Dr. Greg Linville
Linville’s sports ministry career began as an Urban Director for the YMCA and Urban Young Life ministries where he mobilized Sports Outreach Ministries to center-city kids, gangs and other disenfranchised people. His Sports Ministry continued as a highly successful Basketball Coach in the state of Ohio where he received two District 4 High School Coach of the year awards (one awarded as an assistant coach). He also coached collegiately at Geneva College and was inducted into the Stark County Amateur Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.
Linville’s local church sports ministry included 15 years as the Director of Sports & Recreation Outreach at an Evangelical Friends Church. There, he supervised the efforts of over 500 volunteers and a dozen staff and interns, whose efforts to reach over 2,000 people per week resulted in increasing church attendance from 400-2,500. In addition, Dr. Greg has served on the staff and as a consultant at Christ Presbyterian Church and Community Church of the Portage Lakes.
In 1994 Linville was elected as one of the founding members of the association of Church Sports and Recreation Ministers (CSRM) and served as CSRM’s Executive Director until 2018. CSRM exists to: “equip local churches to change lives through sports outreach.” In his role as Executive Director with CSRM he was charged with maintaining CSRM’s vision, administrating CSRM’s mission, developing worldwide partnerships, teaching, preaching, consulting with churches the world over and supervising CSRM’s growing worldwide staff.
Linville’s varied sports ministry career spans more than 4 decades during which he served as a Sports Chaplain for various professional, collegiate and scholastic sports teams and as a member of many boards and committees including: The International Sports Coalition; Lakeside Chautauqua (Board and member of the Religious Life Advisory Team); All Out Sports; and Uncharted Waters. In addition, Linville was honored to be inducted into the Babe Stern Center Boys Club Hall of Fame.
Long regarded as a leading Academician in the Sports Outreach Ministry field, Dr. Linville was awarded the world’s first Honorary Doctorate in Sports Ministry (D. Div.) from Briercrest Seminary. He also completed an earned Doctorate (D. Min.) with a concentration in Sports Outreach. His other Academic roles include many years as a tenure-track, assistant Professor of Ministry and as an adjunct Professor at various Seminaries, Universities and Colleges in three different countries. He currently serves as the Dean of The AGON Institute of Sports Ministry and as a Department Chair and Professor for Barclay College. Linville earned a B.A. in Christian Ministry from Malone College; M.A. & M.Div. Equiv. & D. Min. at Ashland Seminary and also completed post-graduate work from both Reformed Seminary of Orlando and Fuller Seminary of Colorado.
Dr. Linville has Authored many articles, served as editor for numerous sports ministry manuals, contributed chapters to many Sports Ministry books, regularly contributes to CSRM’s local church sports outreach blog and was privileged to write the insert for the official Olympic Bible given to all Salt Lake City Olympic athletes. His seminal book Christmanship: A Theology of Competition and Sport was released in 2014 and is the first in a series of twelve total books based on his “3-Tier Paradigm” of Level #1 Theological Truths; Level #2 Philosophical Principles and Level #3 Methodological Models. His next two books: “The Fundamentals of Sports Outreach (April of 2018) and Putting The Church Back In The Game: The Ecclesiology of Sports Outreach (2019) were both published by Overwhelming Victory Press and his fourth book The Saving of Sports Ministry: The Soteriology of Sports Outreach is scheduled for release in late 2020. He remains a sought after, international Symposium, Conference, and Chautauqua speaker.
Leadership development and church growth is a passion for Dr. Greg as evidenced by scores of ministers, sports chaplains, YMCA staff and others, who consider him a mentor and the hundreds of churches that have engaged him in a consultant or trainer role. He has become connected with ministers throughout the world through both his CSRM contacts and his role with the Lakeside Chautauqua Religious Life Advisory Team where he personally hosts each of the weekly Preachers of the Week. These Preachers have included international Seminary Presidents, the personal prison chaplain of Nelson Mandela, world renown authors and some of the leading preachers in America and beyond.
Dr. Linville is a Licensed Pastor through the Evangelical Friends – Eastern Region and preaches/teaches on the average of 25 Sundays per year in various churches. Married since 1982 he and his wife reside in Ohio, have two married children and enjoy a growing number of grandchildren.