Jon Kolb, former offensive lineman for the Steelers, will talk about getting in the game of living for Christ when he speaks at the 36th annual Young Life of Central Pennsylvania banquet.
"It's not good enough to paint yourself black and gold and sit in the stands and yell. God is calling us to get on the field," said Kolb, who earned four Super Bowl rings while playing with the Steelers from 1969-81.
He will be the celebrity guest at the banquet to be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Blair County Convention Center.
According to Young Life's national website, "it brings the good news of Jesus Christ into the lives of adolescents with an approach that is respectful of who kids are and hopeful about who they can be."
When he speaks at the banquet, Kolb doesn't plan on giving a typical testimony or sharing his personal journey with God. Instead, he wants to inspire people to turn their lives to God in ways they can understand, he said.
"A lot of it comes down to what I call the pace of life," Kolb said, explaining life isn't a marathon or a sprint, but a series of sprints mixed in with important quiet times with God.
Kolb believes Jesus lived his life as a series of sprints by praying and spending time with God before helping people or carrying out amazing feats, like walking on water, quieting storms, feeding thousands of people and healing.
"He was making blind people see and deaf people hear and healing lepers," Kolb said. "He normally started his day having some quiet time. Then he had a really intense day.
"You go hard and then have a quiet time. The struggle I have personally is in both of those areas. I don't have very good quiet times sometimes. Then, I'm not equipped to go hard."
Quiet times are needed to gain strength for the hard times and sprints, said Kolb, who lives in Sharon with his wife, Deborah. Kolb also has three grown sons - Eric, 40, Tanner, 30, and Caleb, 21.
Studying God's Word, prayer and fellowship with fellow believers can help people become strong in their faith, he said. Singing at camp can be inspiring, but what's important is the everyday walk with God, he said.
It is the message he wants to convey to Young Life supporters, whose mission is to reach teens and young adults and show them the path to the Lord.
Young Life holds weekly meetings where junior and senior high school students sing, laugh and listen to a message about the Christian faith.
About 250 people are expected to attend this year's event, which typically raises about $100,000 annually. Although there is no cost for the dinner, attendees are encouraged to donate at least $40 per ticket, which supports local Young Life clubs, camps, trips and other activities.
"It's not just about the dollars. We want people to know what Young Life is," said Tim O'Brien, regional director of Young Life of Central Pennsylvania.
Each year, a guest speaks to the audience along with O'Brien and others who talk about the organization's local activities and accomplishments.
As the teens evolve in their relationship with Christ, they might get more involved by joining weekly Bible study groups called Campaigners, volunteering at summer camps or attending winter workshops.
"In Young Life, we believe teenagers are the future. No one would disagree with that. We have an opportunity because of the relational style of what we do. We have the opportunity to get close enough to kids to tell them the truth," O'Brien said.
Some problems in the community stem from misguided teens who are not fulfilled, said Chad Carlson, a member of the Young Life of Central Pennsylvania oversight committee.
"Young Life provides fun activities that are well organized, sponsored by responsible adults that encourage kids to be better people," Carlson said.
The gatherings are informal, and the message is delivered in a positive, accepting way.
"Kids don't feel like they're being preached at. They don't feel like someone is telling them how to act. It becomes a socially positive place to be.
"Our style is to love kids, care for kids and live out the Gospel all the time, and when necessary use the Word [Bible]," O'Brien said.
Anyone interested in attending the banquet should call the Young Life of Central Pennsylvania office at 696-7834.