Randy Curless has been named executive director of Sports Crusaders, an international ministry founded and led by Bobby Shows, who retired from the post at the end of 2007.
Since 2004, Curless, 50, of St. Charles, has been the sports evangelism ministry’s program coordinator.
Curless’ unanimous election came in a special called meeting of the organization’s board of directors Aug. 11 in Holts Summit. Search committee chair James Preston, a member of Sports Crusaders’ advisory board, said the committee’s recommendation also was unanimous.
“Randy has nearly 25 years if ministry experience primarily in recreation and sports ministry,” Preston said. “He has an undergraduate degree in recreation and is a teacher and clinician of recreation ministry.
“Most importantly, he has a heart for sports evangelism that has been honed through his experience working with Bobby Shows and Sports Crusaders, he added.
Curless has been an innovator, Preston said. Every Sunday evening at 8 p.m. on KJSL radio in St. Louis, he hosts the “Sports Crusaders Live” talk show featuring interviews with Christian athletes and other sports figures. The show also can be heard by going to the “Sports Crusaders Live” link on www.sportscrusaders.org.
The new leader holds a bachelor’s degree in recreation and leisure studies from Missouri State University, Springfield, and a master of divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.
He and his wife, Melinda, have a daughter, Jocelyn.
In addition to his work with Sports Crusaders, Curless has served as a volunteer chaplain for various St. Louis-area professional sports teams. Currently he is team chaplain for the River City Rascals minor league baseball team and the River City Rage arena football team.
Curless has served as minister of church recreation and in other staff positions at various churches, including First Baptist Church of Harvester, St. Charles. Recently he served as pastor of Bethesda Baptist Church, St. Charles.
In Missouri, Curlesss has served Bethany Baptist Church, Godfrey, as youth/education consultant; Christ Church of St. Louis as asociate pastor; Riverview Baptist Church, St. Louis, as minister of youth/ evangelism; and Bellefontaine Baptist Church, St. Louis, as minister of youth.
“It is an honor and privilege to be selected as the new executive director of Sports Crusaders. I am very fortunate to have godly parents who raised me in the fear and admonition of the Lord,” Curless said in a statement to Word&Way.
“I am also very fortunate to have godly mentors/ teachers like Bobby Shows, the founder of Sports Crusaders, who taught me through words and actions what it means to allow Christ to live His life in and through you as well as how to use sports as a ‘common ground’ to reach people for Christ,” he added. “God has also blessed Sports Crusaders with a great staff who has a passion for God and a passion to reach people for Christ using sports.”
Like his predecessor Shows and the rest of the staff, Curless will be responsible for raising his own support.
The new executive director will be expected to provide visionary leadership for Sports Crusaders, whose teams travel across the state, the United States and the world, using sports to reach young people for Christ.
Curless will be called upon to be the chief liaison to the Missouri Baptist Convention, LifeWay Christian Resources, Missouri Baptist Foundation, supporting churches and other supporting organizations.
Curless will recruit staff and trustees, and he will be responsible for recommending policy to the board, implementing annual plans for funding staff and ministries, assuming oversight of fundraising, and to publications and materials.
In addition to Preston, who is a senior director of development for the University of Missouri, other members of the search group included James Smith, president of the Foundation and board vice president; and board members Greg Morrow, pastor of First Baptist Church, California, and Steve Mace of Kennedy Capital Management, St. Louis and a member of First Baptist Church, Ellisville.