History of UPI
|The purpose of UPI has always been to share the greatest news ever told through the greatest game ever played. One of the major emphasis of the ministry has been evangelistic baseball clinics both in USA cities and cities throughout the world.UPI was birthed during the summer of 1981 when the first clinic was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Faith Bible Church. Christian ballplayers from both the Oakland A’s and the Milwaukee Brewers came out and shared with people who had gathered. As a result of the baseball strike the next summer, ministry opportunities were limited. UPI was able to return to Milwaukee for second citywide baseball clinic outreach, though, with a total of ten major leaguers coming to share including seven from the Brewers and three from the visiting Detroit Tigers. Nearly 1100 kids and adults attended from the greater Milwaukee area and approximately 125 children and adults recognized their need to trust Christ through the testimonies of these ballplayers.
The next clinic in 1982 was in Akron, Okio, in conjunction with the Chapel in University Park. Players from the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees came, and the Lord truly blessed the clinic. Even though it rained, nearly 1800 gathered inside with many coming to know the Lord. The final clinic of 1982 was held at the Springdale Community Center in a suburb of Cincinnati. Here the Grace Brethren Church of Cincinnati was the host church. Again, through the witness of committed Christians like Dave Roberts of the Philadelphia Phillies, God blessed the outreach and many lives were changed.
Since those first years, the clinic ministry in the USA has grown. Churches in many cities have begun hosting clinics on their own, with UPI turning the leadership over to the local churches. This gives the UPI staff opportunity to develop clinic ministries in new cities as the opportunities present themselves.
Since its inception, the overseas ministry of UPI has grown considerably and many more doors have been opened. With baseball becoming so popular throughout the world over the years, it has given UPI the opportunity to go into countless countries and share the hope we have in Christ through the teaching of baseball fundamentals.
With every major league and minor league baseball team having a chapel program, it has also given UPI staff members an opportunity to train and disciple players within the Baseball Chapel program. Each and every Sunday, every baseball team holds a chapel service which gives the players, who are unable to attend traditional church services, the opportunity to hear and respond to the Word of God.