HOLTS SUMMIT -- Sports Crusaders is wrapping a little more structure around its ministry in southern states thanks in part to Brandon Allee, a Missouri native now transplanted in Texas.
Allee believes God has called him to use his interest in sports as a way to reach others for Christ. Sports Crusaders, a Missouri-based ministry that reaches students through sports camps, has been a natural fit for him since he was a high school student.
Born in Moberly, Allee lived in several Missouri towns, including Mexico and Joplin, as his father, Jeff, served as a youth minister and a recreation minister in several churches. Jeff currently is minister of recreation at First Baptist Church, Cassville, and both Brandon and his brother, Shaun, volunteered with Sports Crusaders.
Brandon made an international trip with the organization while in high school. In addition, he served on the summer staff in 2003 and was a team leader in 2007.
About four years ago, he and his wife, Stacy, decided to relocate to Longview, Texas, Stacy's hometown. Meanwhile, Crusaders Founder Bobby Shows, Executive Director Tricia Alberts and other staff had been discussing possible expansion of the ministry into some states in which camps were already being conducted.
Sports Crusaders has sent its Missouri teams to Texas for five years, according to Alberts, and when Brandon broached the subject in the fall of 2010, it seemed like a natural fit.
"Here sports consume a lot of people's lifestyles," Allee said. "It seemed like a good time to bring Sports Crusaders to Texas.... There's not a group like that here."
Last April, Crusaders' board members agreed to talk with Brandon to understand his vision and how it might develop. Allee participated in summer missions training with Missouri students last summer and discussed possibilities with the board.
This fall, trustees approved taking Allee on staff as coordinator of southern states. In the role, he will recruit students and churches for camps in Texas, Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas.
"I'm real excited...because I do feel this is something God really wants me to be involved in," he explained. "I've always had a heart for sports ministry...and I feel it's a good time to step in and expand this ministry down this way."
Allee already is trying to connect to college students in the area and hopes to expand the types of sports camps to be offered, particularly football. "I think football and baseball camps here would be key," he said.
He is working on trying to offer a football camp of some sort, maybe on kicking and punting, this summer.
Like all Sports Crusaders staff, Allee must raise his own support. He currently is employed as a salesman while he works on completing certification as a teacher.
He asks that Baptists in Missouri pray for the ministry's expansion, that churches and organizations will be open to host camps, and that college students will be willing to serve this summer.
"We have every confidence in God and his appointment of Brandon to this task. We are honored to have him as part of our staff," Alberts wrote in the organization's December newsletter. "Please pray for him and his family.... Also pray for the ministry there, that we will be open to God's plans for it."