The Ashland University athletics website carries a story about Austin Brenner, a junior redshirt quarterback who is serving as director of youth ministry at Southview Grace Brethren Church, Ashland, Ohio (Mark Abel, senior pastor). A portion of the story appears below. Click here to read the complete article.
Brenner Takes Faith Off Campus During Pandemic, Injury Stoppages
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Junior quarterback Austin Brenner wasn’t going to play a down for Ashland University’s football team, had there been a 2020 season before it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brenner was injured and unable to play, following two seasons as a starter in 2018 and 2019 in which he was the 2018 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year and two-time All-GLIAC (second-team in 2019), and also twice led the conference in punting average.
But to Brenner, none of that is as important as his faith walk and his relationship with Jesus Christ. Which is why he is the Director of Youth Ministry at Southview Grace Brethren Church, just a couple blocks from campus.
Brenner had surgery in the summer, and prior to the football season being officially canceled, he said, “In June, I was just knocked out, laying down, and I was reading a book called ‘Kingdom Man,’ I just felt like God was saying, ‘You need to go volunteer somewhere.’ In my mind, knowing that I’m not going to be playing football in the fall…I really just felt like God was telling me to volunteer somewhere. I was going to have a lot of extra time, and without football and without something to compete for, without playing for something, I felt God telling me my purpose was bigger than football.
“A big part of what I felt my ministry was, was on the football field and with my teammates. Pulling out the playing aspect of things, I just really felt like I wanted to do something that has a greater purpose. It’s such a God thing the way it worked.”
A friend of a friend of Brenner’s led him to Southview GBC, and Senior Pastor Mark Abel.
“We are incredibly blessed for a young man of his character and caliber and his standing within the college setting to be a part of our church,” Abel said. “I believe when more and more students get to see him and his heart, that his impact will continue to grow.
Click here to read the complete article.