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NFL-related event at Mobile church sees 54 come to Christcomment (0)

February 2, 2006

By Lyle W. Ratliff

As more than 800 National Football League (NFL) coaches, scouts and front-office personnel and 100 top college senior football players packed up Jan. 28 to leave Mobile after Senior Bowl Week, Joe Savage had even more important numbers on his mind.
During seven days of NFL-related activities, Savage’s ministry, Winners Influence, had multiple outreach opportunities. And at a kickoff event Jan. 22 at Cottage Hill Baptist Church, Mobile, in Mobile Baptist Association, he watched as 54 people made public professions of faith in Christ.
Savage, a Mobile native and missionary to the NFL for the North American Mission Board, said watching the response to the invitation was the highlight of his week. “It was terrific, really — one entire family came down together,” he said. 
Influencing the influencers — that is the motto of Winners Influence, a ministry aimed at NFL players, coaches, management and scouts.
The goal, according to Savage, co-founder of the organization along with his brother Phil, is to share the Christian message with the people who are looked up to, thus those people can pass along Christian ideals to the people who look up to them.
Hours before that Sunday-night invitation, Winners Influence held a Punt, Pass and Kick competition at Cottage Hill Baptist that was open to the public. Hundreds of children and adults showed up.
The event allowed the participants, mostly small children and a few teens, to compete in punting, place kicking and passing competitions.  Prizes were given to the winners in each category after the question and answer session held in the sanctuary that took place once the competition ended.
Phil Savage, senior vice president and general manager of the Cleveland Browns, brought some of his team’s scouts along for the event. In addition to the scouts, he also brought Mike Smith, defensive coordinator with the Jacksonville Jaguars. During the question and answer session, the panel was asked a wide variety of questions, some about football and others about their relationship with Christ.
Later in the week, 250 attended a luncheon hosted by Winners Influence.
“What an opportunity — to have one-third of all the front-office personnel, coaches and scouts in the NFL together and be able to minister to them,” Joe Savage said. “This was the first time we had done this and it was tremendous. We have to try to reach these guys while we have them here.”

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