the youth of Marshall. It makes the purpose for our being here greater than baseball, takes the focus off the scoreboard, and on to a greater mission and goal.”