After touchdowns, Tebow unashamedly kneels in prayer, an act now known as "Tebowing." He writes biblical verses on his cheeks for games and makes it a habit of starting interviews by thanking "first and foremost, my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ."
He preaches in prisons and churches and delivered an Easter sermon last year in Texas, to a crowd of almost 20,000.
Publicly confessing his faith, however, has made him a target for criticism. Many fans and players do not see a football game as an appropriate venue to proselytize.
Fearing scrutiny, Christians sometimes shy away from proselytizing, choosing instead to just being "a good example." While living a moral life is important, it cannot be the sole strategy for sharing one's faith since many nonbelievers also strive to be good and do good. At some point, an unambiguous connection must be made between the Christian's morality and their love for God. Furthermore, the Bible commands Christ's followers to share the gospel.
TeBow has been criticized by some evangelicals for not lending his voice to lightning-rod issues. In 2010, however, he appeared in a Focus on the Family Super Bowl commercial with his mother in which she recalls choosing to carry her life-threatening pregnancy to term and giving birth to her "miracle" baby, Timmy. The ad sparked controversy and drew opposition from abortion-rights groups.
Tebow often speaks of making the "dash" on a tombstone the time between one's birth and death mean something. In his short NFL career, the young athlete has affected many people with his charity work and his positive message. In the sports universe, he is celebrated for his athletic achievements. In the Christian world, he is saluted as a contemporary evangelist who used his football stage to champion the faith.
Contact Corey J. Hodges, pastor of New Pilgrim Baptist Church, at firstname.lastname@example.org.