Local Christians in the Binghamton area are finding that Tim Tebow, their newest baseball star, is also becoming a great image for local kids who lack good role models.
“Tim’s one of those guys, we’re all rallying behind him,” pastor, David Leandre told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. “He’s just involved in a lot of really great representations of what Christians need to be. We’re really excited about that.”
Leandre added that Tebow is exactly the sort of man he can feel comfortable pointing out to his own son.
“What’s really nice is Tim’s a guy who is what you see in the media,” Leandre added. “His life off the field is the real deal. That’s so refreshing.”
Johnson City Rev. Arnie Buehler also notes that Tebow is a perfect focal point to help bridge the gap between the harsh world many local kids experience and an introduction to the faith.
John Widrick, a youth pastor at Calvary’s Love Assembly of God in Johnson City, agrees. Tebow has really become a role model for the 100 kids he shepherds.
“They’re looking for something authentic, something real,” Widrick said. “He’s stood for something that was more than football. There’s an authenticity to him.”
Buehler points out that Tebow is the best of both worlds in sports. He does his best and comports himself well on the field, but he is also exemplary in his private life off the field.
“[Tebow] has strong beliefs that he lives by. He lets God lead his life. I think that’s a huge valuable lesson for the kids to learn, that our lives are not our own,” he said. “We’ve been given this life and the skills to love others.”
KC Sawyer, an associate pastor at Oasis Christian Fellowship of Ithaca, also finds Tebow to be a great example of a man who doesn’t just give up and quit in disgust.
“The biggest thing is he’s someone who failed at his primary goal, to be an NFL quarterback, and he didn’t give up,” he said. “That’s a universal message for anyone who has dreams and goals.”
Tebow has also become an integral member of the Binghamton community. After signing on with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, the player has spoken at community groups and taken time to patronize local business establishments. He has not hidden in a motel room somewhere but has reached out to the locals showing that he is happy to be considered a member of the community.
The player’s faith is also an important focus of his life. And local Christians know that it shows in his actions.
“I think Tim Tebow’s biggest thing is he accepted Christ, and he’s showing how that has produced fruit in his life,” Sawyer told the paper.
The hero worship is also properly leavened with common sense. “Tim Tebow can’t save anyone, only Jesus can,” Buehler said even as he and others admit that having Tebow around has been a big help to their ministries.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.