Greetings, my name is Christi Johns and I am here to share with you a summary of the 2017 Upward season.   God is faithful…..Amen! He is such a good Father and takes care of His children. This was my continuing theme this year as I walked through my first season of Upward basketball and cheer.  The heart of this ministry is to see lives changed for the glory of Christ….kids, parents, and volunteers.  I can share with you that hearts were changed towards Jesus! Praise the Lord!

This past Sunday, God continued to show me His faithfulness.  I was praying specifically that morning and asking Him to give me a story that I could share with all of you to help sum up this Upward season.  So I am excited to share this testimony with you now.

As I was serving this past Sunday morning in Children’s Ministries, God opened the door for me to start talking with this Mom.  As we conversed, she shared that they had moved to Oroville a year ago and her son had enjoyed playing basketball in Upward this season.  As we continued walking down the hallway, she told me that she was headed to the “Get Connected” lunch.  I was excited to hear this and excited to have more time to talk with her during the lunch.  She shared how God had moved in her son’s heart during the Award Celebration evening and that he stood up to receive Christ after Pastor Kurt gave an anointed message.  After talking with her son later that evening, she was convinced that her son really wanted to follow after Jesus.  She had been raised in a Christian home and walked away from the Lord after high school.  She had now felt a tugging in her heart and decided that they would go to church. They have come the last few Sundays to OroNaz and are thankful to be here.  Praise the Lord! Please pray for this family.

The mission and heart of Upward Sports is to promote the discovery of Jesus through sports.  Each assigned evening, the Practice Night Commissioner would share a devotion on that week’s virtue.  The four virtues this season were on service, contentment, hope, and then a gospel presentation was given during the last week of practices.  Throughout the season, I would hear stories from the players of how God was working in their hearts at school or at home in regards to the virtues.  And then during the last week, I am excited to share that we had 100 kids accept Christ and write their name in our notebook to let us know that they decided to follow Jesus!  We also had 58 kids and adults stand up to commit their lives to Christ after Pastor Kurt spoke at our Awards Celebration.

The Lord blessed our season with 447 basketball players, 43 cheerleaders, approximately 100 volunteer coaches, and hundreds of other volunteers.  If you are one of any of these people, thank you for serving and participating in this ministry. The Lord did great things in the hearts of many and thank you to all of you who took part in sharing Jesus’ love and furthering his kingdom.

May God bless each of you where you are and I pray that this message encourages you and fills your heart with joy this day.


By Cristi Johns