Ministering with Student Athletes 101

Ministering with Student Athletes 101

Ways to reach out and connect with student-athletes

1. Connect with team captains

  • Use the rosters online to find out who the team captains are for each team
  • Find team captains on Instagram and reach out
  • Send them a message, let them know about Athletes InterVarsity events, and ask if they can pass it on to their teams on their group chat

2. Connect with new recruits

  • Research recruits and reach out to incoming freshmen. This info is easy to find online on a school’s athletic page
  • Connect with them on Instagram
  • Invite them to the AIV community

3. Connect with teams

  • Search on Instagram to find each team’s Instagram page
  • This is a helpful way to find out about how the team is doing and what’s happening
  • It’s also a great place to find new recruits. The team account might even tag athletes that have signed, etc.

4. Connect with every athlete

  • Look through the rosters on the school’s athletic website
  • Put all of their names into an excel file 
  • Find them on Instagram and reach out
  • Keep track of who you’ve contacted over the semester

5. Of course, you can also reach out to athletes in person.

  • Consider a Gatorade Giveaway. Buy a bunch of Gatorade and give them away outside of the fieldhouse right after a practice, etc.
  • Make sure you give them to any student passing by and not just athletes. There are rules against providing things to student-athletes and not other students


3 things to know about athletes as you’re making connections and building trust

Their time and availability are different than most students. They probably have about 30 hours a week for their sport and their practice schedule can change week to week.

  • Know their schedules.  Check their game schedule and practice schedule. This helps build trust and connection (I know that you’re on the road right now, etc.) 

They have a very different outlook coming into college than many students. They’re not looking for community. They already have a team, they come early for pre-season, they’re already a part of something. 

  • Instead of “find community” you can pitch AIV as something different from their teams. “This is a place to be real, go deeper, a place where you can take off your mask, no judgment…” 

The best outreach to Athletes is having student-athletes reach out to their teammates.

  • NSO is not the only or most crucial window.  Spend the first season of the year building relationships with your teammates.  That will make it easier for them to invite later in the semester.  Teach them to be missional on their teams. 
  • If you have an athlete that you’re working with, one great way to connect with them is to ask them about their relationships with their teams, with their coaches. These are crucial relationships and a place where they need care and investment. It’s a major discipleship area. 


Some helpful resources

Missional Discipleship Cycles 1

View MDC 1


Missional Discipleship Cycles 2

View MDC 2


Connect with Athletes InterVarsity

Learn more

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