Has Social Media Given a New Voice for Christian Athletes?



Matthew Leeman, Contributing Writer

Finding a voice.


It’s something that a lot of Christian people seek to accomplish, but often can’t seem to pursue. Whether it’s the millions of voices happening everywhere in the world, or just the craziness of life in this current age, people find difficulty in voicing their religious beliefs to the public.  However, with the introduction of social media in the past two decades, it’s easier than ever for Christians, specifically Christian athletes, to share their faith on a variety of media platforms.


“Athletes can post images and share about what they do on an everyday basis. People put athletes on a pedestal. Their sport gives them an elevated position in our culture. People are listening to them because they are good at sports,” says Brian Smith, a blog writer for Athletes in Action.


Smith emphasizes the fact that athletes have major influences in society and can share their views with the public in a positive and encouraging way.  Social media is so easily accessible and  with hundreds of different platforms to choose from, there’s really an unlimited amount of ways that Christian athletes can voice their beliefs, pray for others, and share stories of how God has come into their life. 


“Social media is different than any other media outlet. If you get interviewed after a game and talk about Jesus, people watching are forced to pay attention to you. But in the world of social media, people CHOOSE to listen to you.  Whatever ‘brand identity’ you are going for, if you identify as a follower of Christ, making God known needs to play a big part in that,” says Smith.  


Along with Smith’s Athletes in Action work, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) strives to bring every coach and athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His church.  FCA has been around for over 65 years, but with the social media craze, the members have been growing and ideas have been building on how to share the word of God through the media.  One of those ways is through the influence of professional athletes.


FCA launched a new series on YouTube called HUDDLE UP, where they feature professional athletes who share stories and encourage the younger athletes to continue pursuing Christ.  One of the more recent athletes on the series was Adam Wainwright, MLB pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals.  


“As Christians, we are called to be the light.  In this time, there is a lot of negativity around. This is a time that we can spend encouraging others to make us look different,” said Wainwright.


One of those ways that Wainwright encourages other Christians to look different in the world is through his influence of social media platforms, like YouTube and Twitter.  He will share anything from Bible verses to prayers for others, and one of the things that stands out to his followers are the first words in his bio: “Jesus follower.”  Wainwright is also leading an online one-year Bible study on Twitter for over 16,000 followers, something that he hopes will spread positivity, encouragement and more fellowship with God.  


The more athletes are willing to share Christianity and be open on social media, the more they can show other athletes that it’s part of their calling to share the Christian faith with the world.  Social media has opened up many opportunities for athletes to have more courage and boldness in things like media interviews or press conferences, as well.  


“I’ve been through some ups and downs,” MLB player Scooter Gennett told the media in 2015 while on the Brewer’s. “Without praying and without talking to God, I don’t think I would have gotten through. God’s with me wherever I go. Whether it’s on the field or in the locker room, He’s always with me.”


Gennett, like many other professional athletes, have gained more opportunities in their daily lives to share their Christian beliefs.  All athletes can gain courage to pray, be the light, and empower others with Christ because of what social media has implemented for Christian athletes around the world: a new voice.