Billy Thompson has won titles at nearly every level in basketball, including two NBA World Championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. Now the 6’7″ small forward is winning for for God and the championship of heaven.
Thompson is a proven winner, and now, as senior pastor of Jesus People Proclaim International Ministries Church in Boca Raton, Fla., he is winning souls for the kingdom of God. As the Lord continues to bless his life and ministry, his capacity in that role keeps growing.
Not only is Thompson feeding his church with the Word, he does the same for private corporations and youth basketball camps as an inspirational speaker. However, one of the biggest tasks he has been charged by God with, one that is near and dear to his heart, is to influence and guide troubled youth from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds through his “Heart of a Champion” program.
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“From this program, the goal for us is to impart to young people the realization that God loves them and desires for them to become the champions that He created them to be,” Thompson said. “We want to build faith, integrity, self-confidence and perseverance in these kids. With God’s help, we expect nothing less than radical change from mediocre to excellence.
“Using basketball, God has opened a lot of doors for me to work with men and women and kids. He has raised me up to be the head, and I hope that others can see the heart of God through me. It’s a God thing, for sure.”
Thompson said God saved him at a time when his life could have taken a drastic turn.
As a junior at the University of Louisville in 1985, Thompson said he lived the “typical life” of a college student. He partied, indulged in drugs and alcohol, and lived the high life as a celebrity in Louisville as a college basketball star.
One night at around 2 a.m., Thompson received a sobering message from the Lord.
“I heard Him say, ‘You are going to die if you don’t give your life over to Me,'” Thompson said. “I literally had a vision that I was on a gurney and in the back of an ambulance. And then, the headlines read, ‘Billy Thompson, Basketball Star, Dead of Drug Overdose.’ What a wake-up call.
“And then, as if to confirm it, my friend and fellow player Len Bias did die [at age 22] from a drug-related incident. I roomed with Len during our times in the high school all-star games. I knew him. I broke down crying, knowing that could have been me. It’s because of His grace that I’m even still here.”
[Source Charisma Magazine]