3:23 Ministries started in 2012 with an 11U baseball team. The goal was to provide a competitive, athletic experience for kids, point them to Jesus in the process, and also help us as parents grow in our sports parenting roles. That same year, a 10U baseball team also formed under our covering, so it all began with two baseball teams.
In 2013, our original 11U team continued as 12’s and stayed mostly intact for a total of 4 years. In 2014, the team traveled to the Dominican Republic for a mission trip, and then concluded their final year of baseball in 2015 with a trip to Louisville, Kentucky before moving into high school.
It was in 2013 that we launched our first two teams in travel volleyball. A series of conversations led Mickey and Bonnie Eckles to Kim Rivera. The Eckles knew nothing about volleyball and needed a key leader to develop this area. Kim Rivera, a long-time and well-respected volleyball coach/club director in the Permian Basin, was also looking for a different experience in the club world. We believe God brought us together at the perfect time, and Kim graciously agreed to partner with us as the founding club director for 3:23 Volleyball. We started with two preformed teams, but due to exponential growth, quickly transitioned to a tryout model.
In 2014, we went from 2 teams to 8 teams. The next two years we exploded to 19 and 17 teams, respectively. We loved the opportunity to provide club volleyball for as many kids as possible, but it didn’t take long to see that qualified coaches and gym space would not be sustainable at that pace.
2016 was a historic year as we hosted our first ever club tournament, the Permian Basin Bid Qualifier. 108 teams from all over West Texas and New Mexico converged for an amazing kickoff to the club season at the Midland County Horseshoe Arena and gyms all over the city. SEAM, the sports and entertainment entity of Midland, reported a $1 million economic impact on our community from that weekend. A new 3:23 baseball 11U baseball team also launched and competed for two years during the 2016-2017 seasons.
Just prior to the 2017 season, our founding club director, Kim Rivera voluntarily transitioned to make room for developing leadership in the club. What Kim did for 3:23 those first four years will forever be cherished. Kim is a true matriarch of the game of volleyball in our community and we are committed to building on that strong foundation for years to come.
The 2017 Permian Basin Bid Qualifier witnessed 136 teams compete with a reported $2.3 million economic impact to our city. 2017 also gave way to our first two 3:23 basketball teams. While 3:23 does not actively recruit coaches or sports, we do explore options when coaches have a desire to partner with shared vision and values.
Our greatest accomplishments are not wins, number of teams, or economic impact in our community through hosted tourneys, although those are all great. What we are most proud of are the 25+ players, siblings, and coaches that have been baptized over the last three years. In June 2017, 3:23 took its first volleyball mission trip with a group of 42 players, coaches, and parents to Costa Rica to play national teams, share the gospel, and serve the people. Three of our players committed their lives to Christ along with dozens of athletes in Costa Rica.
To date, 25 players have been baptized by 3:23 Ministries. Many more have been baptized at their local churches. Over 75 athletes, coaches, and parents have been on international sports mission trips with 3:23.
The rich experience and longevity of our coaching staff along with a vision to point kids to Christ and help us as parents grow through competitive travel sports is the heartbeat of our ministry. We look forward to adding new chapters to the 3:23 story…