Grayson Gunn was searching. When his college football career took a toll on his body, his desire for truth deepened. Grayson recognized his need to find his identity beyond sport. He attended an Athletes in Action football chapel and found what he’d been missing—the truth of the Gospel. And he couldn’t wait to discover more.
Raised Outside the Faith
Grayson was born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. His parents’ church experiences had been discouraging, so they raised Gunn and his older brother outside of Christianity. But they still shaped their family life around Christian values.
Sports had been a large part of Grayson’s upbringing. He developed a deep love for movement through sports like soccer and gravitated toward football when he was 10. Football became his primary sport for the next 12 years.
Gunn attended the University of Saskatchewan, where he practiced for four years as a Huskie offensive lineman. On campus is where he first connected with Athletes in Action and Christianity. Little did he know this would spark his journey towards Jesus. And when he eventually retired from football—Grayson Gunn learned he had a purpose beyond sport.
How Athletes in Action Helped Show Grayson His Purpose
We caught up with Grayson to discover how connecting with AIA impacted his journey.
AIA: How did you first encounter Athletes in Action?
GG: Going into university, it was put onto my heart to search for answers that transcended the physical. When I was a walk-on rookie with the Huskies, two veteran players approached me about going to football chapels. They explained to me that they would be going through Murray Howe’s 9 Lessons I Learned from my Father. There were meals provided, good discussions, and community. There I would meet my first-ever spiritual mentors.
AIA: With all the busyness of university life, why did you stick it out with AIA throughout your time in school?
GG: It was always a welcoming environment where people went to grow personally and grow in community. It also became an excellent source for finding the Gospel truth that had been missing in my life, and I just couldn’t wait to find out more every week. Everyone that came (chaplains, teammates, athletes from other sports, volunteers) made it easy to keep coming back. It became the place where I could deepen my relationship with the body of Christ at the U of S and find many perspectives to help expand my understanding. AIA always helped me understand myself and understand others as well.
AIA: You attended our National Training Camp last year. What was that like, and what did you take away from that experience?
GG: It was an absolutely exhilarating roller-coaster. I had heard of many life-changing experiences from friends who had gone but didn’t want to force it into happening. But God was certainly working in me and through me. Retiring from football had just happened five months before NTC. I learned where my identity had been originally placed, in my sport and even academics. But God revealed that only He can define who I am. Unfortunately, and fortunately is more the way I see it, an injury from football reappeared at NTC, which forced me to truly evaluate this discrepancy. It also showed me the path forward for me: service to others. Though my body was not there to compete, I still found my purpose in staying close to my team and all the others. I chose to serve and support them in every way I could.
AIA: How have AIA staff encouraged you on your faith journey?
GG: Rod Alm was definitely the spiritual mentor who always seemed to know when someone was itching for more of God in their life. Just as I reached my lowest points academically or athletically in my second-to-third year, there he was, inviting me out to book clubs, football chapels, and a men’s Bible study. He really showed me how to be indwelled and filled by the Holy Spirit. To experience the transformative power of the Spirit’s presence. Many other staff members joined along this journey and encouraged me towards further exploration of my faith. There’s just so many staff to list, I don’t know if I could thank them all enough.
Exploring God’s Good Gifts
This past year, Grayson worked as a volunteer for the football chapels, where he first encountered God. During this time, our staff encouraged him to dig deeper into AIA’s mission and consider joining the ministry. We’re excited to share that Grayson recently applied for an internship with us, and we’ve wholeheartedly accepted!
God is using this opportunity to answer some of Grayson’s prayers and forgotten goals. He’s starting to see how God can reshape some of his long-lost desires for His glorious purpose. Gunn looks forward to growing closer in relationship with God through this experience. He’s also excited to serve others, explore his God-given gifts, and learn more about his role in the Great Commission.
You can discover God’s calling in your life too! Click here to learn more about our campus internships.