By Victor Ochieng
California-based pastor Kevin James is committed to drawing people to Christ and he’s doing so through a number of channels, including “Raise Your Game” Basketball Camp that went down for the second time this year.
Lucy Hamilton experienced this year’s experience when she and her son Purcell visited John C. Kimball High School in an effort to meet the photographer who was taking pictures of seniors.
By mistake, they got into the wrong door and found their way into the gym. That’s where they found a basketball camp going on. That camp had been organized by New Creation Bible Fellowship pastor Kevin James. Whatever was going on, Purcell felt it was a good thing to stick around and partake of the day’s activities.
“So we gave him a T-shirt, and he became a part of it,” James said. “On Sunday he came to church, and on Sunday she made a decision to join the church.”
Purcell joining the church was just one of the positive results realized during the annual “Raise Your Game” basketball Camp, an event that went down on July 25 and 26. Up to 58 youth attended the two-day event, and, according to James, 25 of the participating youths made a decision to surrender their lives to Christ Jesus after keenly following the testimonies of some professional basketball players and gospel presentations.
“That’s how we impact our community,” James said. “The whole focus of our ministry is our children and our youth.”
One of the big names who participated in the event is Kenny Thomas. Thomas was in the NBA for 11 years, where he played for Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, and Sacramento Kings. Other notable figures who also graced the event were some professionals who’ve played basketball overseas, including Alejandro Thomas, Brandon McKnight, Cedric Moodie Jr. and Alexis Govan.
James worked together with John Murray of the San Francisco-based Murray Athletic Development and Brett Brungardt of the Seattle-based Basic Athletic Measurement to organize the NBA combine kind of camp, more like the ones the NBA organizes for college seniors joining the association, James said.
The young people who participated in the event were basketball players drawn from middle and high schools. They were assessed on different basketball skills and provided with professional instructions to help them develop their game.
The camp was funded by SoCal Baptist Ministries, an organization with links to the California Baptist Foundation, as well as Delta Valley Association, New Creation and California Baptist Convention.
James pointed out that in as much as this year’s event was successful, it was shy in terms of figures compared to last year’s that saw 200 people attending, with 43 of them making the salvation decision.
However, James says whatever this year’s event lacked in numbers was delivered in quality.