Originally published in Western Recorder – http://www.westernrecorder.org/~westernr/index.php/recent-kentuck-news/1661-kentucky-basketball-star-turned-evangelist-speaks-at-cumberlands-fall-awakening
Williamsburg—Former University of Kentucky basketball player, Cameron Mills, turned his basketball career into an evangelistic calling.
Mills graduated from UK in 1998 after a four-year career wearing number 21 for the Wildcats. His lifelong dream was to follow in the footsteps of his father and play for the “Cats.” Turning down a full scholarship to the University of Georgia, Mills became a walk-on for the Wildcats.
Earning two national championship rings, he exceeded his dreams. When his career ended, Mills had netted 4.3 points, 1.1 rebounds, .6 assists and .3 steals per game. His career shooting percentages were better than 47 percent from both the field and the 3-point line.
Mills has since exchanged his basketball career for one in ministry.
“I travel; I preach. I always say, I preach messages that I need to hear. A lot of times it is the same messages. But every night, I tend to need to hear it,” Mills said. “I do this,” he said referring to being the guest speaker for the University of the Cumberland’s Fall Awakening in September.
He is a member of Binghamtown Baptist Church in Middlesboro. When not preaching on Sundays, Mills divides his time between two area churches. With his ministry based out of Lexington, Mills preaches in chapels, revivals, churches and sporting events across the country, and he is still heavily involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Mills received Christ on a snow day when he was 7 and first felt the call to ministry at age 12.
“Other than my parents and Christ, the two most influential people in my life were my youth pastors,” Mills said. “My call was to ministry.”
However, Mills said due to his relationship with his youth pastor, he initially wanted to be one because he loved “the idea of going on mission trips to Panama City Beach.”
“How could ministry get any greater than this?” 12-year-old Mills thought.
“Of course, that’s what you see as a kid. What you don’t see is that the youth pastor never sleeps because he is worried about his kids. You never see the administrative stuff going on months before the trip. And then add to all the administrative stuff, he has to prepare for all his lessons; he has to prepare himself,” Mills said.
“I didn’t even know you could do what I do now. I didn’t know this was a job,” he added.
“But I was 12 years old when I thought, ‘OK, I’m going into ministry. I don’t know what it’s going to look like. But I can’t not spend my time (at least the bulk of it) sharing who Jesus Christ is,'” Mills said.
His ministry began while he was playing basketball. “I had so many opportunities at UK to share my testimony. When I shared my faith, I got asked to share my faith more,” Mills said.
The first time he realized that he could share the gospel on a large scale was during his freshman year on a Fellowship of Christian Athletes trip to Maysville.
“On the way up there we planned this rally for 200 high school students,” Mills shared. “Max (the leader) looked at me completely out of the blue and said, ‘Cameron, do you want to share about 20 minutes; do you want to preach?'”
He continued, “I don’t remember being shocked,” although he looks back and wonders why he wasn’t.
“He and I had never had a conversation as far as I can remember about preaching,” Mills recalled.
On the way to the rally, he scribbled down notes on a napkin and preached his first sermon on sexual purity.
“And 20 minutes after that, I had about 15 kids come up to me, thanking me, which was encouraging because had I gotten up there and had kids tell me that it was the worst sermon they ever heard, I probably would have never preached again.”
After talking with a young lady who expressed how much she needed that message, Mills knew that was what he was going to do with his life. (WR)