A former soccer player-turned-pastor is on a mission to spread the Gospel, and his most recent outreach led more than 200,000 people to accept Jesus.
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“There’s such a hunger for God around the world, and God has prepared hearts digitally,” Jesse Bradley recently told CBN’s “Faith vs. Culture.” “That’s where people are.”
Bradley, a preacher at Grace Community Church in Auburn, Washington, is a former professional soccer player using digital platforms to reach people with the Gospel.
200,000 Come to Christ
His most recent campaign — centered on the World Cup — relied on digital tools and social media to share biblical truth, and the results were incredible. Soccer fans could tap into Bradley’s story and Scripture to learn more about what it means to have a saving relationship with Jesus.
“So, we brought content, videos, social media, YouTube, and, through those videos, we gave an invitation for people to trust Christ,” he said. “The World Cup … more than half the world watches it.”
Bradley’s personal story of falling seriously ill while playing professional soccer and subsequently fighting for his life is deeply compelling. Despite being forced to leave behind his soccer dreams, he routinely shares how he believes “God redeems” and how he ultimately found purpose as a preacher.
The ex-soccer player said he’s been stunned to see how his story resonated and the World Cup campaign performed.
“We’ve had hope campaigns. We’ve seen 10,000, 15,000 [people] respond to put their trust in the Lord,” Bradley said. “But the World Cup campaign was different, and there were over 200,000 that indicated first-time decisions.”
Watch Bradley share the stunning statistics surrounding his most recent campaign:
These individuals were pointed toward local churches and given discipleship content, with the massive response showing Bradley something is spiritually afoot.
“To see over 200,000 people, it just, again, tells us people are thirsty — their souls are thirsty,” he said. “Nothing in this culture can satisfy, and Jesus has living water. When people get a taste and see that the Lord is good, they tell their friends, it goes viral, and more people keep turning to Jesus.”
Bradley’s Journey to Jesus
In a past interview with CBN’s Faithwire, Bradley recalled how he came to Christ after spending his early years chasing “academics, athletics, and friends,” assuming these quests would lead to the “fullness of life.”
While studying at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, though, Bradley said everything changed.
“I didn’t believe in God,” the preacher said. “I come from a family that’s kinda like Baskin-Robbins, 31 flavors, spiritually. We’ve got a little of everything.”
Most of his family were either atheist or agnostic, with a mixture of some Jewish individuals, ex-Catholics, and others of divergent faiths.
Unsurprisingly, Bradley found himself without a spiritual identity.
He recalled taking a religion class, though, and despite the professor not being a believer, the course changed Bradley’s perspective and pointed him toward the Gospel.
“The professor tried to undermine the Scripture, but he assigned the Gospel of John,” he said. “And it was the first time I read the Bible, and it was different than any other book. And I started to learn about Jesus, and He had my attention.”
Around the same time, Bradley said he had a friend named Mike on the school’s track team who was living on the same floor in the dorms. Mike started asking Bradney questions about faith and life, further sparking the athlete’s interest in Scripture.
“As I talked with Mike, he was patient,” Bradley said. “I had hundreds of questions, and he kept listening and just providing information about Jesus. It was true, it was reliable, it was documented.”
The historical evidence for the resurrection and the reliability of the Bible deeply resonated with Bradley.
“God started to engage my mind in that way,” he said.
Bradley had experienced success in every worldly way — yet he knew something was missing.
“I had success on the outside, checked every box, every goal,” he said. “And, yet, on the inside, I still felt empty.”
Mike’s conversations with him began to offer solace and truth and fill the missing voids. Bradley eventually embraced Christianity and went on to become a pastor.
Today, because of those patient conversations with Mike, Bradley is reaching thousands of others with the Gospel message — people who are lost like he once was and are looking for answers.
Watch for more on Bradley’s story.
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