FCA Friend Clayton Kershaw Pitching in Game 1 of Dodgers-Astros World Series Tonight
All-Star Tells His Faith Story to Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Keeping His Eyes on Jesus While on the Mound for the World Series
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—The Los Angeles Dodgers won their last World Series in 1988, which happens to be the same year tonight’s starting pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, was born. Coincidence? Dodgers’ fans hope not.
Kershaw has been a longtime friend to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) and has talked with FCA Magazine about his faith and being active with the 62-year-old international sports ministry.
“I think getting to play baseball and the blessing that it is to go play every day is a platform to incorporate yourself with a lot of other different people that think baseball’s cool and (are) fans of the game,” Kershaw said in an FCA video. “If you tell them that you’re a follower of Christ and a Christian, it can resonate with people a little bit more just because of the platform you have. So, for me, talking about it is one thing, but living it is the most important.”
Kershaw also told FCA that one of his favorite Bible verses is Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (NIV). That verse, he said, reminds him that no matter how the game goes—good or bad, win or loss—as long as he did his best for God, he has no regrets.
“All of us at FCA wish Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers, as well as the Houston Astros, nothing but the best in the 2017 World Series,” said FCA President and CEO Shane Williamson. “It’s amazing to see today’s brightest sports stars remain faithful to Jesus, even on the biggest sports stage. When young fans see Christ-following athletes conduct themselves with grace, humility and self-control on the field, they know that something’s different about their favorite athletes—and hopefully they will come to realize that difference is Jesus.”
Before cementing his place in Los Angeles through 2020, Kershaw started his stellar career at Highland Park High School in Dallas, where his faith in Christ grew. He began attending his high school’s FCA Huddle as a freshman and stayed actively involved all four years. Even now, he and his wife, Ellen, return to Highland Park each offseason to speak at the FCA Huddle there.
“In high school, everybody called themselves Christians, but FCA brought it to the forefront,” Kershaw told FCA for a magazine interview. “It really helped me grow and showed me that it’s a lifestyle. Jesus is your Savior, and you live for Him. Everything you do is for Him, and athletics are a part of that.”
Kershaw has experienced a stellar career since being drafted by the Dodgers in 2006. He made his MLB debut in L.A. in 2008 at just 20 years old—the youngest player in the majors that year. More than a decade later, Kershaw is among the great Dodger pitchers, but as Ellen says, Clayton is “the most humble person you’ll ever meet,” adding, “He realizes there’s more to life than baseball. With Clayton, he’s always had a greater perspective.”
For anyone else, that perspective may be hard to keep, especially the way Kershaw’s career has exploded. He was selected to every All-Star team since 2011, won the NL Cy Young Award in 2011, 2013 and 2014 and was named the NL TSN Pitcher of the Year three times. In 2014, Kershaw was the National League Most Valuable Player, and No. 22 has also been honored with the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award and the 2013 Branch Rickey Award; Rickey was one of the “Founding Fathers” of FCA.
Clayton and Ellen started Kershaw’s Challenge in 2011, a Christ-centered, others-focused organization existing to encourage people to use whatever God-given passion or talent they have to make a difference and give back to people in need. The organization seeks to empower people to use their spheres of influence to positively impact communities and to expand God’s Kingdom, believing that God can transform at-risk children and neighborhoods through the benevolence and impact of others. For more about Kershaw’s Challenge, visit www.kershawschallenge.com.
“My legacy … I hope it’s more than baseball,” Kershaw told FCA. “I hope I have a lasting impact. At the same time, I hope I get to play baseball for a long time. I love it. I hope I get to do a ton of different things with that. But I hope it opens up a lot of different avenues that wouldn’t be easily accessible without baseball.”