One of those eager to meet with former pro basketball player Chad Varga at Church on the Cross today and Sunday is Bradenton’s John Treworgy.
Unlike Varga, who played basketball for the University of Pittsburgh in the Big East Conference and had a successful professional career in Europe, Treworgy never played pro basketball and never felt the thrill of a slam dunk before thousands.
But Treworgy, who is spiritual growth director at Church on the Cross, 5051 26th St. W., Bradenton, feels he has something in common with Varga, who will speak at the church as part of a weekend Father’s Day event.
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Both men walked away from lucrative situations to pursue a life out of the spotlight where they are helping others.
Varga left a six-figure offer on the table including endorsement contracts to start Inspire Now, an organization that works with schools to help students get coached in character education, something Varga didn’t have as a child.
“I grew up in a broken home in the Detroit, Michigan, area,” Varga said on his website. “I grew up watching my mother violently abuse alcohol and drugs.”
In October, 1999, at the age of 25 and at the top of his game in Spain, Varga decided shooting basketballs wasn’t as important as talking to young people about character.
He speaks to roughly 250,000 students annually, according to his website.
Treworgy understands how someone can drop everything to pursue a lofty goal. The 28-year-old Treworgy was vice president in charge of sales for his families’ appliance and electronics business in rural Georgia by the time he was 21.
He drove a BMW and had money to do anything he desired. He made material rewards the blueprints of his life. But he says something was missing.
“I didn’t have a purpose,” Treworgy said. “I worked hard but I didn’t have fulfillment. I had all the lavish trips and toys, and they brought sparks of happiness, but though they were brilliant, the sparks were temporary and then they were gone.”
What Treworgy wanted was to be at peace. He wanted joy in his life, not just happiness. “I knew there was something out there that would bring a constant state of knowing my life mattered,” Treworgy said.
He found it in being there for others. He left the family business and pursued church work.
“I am now working toward living a life not centered on me,” Treworgy said. “I am not now the center of the universe. I am not now trying to promote me, but instead working as part of a kingdom where God is doing awesome things. It’s a total 180-degree shift.”
Treworgy thinks Varga will relate.
“He, also, left his worldly self and took this big step,” Treworgy said.
The BMW has been replaced by a Toyota and the fast-paced world of sales is replaced by his new job overseeing Church on the Cross’s 25 small home groups.
These are groups where people can get training or guidance on spiritual issues in a one-on-one setting away from formal church services, not at all unlike the kind of process that Varga says today’s schools must cultivate.
“Now, when I wake up in the morning I feel joy about what the day might bring,” Treworgy said. “Now, I realize the secret to joy is leaving yourself and caring about others. Jesus talks about it when he said, ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ This journey begins with the scariest possible step but ends in total peace.”
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.
If you go
What: Presentation by former professional basketball player Chad Varga
When: 5 p.m. today ; 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday
Where: Church of the Cross, 5051 26th St. W., Bradenton
Information: Call 756-0060 or visit www.cotcfamily.com.