Andy Searles is chaplain at Major League Soccer side Orlando City in Florida, United States. In part one of our interview with him, he compared his role as chaplain with others at the club saying: “It’s the coach’s or the manager’s job to help the players win on the field and it’s my job to help the players win off the field.”
As well as Bible Studies for the players and a chapel service before each game, Andy also offers pastoral care and some counselling services. As a pastor of a church north of Orlando, he sees his work with Orlando City as an extension of his church ministry, which leads us to ask, in the second part of our interview, about his own journey to faith.
“I became a follower of Christ when I was 15 years old. I was brought up in the church. My Dad, who I love dearly, was a minister but the church didn’t have too much attraction to me.”
He goes on to paint an all-too-familiar picture of church in the UK with ageing congregations, concluding, “I found church kind of boring.” But attending church should not be confused with developing a personal relationship with the living God.
“One day I just heard this man – Jesus – talked about in a way that never clicked with me as it did in that moment, and I realised that I had to make a decision. If the claims of Christ were true, if he really loved me, if he really forgave me, if he really had a plan for me then this wasn’t something that could be ignored. So I said: ‘OK God, let me delve a little it deeper. Let’s see what this means. If you’re real, show yourself to me.’ And in some amazing ways he did.”
“I’m still a seeker. I’m still trying to discover more and more of him. I’m in my early 40s now and there is not a day that has passed where I haven’t experienced the presence and the peace and the power of God in my life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Listen to more of Andy’s interview, when he also answers the question – Is God interested in football?
Listen to part one of the interview.