NFL kicker Elam studying at Liberty Seminary

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LYNCHBURG, Va. — Denver Broncos kicker Jason Elam has added another line to his already full resume: seminary student.

The kicker for the Broncos since 1993, Elam has had an amazing career. A two-time Super Bowl champion, and a three-time Pro Bowl recipient, Elam tied the record for the longest field goal in NFL history in 1998, with a 63-yarder against Jacksonville. He holds the NFL record for most consecutive successful extra points with 317. With more than 300 field goals, he is just one of 16 NFL players to reach this milestone.

His exploits are not limited to the football field. He is a licensed commercial pilot, a licensed real estate broker and a world traveler.

He is also a committed Christian. Every off-season, he leads a tour of the Holy Land with other NFL players. The third-round draft pick in 1993 out of the University of Hawaii, Elam grew up in a Christian home. Born and raised in Snellville, Ga., Elam was active in his church. However, when he arrived at the University of Hawaii in 1989, he was confronted with teammates who held to a variety of faiths.

"I didn't know what to expect when I went to Hawaii. I thought it was going to be like 'Magnum, P.I." Elam said. "But Hawaii was such a cultural melting pot. Looking back, I realize it was such a blessing to go there. It opened my eyes to the world."

This confrontation with other religions gave Elam a burden for apologetics. During his time with the Broncos, this burden has deepened.

"I was constantly confronted with those who had genuine questions about faith in Jesus Christ, and I scrambled to try to find answers," he said. "I became convinced that to be an effective witness, I needed to challenge myself to study and prepare, to give an answer."

When Liberty Theological Seminary President Ergun Caner led a chapel for the Broncos in 2005, he and Elam struck up a friendship.

"We laugh about it now, but as an awestruck fan, I came up to him and asked him to sign my program," Caner said. "And all of a sudden, Jason pulled out one of my books, and asked me to sign it for him. We discovered that we shared a common burden for bringing Christianity to the world religions. Since then, every time I do a chapel, he and I talk for extended periods of time about our faith."

On Feb. 13, this friendship culminated in Elam entering a Master of Arts in Global Apologetics program at Liberty's seminary. In his first class, Elam surprised the 500 students in his Theology 201 class when he suddenly walked down the aisle and shared his testimony, at Caner's request.

"Like many of you, I hunger to grow deeper in my Christian walk, and I want to be prepared to share my faith in Christ as Lord with anyone," Elam told the students. "I am so excited about the Global Apologetics degree and being a student in Liberty Seminary. There are 5 billion followers of the world's 12 major world religions, and I want to be ready for all of them."


BP News

Published, April 2007