‘Rise Up…Be Bold’: Ex-Soccer Player Pledged to Never Become a Pastor — But God Had Other Plans


Former soccer pro Aaron Tredway recalls a comical story from his marriage proposal, recounting in an interview with CBN’s Faithwire how he pledged during the proposition to his then-girlfriend: “One thing I will never do is be a pastor.”

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As the saying goes, “People make plans, and God laughs.”

Flashforward 13 years, and Tredway, author of the book, “Don’t Miss Your Life: The Secret to Significance,” is lead pastor of Fellowship City Church, in Cleveland, Ohio.

“It’s not that I ever had anything against the pastorate,” he said. “I love the church. I’ve always had a heart for the local church. I just felt that God had created me to serve in a different way.”

Tredway became a Christian at age 19 while in college. He found Jesus after reading C.S. Lewis’ iconic “Mere Christianity” and subsequently recounted what he didn’t realize then was the sinner’s prayer.

“On my own, in my dorm room, responding to the Gospel … [the] first time I ever heard the Gospel message,” he said. “And I said to God in my first prayer, ‘I’ll follow Jesus on three conditions — never want to be a pastor, a missionary, or a public speaker. On those three conditions, I’m all in, God.’”

Clearly, the Lord had other plans.

After Tredway retired from soccer and moved back to the U.S. with his wife, his journey to the pulpit took form. He spent a long time attending a struggling church and serving as an elder when God started tugging at his heart.

Watch Tredway tell his story:

At the time, he was already starting to speak and write, using his experience in sports to reach others.

At first, he said the Holy Spirit’s call to the pastorate was something he didn’t understand — until he fully dove into it and realized how the Lord planned to use his life. Now, he’s helping others discover meaning and refine the aims of their own lives.

Success and purpose are just two topics Tredway addresses in his book, “Don’t Miss Your Life.”

“In the simplest form, the dictionary defines success as ‘the attainment of wealth, possessions, affirmation, or the like,’” he said. “Whereas, significance … it’s got a few definitions, but one of them is ‘a worthy goal,’ and, for me, that’s what this new book is all about.”

Tredway wants to help others lock into a “worthy goal” for their lives, seeking pursuits and purposes for which to live. Money is just one of the areas that can be a snare for humans. And while Tredway said he doesn’t believe making money is problematic, putting it front and center can create crises.

“I just think money is a bad goal, a bad target for life,” he said. “I always tell people [there’s] nothing wrong with money, as long as money doesn’t have a grip on you — as long as that’s not your ultimate reason, your ultimate why.”

Tredway said he once struggled in this arena, seeing money and the affirmation and opinions of others as paramount. Rooting his life and identity around these issues, he said, was a “very unstable way to live.”

“For a long time in my life, I knew Christ, but I don’t think that I was pursuing a worthy goal,” he said.

Tredway encouraged people to eschew cultural pushes prompting people to be self-focused and to, instead, work toward radical giving and compassion with it comes to time, talent, and resources.

Considering the state of the culture and world, now is the time, Tredway believes, for Christians to live boldly for the Lord.

“I believe that these are the days for the church, the people of God, to rise up, to be bold in our faith,” he said. “To call other people to our faith, to be disciple-makers. You gotta start with being a disciple, but to call people and to really be saying like, man, ‘I wanna call people into the kingdom.’”

Find out more about “Don’t Miss Your Life: The Secret to Significance.”


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