Interview with Jason Skaer: From Pro Basketball to the Pastorate

You never know who is sitting in your class. When I was teaching at SWBTS Houston, I had the privilege of teaching Jason Skaer. It’s been an even greater privilege to see our friendship grow over the last few years, and he was kind enough to answer some questions about his conversion, how basketball (Oklahoma State, Rice, Austria, and the Rockets made the mistake of not keeping him) has helped him in the ministry. Whereas he used to talk trash at Michael Jordan, Jason now pastors The Church at Alden Bridge in The Woodlands, TX.

Fast facts: Jason was second off the bench on the 1995 Oklahoma State team that went to the Final Four, and he was a Rhodes Scholar candidate. His wife was a star basketball player at Rice and a scholar in her own right (if it doesn’t open to page 10, go to page 10 on the linked PDF). The best thing about Jason, though, is that he is a humble man of God who knows that God the Father exalts Jesus by his Spirit through the word.

Could you describe how you came to faith in Jesus?

Not growing up in the church I had very little Bible knowledge and consequently knew close to nothing about the gospel.  However, during my first year playing professional basketball in Europe I decided to read the Bible from cover to cover.  Thus it was quite literally through the power of God’s Word that I came to know Christ.  No tricks, no gimmicks, the gospel was good enough to convict and save.

Are there ways that basketball has helped and/or hurt your approach to the ministry?

Basketball has been immensely helpful.  There’s no “I” in team and that certainly holds true in the church.  It takes everybody working together and utilizing their gifts to grow a healthy congregation.  Stubborn persistence taken from the athletic arena has also served me greatly.  Helping plant and eventually pastor a new church is difficult work.  There will be days when the deck seems stacked against you.  But if you believe God’s called you to the task you can’t give in.  Too many ministers (and church members) throw in the towel during the hard days.  But as we’re experiencing now there is great fulfillment and joy in sailing through the storm and ultimately seeing brighter days.

Tell me about The Church at Alden Bridge.

The Church at Alden Bridge has a simple mission statement:  “Our mission is to be disciples and make disciples of Jesus Christ.”  This means we aim to both know God and make Him known.  Thus we are serious about discipleship and equipping our members while being equally passionate about reaching the lost.  In my experience churches are usually good at one or the other.  Either we’re good at equipping but offer a cold environment, or we’re really welcoming but have no real depth.  My hope and prayer is that TCAAB holds these two important mandates in balance.

What do you find most helpful as you prepare to preach?

The most helpful aspect of my preaching preparation is that I am absolutely committed to and passionate about expository preaching.  We simply march verse by verse through the whole counsel of God’s word.  For instance, we spent the last two semesters in James and this Summer we are working through Psalms 11-21.  I simply don’t have the capacity or creativity to wake up each Monday morning and invent some new catchy sermon series.  We believe that God’s Word is good enough for God’s people and it’s been my experience here that His Word is more relevant and penetrating than anything I could ever invent.  Thus in sticking with the Bible, regardless of how it gets delivered (which I work very hard on), I know for certain that the content is always good.

Tell me about the specific challenges of doing ministry in The Woodlands.

The Woodlands is a pretty affluent community and thus like other similar communities many don’t see a need for God.  We’ve built our identity around job and possessions and family and missed out on the Main Thing.  I will say however that with the recent economic downturn some of our idols have been taken away and many are now asking questions that only the gospel can answer.

What have you most enjoyed seeing God do as you have served The Church at Alden Bridge?

There are few greater joys than witnessing hungry people get fed the things of God.  We get lots of folks who are “tired of seeing the same movie every week” and looking for something deeper and it’s fun to feed them.  We also get lots of unchurched and unbelieving folks who stroll in on a Sunday not knowing what they’re looking for but get turned on to the truth of the gospel and it’s fun to feed them too.  God is building a church in this community that vindicates once more the sufficiency of His Word and it thrills me to no end to have the privilege of serving a work like this.

Thanks for taking the time to serve us with this interview, Jason!

It’s beautiful to see the Lord transform people. Glory to God for his mercy!

I recommend you check out Jason’s sermons here.