The Craterian Theater in Medford welcomed Christian music artist Shawn McDonald and the Portland Trail Blazer’s Chaplain, Al Egg, Thursday night for an event hosted by Impact Athletics. The venue was filled with hope, inspiration, prayer, and soulful music. While many people may have come just to hear the talented McDonald, the night certainly proved to be much more.
Jim Winans, who founded Impact Athletics with his wife Amy, started the night off with his family on stage by giving an introduction of the non-profit organization, which was expanded on by Dave Gomez , the Ministry Director. A brief entertaining and informative video outlined their mission and included student commentary. Through sharing the love of Christ and the truth of His Gospel through means of athletics, they hope to encourage and deepen each person’s relationship with Jesus Christ while building character and fellowship. Impact has 18 different clubs on various high schools and middle schools across the valley, and also one at Southern Oregon University. The campus clubs meet for bible studies and fellowship on a regular basis.
Al Egg enlightened us with his journey of athlete ministry, which began almost 30 years ago and has influenced various professional athletes. Egg now primarily works with the Blazers and the Portland State University football team. Chapel is optional for the players, but he says there is usually a good turnout, depending on responsibilities to practice and reporters. Humble and intriguing, Egg displayed passion for his ministry and the Lord, and spoke of how players use that same passion on the field and court.
The stage darkened as the drums and guitars harmonized. In anticipation we all waited for the voice and appearance of Shawn McDonald. Bright lights flashed on, the crowd exploded, and out he strolled sporting a red plaid shirt and leather jacket. Relaxed and charismatic, he joked and laughed with his band mates, told us stories of growing up in Oregon with his grandparents, and belted out both old and new songs. Among the hits played were “Gravity”, “All I need”, “Rise”, and a few tracks off of his new album “Brave”, which just came out a few weeks ago.
After a rebellious childhood, McDonald gave his life to Christ and began to write music that combined his faith with contemporary pop/rock. He signed with the Sparrow label and released his first album in 2004. The latest album is his fifth studio album and is bold, soulful and moving. Down to earth, genuine, and passionate, McDonald was an absolute pleasure to hear live and a great addition to the event as a whole.
The community showed up in a large way to support Impact Athletics. During the offering, $3,888 was collected, in addition to an anonymous donation of $3,000 matching dollar for dollar to the amount brought in at the event. Impact Athletics Ministry Director Dave Gomez was pleased with the night as a whole.
“We were really happy with the overall event. We wanted people to know that Jesus loves and cares for them, as well as promote and tell our story of Impact Athletics,” said Gomez.
For more information about Impact Athletics you can visit soimpactathletics.org. To learn more about Shawn McDonald and his music, visit shawnmcdonaldmusic.com. Hugh Laurie, the main character on the popular show “House”, will be performing with the Copper Bottom Band on May 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Craterian. Tickets can be purchased online at craterian.org, by calling the box office at 541-779-3000, or visiting the box office at 16 S. Bartlett St. in Medford.