One of this month’s Play4Him featured athletes is not only the Milwaukee Brewers’ seventh top prospect (according to MLB.com) but he has a laugh that is arguably more contagious than yawning. Seriously, his laugh will make your day. Watch it here. But what is more impressive than his skill on the field and his contagious cackle, is his love for Jesus Christ. As most of you are aware, Spring Training is in full swing and we caught up with Brewers’ outfielder, Brett Phillips, to talk about how his faith in God has helped him thrive throughout his rise to become one of Major League Baseball’s top prospects.
How did you come to know Christ?
So I went to a Christian school from Kindergarten to 4th grade where I was introduced to Jesus and a lot of the stories from the Bible (thanks to Veggie Tales) but I didn't actually accept Christ into my life until 7th grade. I was at a public school now, and a guy by the name of Gary Hunt ran a Bible study club early before school started. I only attended these weekly clubs because he gave out free donuts for everyone who was there. (Let's be real, who doesn't like free donuts!?) So one day he (Gary) was talking about the way to Heaven, and the only way to Heaven which is accepting Christ into your heart, and that was something I wanted to be a part of. That's where my journey started.
Do you have a specific verse or passage from the Bible you live by?
Isaiah 41:10 says "Fear not for I am with you, be not dismay for I am your God, I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” I just love what Christ is telling us in this verse. My interpretation of it is simple, don't fear anything on a day to day basis because the Lord has “Gotch you Homie!”.
What struggles/temptations have you faced on a consistent basis as a Christian throughout your career?
With being in the baseball business, nothing is guaranteed on a daily basis. Whether you're going to be healthy one day or on the DL [Disabled List] the next. Whether you’re going to have a job tomorrow or you don't. Nothing is promised and it's scary to think about. I need to trust in the plan that He has for me and look to Him in every situation I find myself in.
Has there been a specific moment in your career you've had to step out in faith in a major way?
Not (one specific moment). Baseball has grown me closer to the Lord than I've ever been. Simply because of the solid people I've met along the way who have challenged me to be the best version of myself in the image of God.
How have you grown spiritually since becoming a professional athlete?
I've recently gotten baptized thanks to The Increase Conference (held for Professional Baseball Players once a year) and it has seriously propelled my Faith in an upward direction. Without baseball, who knows where I'd be in my Faith and if I would've met the right people to have helped me out and showed me what it's truly like to Love the Lord.
How do you relate to non-Christians on your team?
The answer lies time after time in the Bible and also in the 2nd Commandment. Said from Christ himself, "Love thy neighbor as you love Thyself." Who am I to judge anyone!? So I just try and love on each and everyone and show them that Christ lives inside me and loves them too.
What role do you think Christian athletes should play on their team?
When you accept Christ into your life you take on a responsibility to go out and make disciples of all nations. By doing so you have to be a role model of good character and judgment and show that you can walk the walk and not just talk the talk. A lot of people can sit back and claim Christ but what are they doing to separate themselves as a Christian to show non-believers the way to Heaven?
Who have you seen exemplify Christ best in your life?
There are a few people who I have in my life that keep me accountable and it's not always easy doing so, but for you to grow in your faith and spiritual renewal you need help not only from God, but also solid believers around you to keep you grounded. A few guys would be…JJ Johnson who was a baseball coach of mine in high school. Rob Willey, Andy Wilson, and Greg Blankenship are all Men of Christ who have hosted me with their families through my minor league career and they are all men who exemplify how to truly live for Christ. Whether it's a family member or a friend or mentor, find someone in your life who has the best interest in you and isn't afraid to tell you you're wrong.
How do you find ways to glorify God through your play?
I've been put on a platform because of baseball, where what I say and do can be viewed anywhere from a thousand people to millions of people and it's an opportunity to show them that Christ lives inside of me. Whether it's the joy and passion I show on the field to taking the time out of my day to talk to fans or sign (autographs) for them. Whether it's a pre-game prayer on the field or a point up to God after a homerun; these are just a few ways I show an outward relationship that I have [with] Christ to the people around me.
Finally, what is best piece of spiritual advice you've ever received in your career?
The best advice I've heard is that I'm not a baseball player who happens to be a Christian but I am a Christian who happens to play baseball so don't let baseball define who are as a person. Your self worth isn't defined by what you have or what your status is. Your self worth is in Christ alone and that itself is all I need.
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We want to thank Brett for taking the time to share how God has impacted him in countless ways throughout his life and baseball career. God has blessed Brett with amazing athletic abilities and he has worked tirelessly to hone those skills while giving God all the glory. We wish him the best of luck this Spring and look forward to watching him continue to Play4Him throughout his career. If you would like to keep up with Brett Phillips, you can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @Brett_Phillips8