League opens church door for family
    March 24 2011 by Norman Jameson, Associated Baptist Press

    KANNAPOLIS — When the soccer season sponsored and funded by First Baptist Church in Kannapolis began to wind down, Chris and Jennifer Roman realized they were going to miss the new friends they found while mingling with church families at the soccer field.

    So they agreed to start visiting the church. They had talked often about their desire to find a church home during their five years of marriage. Both were what they call “God conscious” but not professed Christians.

    Within a month they joined the church by baptism. Jennifer said it “felt right” from the first. “We’re supposed to be here,” she said. “If not for the soccer ministry I don’t think we’d be born-again Christians.” Before what discipleship minister Haven Parrott calls a “kairos” moment turning the church toward community outreach, the Romans might not have felt immediate acceptance there.

    Both sport piercings in their face and Chris’ arms are heavily tattooed with designs and the names of his sons.

    But Chris said First Baptist, which already enjoyed a “really good” reputation in town, has been like family. He found instant camaraderie among people who “will do anything for you. They will give you the shirt off their backs.”

    BR photo by Norman Jameson

    Chris and Jennifer Roman started attending First Baptist Church in Kannapolis after one of their son’s soccer league season ended. The church runs the league on land originally purchased for a new building.

    “Our family told us Chris would probably scare people at First Baptist with his tattoos,” Jennifer said. “But nobody here judges him. It’s so nice.”

    Chris played some high school soccer, and — despite working two jobs so Jennifer can be a stay-at-home mom — he jumped in and helped his son Aidan’s soccer coach, deacon chair Patti Miller.

    It was Aidan’s first organized activity, and the family learned about it through a flyer he brought home in his book bag from a special school where he receives help for a speech disability.

    It was when Parrott showed up to sit with her during a surgical procedure for Aidan that Jennifer first thought: “Wow. This stranger who doesn’t even know us wants to be there for us.”

    Life is getting better for the Romans. Chris is working two jobs after being laid off as an auto mechanic and almost losing their house.

    “I have a new attitude toward life,” he said, sitting in the church parlor with a red knit cap pulled over his ears. “You look at things different. You appreciate the little things. It’s the whole package. I have a new appreciation for things I didn’t see before.”

    “God has opened our eyes,” Jennifer said.

    All because an old church tried a new game — and scored.

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    Related Story
    Soccer pulls church into community ministry
    3/24/2011 8:35:00 AM by Norman Jameson, Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments

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