Thursday, November 23, 2017

‘Calling a new play’

September 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Community

Now a Las Vegas faith leader, NFL legend Randall Cunningham reaches a milestone in his most personal and most meaningful calling yet.

BY KIMBERLY BAILEY-TUREAUD

Randall Cunningham

Las Vegas may be known around the world as Sin City, but it has a very vibrant faith community. For many, the glistening lights are the perfect backdrop for spiritual nourishment and healing.

Among those providing spiritual leadership in the city is a very familiar face: Pastor Randall Cunningham of Remnant Ministries. Following a storied football career at UNLV, he achieved global notoriety as an NFL star in1985—when he was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles and quickly established himself as one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league. Almost 30 years later, he leads a large congregation in a Bible focused ministry.

“Shortly after my football career [ended], I sold my homes and moved back to Las Vegas and was presented with an offer to start a Bible study group of 50 people that quickly turned into what is now Remnant Ministries,” he said. “It all began as I was being discipled by the late Pastor John Michaels of Calvary Chapel Spring Valley Church. As the Bible study group grew, my pastor said, ‘Randall it’s time for you to start a church.’ During my football career I was always with the chaplain — Keith Johnson of the Minnesota Vikings and Pastor Troy Johnson. I attached myself to them because I wanted to learn.”

Cunningham recently celebrated his 10th anniversary as a pastor, a calling he was initially reluctant to embrace. “I tried to stay away from my pastor when he first [approached] me to start pastoring,” he recalled. “But then he approached me again and said, ‘Randall, we have to get you ordained. You need to pray about getting ordained.’ And on March 28, a day after my birthday, I fasted and then my pastor asked, ‘Are you ready?’ I said, ‘We accept’ — to represent my entire family’s commitment. We started with 60 members in our church and now we are blessed with a 1,300-member church.”

While many churches draw distinctions on styles of worship and theology, Cunningham prefers to focus on unity.

“I wouldn’t state that our church is unique, because I believe all churches care about people,” he said. “I love people, and enjoy seeing people go from one level to the next level in their faith. I love seeing athletes that I coach go from not being born again to becoming born again and then their whole family becomes a part of the church. We are a church that opens its arms to everyone. We are really concerned about people.”

As for his style in the pulpit, Cunningham takes a conservative approach.

“We are a verse-by-verse teaching church and we teach the Bible,” he said. “I am not going to give you a show or try to move you emotionally each week. What I am going to do is … read God’s word. I will explain circumstances and bring you right into it. Take you on a roller coaster ride, and maybe you will cry or maybe you will laugh. Or maybe you will sit there in serious thought, and by the time I walk from the pulpit I will tell you, ‘I love you,’ and ‘Hope to see you next week.’ And in the middle of that, we will give you a worship experience. We just study the Bible, and I consider myself a teacher rather than a preacher.”

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