ST. LOUIS—Shane Saunders believes in the mission of Faith and Family Day with the St. Louis Rams to the point where he plans on helping it grow with a year-long effort leading up to the event in the fall of 2012.
Judy Boen believes in him, too. Boen is the driving force behind the Christian Family Day organization, which for years was anchored at Busch Stadium with the St. Louis Cardinals and which now is making inroads at the Edward Jones Dome with the Rams. She likes what Saunders brings to the table.
“Shane is constantly thinking,” Boen said. “He’s such a visionary.”
Saunders is a member of South County Baptist Church. He is a former youth minister and a current financial advocate through Prosperity Partnershps, Inc. As church coordinator for Faith and Family Day, he is now in a position where he sees the opportunity for Christians in and around St. Louis to bless at-risk youth and share the love of Christ.
“It’s all because we want to show the love of Christ to kids who don’t see that,” he said. “Whether they have no parents, a rough family life, orphaned—whatever the case is, we wanted to be able to show them through this event that Christ loves them, and that we love them.”
Saunders was brought into Boen’s core group of organizational leaders through his relationship with Ed Moncada, a fellow South County member who serves as the international student director for the Missouri Baptist Convention. Moncada said he is glad that Saunders has made a strong and sure connection with Boen. That allows Moncada to do more of what he feels like he is gifted to do.
“My big part is prayer,” Moncada said. “It’s praying for the Christians and their influence on the city. I pray for God’s favor on the Christian players, and the team, and really our influence. I do prayer-walking for the team’s success.”
The 2011 Faith and Family Day featured a DVD testimony that included how three Rams players—middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, offensive lineman Jason Brown, and kicker Josh Brown—came to Christ. Josh Brown also came out on the field. It is hoped that an environment can be created where players would be able to interact more with the crowd, perhaps in some sort of a formal program.
“My goal for next year is to partner up with a couple of radio stations and try to get 2,000-3,000 (tickets sold) people minimum,” Saunders said.
Boen, who is a member of West County Community Church in Wildwood, remains very enthusiastic about the capability of her 12-person unit of volunteers to deliver a quality Christian event at a major professional sports venue.
“This whole committee is amazing,” she said. “We know what our heart is, and we know what to do.”
Right now the officers are Boen as founder and chairman, her daughter, Christe Boen Mirikitani, as vice president, Chuck Smallwood as treasurer and Sheri Krueger as secretary.
ALLEN PALMERI/associate editor