Huntington University is a Christian liberal arts college in Indiana

Ministering through sports and recreation:

Alumnus uses passion for physical activity to share Christ
Matt Gerlach on advantages of sports ministry degree program at Huntington University, a Christian college.

“At Huntington University, my professors always focused on how to be a light in whatever field you were heading into whether it was into the ministry or into the recreation field.”

It takes a strong heart — both physically and spiritually — to engage a community in health and sports while also sharing the Gospel, but Matt Gerlach thrives on high levels of activity.

After his graduation from Huntington University in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in recreation and sports ministry, Gerlach became the program director for the Huntington City Parks and Recreation Department in Huntington, Ind. Then in 2009, he was named the minister of recreation at the First United Methodist Church in Panama City, Fla.

“I get new faces into the church and, ultimately, have them hear about the word of Jesus Christ,” he said. “It’s a neat thing. It’s a neat opportunity for our community.”

The sports ministry degree at HU is a unique program. It combines the foundations of recreational leadership, administration and programming with biblical truths, evangelical theology and psychology.

Gerlach credits the joy he finds in his work to the preparation he received from HU and more specifically, his PRIME experience, an internship required of all ministry and missions majors pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree.

A natural leader, Gerlach gained experience working at HU as a campus ministries coordinator, giving his time to the Joe Mertz Center for Volunteer Service, and being part of the men’s soccer team.

In his ministry classes, he built his understanding of the Bible and biblical principles and gained knowledge of how relationships within a church work. He learned how to grow personally in Christ as well as foster that growth in others.

“At Huntington University, my professors always focused on how to be a light in whatever field you were heading into,” he said, “whether it was into the ministry or into the recreation field.”

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