Ministry through Strength in Americus - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Ministry through Strength in Americus

AMERICUS, GA (WALB) -

It wasn't your usual Good Friday service at Victory Worship Center in Americus.

"People won't come out to hear a pastor in a suit and tie," said Riley Israel, Strength Team team leader. But if you say 'hey, there's going be this guy down at my church, he's going break over three and a half feet of concrete with one blow from his skull,' something about the mind, they want to come and see that."

Israel is from Americus. He played baseball and football at Southland Academy. Played baseball at Georgia Southwestern and in the minors before joining the Strength Team.

"It wasn't really a big transition because I had a platform as far as sports," said Israel. "And so now we have another platform. But, you know, we're representing the King of Kings in Jesus"

Former pro football player Mike Hagen started the strength team in 2000 after years with a similar group.

"In our culture today, where people are so wrapped up in entertainment and sports, we use this as a common ground to share the gospel with people," said Hagen, Strength Team founder and president.

And Hagen is most proud of getting people to stay with the church.

"Last year, in our crusades and our events, we saw 18,112 people give their their lives to Christ," said Hagen.

The group also visits schools. And while not able to preach the gospel, they still preach the importance of making smart decisions.

"In our public schools, last year we did 452 school assemblies," said Hagen.

Hagen says he has enjoyed the journey and end every stop along the way.

"I've been on a 28 year tour since December of 1986 non-stop," said Hagen. "Non-stop. But it's a great cause in what we do. Spreading the gospel. Sharing God's love with people."

To learn more about the Strength Team, click here.

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