Fit for the Kingdom

December 19, 2023

KEENE, TEX. – Throughout the Seventh-day Adventist church family, there are hundreds or more talented athletes who desire to compete in various sports on different levels from high school to professional. However, to fulfill those dreams, they must choose to honor God’s Sabbath or play.

What does it mean to be ready for the kingdom of God or “fit for the Kingdom?” That question must have filled hundreds of young people’s minds this past July. The idea to give young people an opportunity to showcase their talents was thought of by the Southwestern Union Youth and Young Adult Director Helvis Moody and his team. This gave birth to this transformative weekend where youth and young adults came from all over the union and beyond. 

Arriving in Keene, Tex., on July 20, the teams gathered at Southwestern Adventist University to register to play in various sports in a Christian environment with a Christ-like perspective. The games began on Friday morning with sports which included basketball, volleyball, tennis and soccer. The players were eager and enthusiastic, playing with great sportsmanship and enjoyment. All games ended before sundown so that all participants could attend vespers. Carl Ming, encouraged everyone with Psalm 34 to end the day.
On Sabbath morning, players were treated with the powerful words of Christian Ponciano, who gave the steps on how to become “Fit for the Kingdom.” His sermon compared the preparation of an elite athlete with the preparation of “running the race” for the kingdom of God. The steps he gave, if followed, would indeed prepare us to be fit for the kingdom.
The Adventist Youth and Young Adults program featured information on the psychology of playing sports and the sharing of experiences from collegiate and semi-pro athletes, Ray Gray and Reggie Todd. Those attending were given the opportunity to speak about their feelings of not being able to play sports because of the Sabbath. Raven Gray, who is currently playing collegiate volleyball at Winston–Salem State University in North Carolina, shared her story about the ups and downs of playing sports on any level, and encouraged the youth and young adults by letting them know that God will make a way if they trust Him to lead. To hear her testimony in its entirety, go to

The games continued after sundown Sabbath evening including a softball tournament and culminated Sunday morning with track and field. Winners were awarded all weekend long, but never forget that we are all winners when we are on the Jesus Christ team. The stage has been set; the “Fit for the Kingdom” weekend has shown that this opportunity is possible. 

An important question from this event came to the forefront. As we continue to occupy until our Savior returns, will we as a worldwide church provide opportunities for young people to use their talents and honor God at the same time? Hopefully, we will recognize that God can use various means to share His love and the Gospel using many tools, talents, interests and means to make this possible.

By Flona Francis