Why I left the NFL to plant a church

Fullback Eddie Williams met Jesus before he was drafted by the Washington Redskins in 2009. He went on to play for the Chicago Bears, the Cleveland Browns, and the Seattle Seahawks before a painfully disappointing injury reminded him he already knew his true calling.

By Eddie Williams, The Gospel Coalition

It doesn’t get much better than living the life of an NFL player. Catered meals, private travel, throngs of fans, social media prominence; it’s the good life. You even get to play as yourself on the Madden video game, which just adds to the fact that millions are already watching you on TV every week. What more could a guy ask for?

Maybe this is why I became a church planter. It provided a life comparable to playing in the league. Basically the same thing, right? Wrong. Church planting and playing in the NFL are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Desire to plant

When I entered the NFL, I already knew I wanted to plant a church one day. I met Jesus in college while reading the King James Version of the Bible, which I’d been given by a stranger. About eight months later, I sensed God perhaps calling me to ministry. I wasn’t ready to plant a church at 19 years old (despite what I thought at the time), so the best course of action was to continue through college and see where football would take me.

In college, I was honored to be selected first team all-conference, as well as team MVP. The hype began to buzz in the coaching and scouting world. Not many players come out of the University of Idaho, so when one does, the entire state tends to get excited.

Despite all the personal attention I received, our team was horrendous. We finished 2–10 my senior year. To add insult to injury, our season ended in a huge loss, and I blew out my knee, which significantly hurt my chances of being drafted.

I didn’t expect God to use one of the most disappointing seasons of my life to prepare me to plant a church 10 years later. With nothing to do but sit on the couch and read while I recovered, I devoured the Scriptures. I read the whole Bible on that couch, and my sense of calling began to solidify. I was gripped by the glory and majesty of God. More than ever I knew that, at some point, I wanted to plant a church.

Read the full story at The Gospel Coalition.
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