Austin Shaner graduated from Warner University in 2017 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Ministry with a minor in Coaching and Sport Management. “Going into my studies at Warner University the Lord was calling me to the sports ministry. Warner’s Interdisciplinary Ministry degree was the perfect choice to prepare me to use sports to build relationships that open doors to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.” The foundation that the courses gave Austin spiritually and to use his gifts has opened doors to see spiritual fruit all over the world. God’s opened doors to lead dozens of soccer camps in Brazil, Micronesia, Bangladesh, and all over the US. Through these camps thousands of young people have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Shortly after graduating Austin spent a year as a missionary in a refugee neighborhood in Charlotte, NC. Over the course of the year he coached refugee kids from dozens of countries and led numerous weekly Bible Studies where kids experienced the hope of Jesus for the first time. “It was remarkable to see how God used the simple sport of soccer to open doors to share the greatest message of all and transform not only kids but their families as well,” Austin shared.
In the summer of 2019, he got married and moved to Indiana where he started working at a church leading both sports ministry and young adult ministry. “God has given me a passion for unity in our community and empowering others. I oversee numerous adult sports opportunities, youth basketball, youth soccer, and partnerships with the local parks and recreational department and the High School athletic departments”.
At the beginning of the year he and his team developed from scratch a youth Basketball and cheer league. The league met a need in the community, saw over 100 kids participate, and many heard the gospel for the first time. Austin shared that one of the most special aspects was partnering with the Church’s kids’ ministry and using the same bible lessons that were taught on Sunday and adding a sports twist which is something that is unique and made an incredible impact. Coaches were trained and many not only coached basketball but some, who were Christians for years, shared the gospel for the first time. It was a remarkable ministry that impacted his church and community.
When the state of Indiana issued a stay at home order he began to ask the Lord what sports ministry looks like when you can’t play sports. “The Lord put a passion on my heart to get local coaches together on zoom to encourage each other and pray for students. For two months coaches from three public schools gathered on zoom once a week to pray. It was remarkable to see coaches from incredible rivalries in our community on the same call encouraging each other and praying for students. God is doing a mighty work that is continuing once a month and the unity displayed is truly transforming lives” shared Shaner.
This fall Austin began his journey to obtaining his Masters in Non-Profit Management. Austin strongly believes God used Warner and his degree to build a solid foundation, send him out to live out the great commission, and empower others to do the same. “God is transforming lives and it is humbling to be used by him”. Warner University is extremely proud of Austin and all he is achieving for the Kingdom.