It was Easter Sunday 36 years ago when former San Diego Chargers defensive back Miles McPherson had an epiphany. In one day, he found God, stopped cold-turkey a drug habit that had spiraled out of control, and got back together with his girlfriend who has been his wife ever since.
His journey to become a youth pastor and then a senior pastor began while he was still playing in the NFL. McPherson shared his story with SI’s Kaitlin O’Toole.
“There were guys on the team who taught me the Bible,” he said. “We had Bible study every weekend and [in the] NFL, you have your days off on Tuesday, so we met every Tuesday for three hours.” Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow, Sr. and Sherman Smith were just some of the players he met with on a weekly basis.
Even though he’s not a football player anymore, his love of the sport has led him to mentor guys in the NFL since that time. “Now we have Andre Reed, who’s a Hall of Famer, and Tyrell Williams, Reggie Bush, Corey Liuget and Chase Daniel,” he said.
McPherson leads the Rock Church in San Diego, an organization with 200 employees across seven campuses. He's been hearing from people of all walks of life and giving them words of encouragement through this time in their lives.
“We have a lot of people dealing with the crisis in different ways. Some have lost their jobs and some are employing people or the businesses are closing,” he said. “The main thing I’m trying to encourage them is, one, don’t ask, why this is happening as much as, ‘God, what do you want me to do?’”
As an example, those in his church are doing outreach in the community, refurbishing N95 masks, collecting personal protective equipment for hospitals, and helping feed nurses. For McPherson, doing things for other people gets you focused on your purpose, rather than just worrying about yourself.