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March 31, 2014

Athletes Church brings expressions of faith to ballparks

Ada —    Pete Benes, local property manager and broker associate, knows a lot of athletes don’t make it to church on Sunday — mainly because they’re tied up playing ball.

   Benes, who coaches a 10-and-under girls fastpitch softball team, says he’s decided to bring the church to the ballpark. Specifically, Athletes Church.

   “People play sports on Sunday in all sports,” he said Thursday. “They can’t be in church, so we started having church at the ballpark.”

   And how is this done?

   “We understand the need for church to be outside a brick and mortar building,” Benes said. “It is our desire to provide resources for the sports

venue to bring believers to Christ.”

   With that in mind, his team, The Lucky Ladies, recently unveiled new uniforms for Sunday-only competition.

   Each jersey has a Bible verse chosen by each player. Those verses match with the jersey numbers of the players.

   Another way Athletes Church attempts to spread The Word is by stories written by Benes. Each is an inspirational sports story with a Christian message, one that fits the subject matter.

   Benes said his softball team distributes pamphlets at the various parks where tournaments that run through Sundays are held. His players come from Latta, Byng and Ada.

   “We only have 11 or 12 players,” he said. “They help with Athletes Church.”

   Benes’ girls get to pass out a lot of pamphlets because the team plays in area tournaments in places like Del City, Ardmore, Tulsa and other

competitive tournaments sanctioned by the United States Specialty Sports Association.

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