Spaghetti & Footballs

Northland Student Ministries

Northland team feeds football players both physically and spiritually

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
– Galatians 5:13 (NIV)

Alexander Cohen, the head coach for junior varsity football at Lyman High School, asked Principal Michael Rice if he knew of a church that could help sponsor, or help pay for meals for, the JV football team at Lyman. Because of the outreach work I do with the school, through the Young Men of Excellence class, Principal Rice passed the message on to me. I was more than happy to help but unsure how to make the connection, which is where Executive Pastor Sean Cooper came in.

Pastor Sean shared that the incoming pastor of Student Ministries, Rob Hemphill, would likely be interested in helping. Needless to say, 24 hours later, Pastor Rob jumped at the chance to serve. Sean, Rob, Lauren Travers and I went to serve the young men on the football team at Lyman High School.

With the desire to grow this new partnership within the community, Pastor Sean explained the need for sponsors and servers and asked if anyone knew of other teams in need of help.

In response to his request, the congregation gifted an overwhelming sponsorship worth more than $5,000. With this gift, students from other schools, along with sponsors, staff members from other ministries and even Pastor Matt Heard, joined to serve the team with us at Lyman.

We have been blessed to watch Pastor Rob bring both spiritual and physical nourishment to these young men. Under his leadership, the Northland team has served Lyman’s JV team members, as well as Winter Springs’ freshman and varsity teams, by providing meals, prayers and encouraging talks to the football players.

Illiana, a student at Winter Springs, started serving the young men at Lyman with her friend Luna, who attends that school. A few weeks in, Illiana shared that the varsity team at Winter Springs is in need of a sponsor and folks believing in the team.

Over a span of two days the next week, we went to Winter Springs, Lake Howell and Lyman.

One evening when Sean Cooper was to preach, a mom was walking into service, sharing with another mom that the Lake Howell JV and freshman team needed a sponsor. She then shared that she wanted us to help serve the Lake Howell team. Several weeks later we did.

We have had families of former students of the schools we serve desire to sponsor. We’ve had former football players and other athletes volunteer to serve. There has been an overwhelming sense of camaraderie and joy serving the young men at these schools.

It’s amazing the way the Holy Spirit continues to take the Good News of Jesus out of this space and use the congregation to walk alongside those in our community for His glory.

One recent weekend Pastor Sean gave the congregation an update on this awesome opportunity placed before Northland. Once again, we had an amazing response from the congregation, and in addition to the previous meals, we received sponsorships allowing us to also partner with the Lake Howell freshman team.

A recent Friday, Pastor Rob was at Winter Springs High with its JV and varsity teams. Getting to know the coaches, talking to parents and serving the teams is such an amazing way to be on campus. Being able to see some of our students while we’re out there after school and interact with them is an amazing part of what God is doing in and through this congregation.

Please continue to pray for this partnership, Northland and the students on these teams. And if you would like to get volunteer or know of someone who would like to be a sponsor, please contact Jamila Millette at