New Zealand

Combining Boldness and Basketball

Athlete in New Zealand becomes more vocal about his faith

Rich Atkinson

Tim Behrendorff plays for the New Zealand Breakers, the first New Zealand team to play in the Australian National Basketball League.

Last year, Tim experienced a couple of firsts: The Breakers made the playoffs, and he became more vocal about his faith in Jesus.

Taking New Steps of Faith

It started when Tim met Timo Tagaloa, a sports chaplain with Athletes in Action and Tandem Ministries, the New Zealand ministry of Cru. He has been mentoring Tim for 4 years.

After they had a Bible study together on how to tell others about Jesus, Timo challenged Tim to take the next steps in his faith.

"Who can you share with about Jesus?" Timo asked, and suggested Tim write down the difference he's seen in his life since becoming a Christian.

"The way you came to Christ would speak volumes," Timo told him.

Then Timo took the 6-foot-11-inch basketball player to speak with local college students about Christ.

"Once he did that -- it got him excited. When he spoke, there were people listening," Timo says.

Talking About More Than Basketball

Also, Tim spoke at an outreach dinner to business professionals in partnership with Priority Associates, a ministry of Cru that reaches out to business professionals.

"He has more of a quiet personality, but wants to be outspoken for Christ," says Bob Whittaker, New Zealand director of Priority Associates.

"He moved into another gear during that time [of talking with the students and at the business dinner] -- of being bolder in his stand," says Bob.

About 75 percent of the non-Christians attending the event wrote on their comment cards that they were interested in coming to the next event, and many brought their non-Christian friends.

Tim wants to be bolder in conversing with others about Jesus. He has a teammate that he wants to talk with next.

"I am encouraging him to share about his basketball, but more importantly about his relationship with Christ," says Timo.

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