Spirit of Alabama: Ministry group spreads the gospel alongside athletics

For centuries missionaries have traveled all around the world to share their faith and often try to meet the physical needs of the people. But this faith-based group is helping people right here in West Alabama.

SCORE International was started in 1980 by coach and missionary Ron Bishop. For the first decade of the ministry, the organization’s focus was on taking college athletes to other countries to play baseball or basketball and, at the same time, share their faith. Bishop died a few years ago, but those who understood the mission have kept SCORE International active.

Ken Lopez is a volunteer for SCORE, and he knew coach Bishop well. Lopez said the organization has expanded its reach over the years.

“It’s a multifaceted ministry,” Lopez said. “It started out focusing on sports, and they still do that. But just as you see here in Eutaw, it goes far beyond that. You’re supporting people and their needs where they are.”

Lopez and a dozen other volunteers came to Eutaw and spent the week there. Lopez’s wife Robbin is a music teacher, and she worked with young people in the Eutaw area who love music but may not have access to private lessons. Other volunteers tutored students in math and reading.

Reg Cook is another volunteer who has been on SCORE’s board of directors for 30 years. As an athlete and a coach, Cook runs basketball and baseball camps. He said winning is always a big part of athletics, but winning is about so much more.

“The win that we’re looking for even above winning a game is winning the game of life,” Cook said. “Winning the game of life, where a person is going to spend eternity, that’s the winning and losing that we’re talking about with SCORE, sharing Christ our redeemer everywhere.”

Luann Robinson is a missionary for SCORE and she lives in Tuscaloosa. Robinson visits Eutaw regularly and said poverty is obvious in parts of Eutaw, with many families struggling. She said her mission field is right in her backyard.

“You don’t have to travel across the world to help people in the name of Jesus,” Robinson said. “I live in Tuscaloosa. Eutaw is 40 minutes away and I spend a lot of time here in my own backyard. We are called to our own communities as well as around the world.”

SCORE missionaries and volunteers do all they can to make life better in the communities they work in. Robinson said whether the need is close to home or on the other side of the world, their focus doesn’t change.

“Our biggest answer is, we’re here because of Jesus,” she said. “We’re here because of what Jesus did for us. We are called to love every person, every human, everyone created by our God the Father. We come here to love on the community in His name.”

If you have a Spirit of Alabama you’d like to share, email spiritofalabama@wvua23.com.

Categories: Spirit of Alabama