Roman Gabriel’s name commands attention in the world of sports. His father’s successful football career created that fame. The senior Gabriel played high school football at New Hanover High School in Wilmington. He went on to star for the North Carolina State University football team, and played professionally for the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles.
While Roman Gabriel III followed in his father’s steps for a short time, God had bigger plans for him. Today he leads Sold Out Youth Ministries with headquarters in Boone. At the heart of this ministry is a life changed from the calling of the gridiron to the gospel.
Gabriel says, “My childhood was definitely out of the norm, surrounded by the sights and sounds of professional football and being the son of a very famous NFL quarterback. My dad played football from the time I was born until I graduated from high school, I knew early on I wanted to be just like him and play quarterback in the NFL.
“Our family’s life was definitely in the media spotlight in Southern California, but my mom did everything to keep my brother and I grounded through church. I believed in God, but it was not until my parents’ divorce and the resulting pain that I realized my need for Him.
“During that time I threw myself into sports because I felt comfortable on the field. But I realized quickly that carrying anger, guilt, and pain hindered my ability to experience any joy in my life. I realized that there was a void that could not be filled no matter what I accomplished.
“My destiny changed when I attended a Billy Graham Crusade with my Pop Warner football team at the age of nine. I realized that God wanted to have a personal relationship with me through trusting Jesus Christ as my Savior. It did not happen that night, but God did take hold of me.
“Four years later I accepted Christ as my Savior at a church youth retreat. But it was not until college and the special friendship of two teammates that I understood what it meant to surrender and walk daily with Christ.
“I made a commitment to follow Him both on and off the field. It was – and still is – the best decision I have ever made. God used that time in my life to prepare me for pro football and eventually for full-time ministry. The peaks and valleys of life and the lessons learned on the football field have given me a unique platform to share the gospel with passion, intention, and clarity.”
After playing college football for the University of New Mexico, a short stint with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders and one year in the now defunct United States Football League (USFL), a neck injury ended his pro career. Today he ministers to high school, college and professional football players. Roman teaches football skills and life principles from the Bible.
He delivers a straightforward, challenging message from scripture at conferences, men’s events, youth outreaches, Upward banquets and Sunday worship services. For 17 years Gabriel has covered the Super Bowl through a television show (Sold Out), and with streaming video and video updates posted on his website. His stories include testimonies from players on the two competing teams, from coaches and from past champions.
Part of his work at the Super Bowl is to enlist professional players to join him in modeling biblical values to young, aspiring athletes. Throughout the game he is posting updates from the players on Facebook, and tweeting their stories.
Roman says, “Through Sold Out Ministries, God has allowed my wife, Marsha, and I to bring home a message of hope grounded in character and faith, accountability, teamwork, and a strong anti-drug and alcohol message. I am grateful to God for the privilege to challenge church leadership, men’s ministry, youth, and family with the most powerful message in the world – the gospel!”
Jeremiah 29:11 is his life verse: “For I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord plans to prosper you and not to harm you so that you might have a future and a hope.”
When Roman Gabriel III walks into a room, people notice. When he speaks, people listen. His commanding presence sets the tone for his powerful message.
He adds, “God has blessed me with the opportunity to reach out to youth and family, knowing that so many today live a life without purpose or hope. It is our job as Christians to let people know that God has an individual plan for each one. We can never reach our full potential until we tap into the source of real power, joy, and abundant life – Jesus Christ. I always emphasize when I speak to young people that its not about who you are, but whose you are! Be bold, and share the Good News and let God do the rest! That’s what it’s all about!”
Roman’s Sold Out Sports Talk Radio program on American Family Radio can be heard in 200 cities nationally or streaming live at afr.net. It’s all about faith, family and sports.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — This item is part of a package about escalating technology improvements to benefit ministry. The Biblical Recorder is focusing on the Seven Pillars for Christian Ministry adopted by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. For more stories on technology in ministry or to find out about the entire package, please visit here.)