Baseball glove & bat on fieldOctober 2015      | Print |

Dear Friends,

Back in 1992, Jerry Jenkins was the third guest to appear on my fledgling radio show, Face to Face. This was before he authored the Left Behind prophecy series, which rose to number one on the New York Times best seller list. Instead, at his home in Zion, Illinois, we focused on biographies he had written on Walter Payton and Orel Hershiser, among others. He also had written the biography of former Harlem Globetrotter, Meadowlark Lemon, and told the story of how the all-star basketball player had swished a long distance hook shot through a hoop over the garage in Jenkins’ driveway.

I met Mike Matheny ten years later for an interview in the dugout of old Riverfront stadium in Cincinnati. At the time, he was the catcher for the visiting St. Louis Cardinals. My most vivid memory of that interview was when he told me, “I would love for a fellow Christian athlete to come around third base and try to bowl me over at the plate.” He was emphasizing that Christian athletes can be as tough as anybody else, and indeed, Matheny epitomized toughness. Upon his retirement in 2007, Matheny had caught more than 1300 major league games for four different teams, and had played through numerous injuries, including a number of concussions. He is now the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Jerry and I have stayed in touch over the years. Recently, he sent me a copy of a book he had written, with Mike, called the Matheny Manifesto. It’s Mike’s challenge to parents and coaches of youth teams to lead their teams in a different way. Rather than striving to build all-star athletes and win at all costs, Matheny urges leaders to develop the player as an individual, no matter what the skill level.

Reading the book has opened new doors for me. Recently, Columbus North high school hired Paul Ferguson as their new boys’ head basketball coach. Paul comes from Wheaton College, where he was an assistant coach. We have been meeting on a regular basis and he has asked me to become the team chaplain. We have decided to use the Matheny book as a way to develop the young Bulldog players and instill some Christian values on the team.

To me, this is just another example of how God has directed the ministry of Face to Face over the years. Like pieces of a puzzle, He has taken random incidents in my life and pieced them together for His glory. I am praying that Columbus North will have a season in which these young men will grow in every way possible, including spiritually. I already know many of them from being North’s football chaplain. I treasure the copy of the book I have with autographs from both Mike and Jerry. But I treasure more the privilege of being in God’s will and seeing His hand work through this ministry.

We need your constant prayers. Thanks for being a valued teammate. We also continue to value any financial gifts you might be able to send. As we approach the end of the year, we need about $3000 to get back on track. Thanks for any help you can give. We will continue to keep you updated on how God is working through this ministry.

Sincerely in Christ,

Tom Rust


Tom Rust

The Matheny Manifesto 
Mike Matheny was just forty-one, without professional managerial experience and looking for a next step after a successful career as a Major League catcher, when he succeeded the legendary Tony La Russa as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012. Read more ».

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Calling for Christ is a ministry for professional baseball umpires. Our focus is to love, encourage, and disciple umpires in their relationships with Jesus. Learn More »»