CBU professor serves to make Christ known in the action-sports scene
Riverside, Calif. (Oct. 21, 2016) – During the workweek, Dr. Monica O’Rourke is busy teaching and helping her CBU Online students. But along with her regular job, she is also a passionate weekend warrior for Christ.
O’Rourke, visiting professor of kinesiology for Online and Professional Studies at California Baptist University, is frequently found helping at motocross tracks or watercross competitions. O’Rourke has been involved with husband Brian’s ministry—Team Faith—since the couple married more than 11 years ago. The organization is a nonprofit outreach ministry geared toward professional action-sports athletes.
O’Rourke has her own dirt bike and Jet Ski. She has even been known to race against her husband to help him train.
“The Lord tells us to go … and I would add go to the motocross, dirt bike, action sport people who are tattooed from head to toe,” O’Rourke said.
Team Faith sends teams to nationally televised sporting events all across the nation and to countries such as Egypt and Canada. The group includes a chaplain, who leads devotions and provides other services as needed, and the athletes who compete in the events. Team Faith also provides free meals or fruit smoothies and Bibles to participants of action sporting events. The group’s athletes include Kevin Johnson, an X-Games gold medalist, and Kelly Smith, a national watercraft champion. The group also has a freestyle motocross jump show that opens the door for the team to share the Gospel.
Prior to teaching at CBU, O’Rourke worked as a physical educator, a university PE program director and a corporate health consultant. With Team Faith, she serves as the director of public relations. She also works behind the scenes, from meeting ministry needs and praying for the athletes and families to cleaning bikes, taping athletes’ wrists and feet and offering rehab exercises.
O’Rourke travels with the teams one or two weekends a month during the winter and more during the summer.
“It’s an honor to serve, and they need Jesus just as much as anybody else does,” O’Rourke said.
Years ago, she wrote “be available” on a sticky note that she still holds onto.
“I ask God to keep my eyes and my heart and my ears open,” O’Rourke said. “We are all called by the Great Commission to go serve. Why would we not be going through action sports, performing there as well as sharing the Gospel?”