Hoops for Coops
Doing a little “Spring cleaning” in the office, we stumbled across some files for the “Hoops for Coop” scholarship fund, which was created to honor Jim Cooper after his passing in May of 2012. It would afford all children the opportunity to enjoy a positive sports experience with a focus on expert instruction, strong character, and faith development. All three of these areas were exemplified in the life of Jim. His attention to detail made him an expert in anything he put his hands to. His character was strong, and his faith grew daily as he walked with Jesus.
Somewhere along the way, you too encountered the life of Jim Cooper. He was a humble and strong man who loved Jesus above all else. He was a friend to all, a best friend to me. So I want to take you on a journey of reflection on God’s faithfulness and the legacy Jim’s life left behind. (Video of Jim’s Legacy: HERE)
“As water reflects the face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.” Proverbs 27:19
I had just moved to Circleville, NY from Austin, Texas; a bit of a culture shock. I first met Jim at Circleville Church where my father was the pastor. We both loved the outdoors and sports: hunting, fishing, baseball and the like. It was only natural to become friends. Our friendship grew throughout middle and high school. I was fortunate to have him as a friend, because I was very much an introvert at the time. I went away to college, he stayed home to work in the family business. As we grew and began our adult lives, we spent less time together, but our wives and our annual hunting trip kept us connected. As the years went by we both grew in our relationship with Jesus. Jim was pursuing ordination and leading worship in his church. God was developing my love for this community and sports ministry. Together with a group of friends, we met and prayed weekly. Little did we know that God was preparing us for what was to come. Jim was diagnosed with cancer. My brother Greg and I were called to start 12th Rock, a sports ministry that used camps, leagues and missions to spread the Gospel.
12th Rock facilitated its first camp the summer of 2011, the year Jim was diagnosed. During his busiest time of year (as a paving contractor), Jim and his family took a week off to help. Jim led worship, belting out songs like Chris Tomlin’s “Our God.” The lyrics still resonate with me today. I will always remember Jim saying, “Whatever it takes to advance the Gospel, we’ll be there.”
Jim loved Jesus more than anything else and he led his family to do the same. He even came to the winter camp in 2012, and found us a worship leader for the summer of 2012 before the Lord took him home in May.
A turning point in my life took place at the grave side, that I dug with my brother. I made the decision that life is too short to not do something that impacts eternity.
In 2012, your financial gift to the “Hoops for Coop” fund in memory of Jim’s life jump-started the ministry of 12th Rock. Just like the feeding of the 5,000, God has taken those “loaves and fish” and multiplied them in the last five years of ministry. Jim’s legacy of passion and sacrifice, to reach others with the good news of Jesus Christ is being fulfilled each day in and through 12th Rock and countless others whom he touched. Jim had an eternal perspective. He invested his time, talents, and resources in what lasts forever.
Jim’s investment has continued to pay eternal dividends through 12th Rock. Over the last five years we’ve reached more than 5,000 kids and their families with the Gospel. God has brought us several key team members to help us accomplish this work: individuals, churches, and strategic partners (like Word of Life). I am humbled daily at what God can do.
This summer God blessed us with a piece of property in Middletown, NY. We believe God has this property in mind to be the home of a state of the art sports complex, multiplying the impact of the Gospel once again.
Learn more about the impact your gift made for the Gospel at: www.12throck.org.
God continues to use Jim’s family to further His Kingdom here in Orange County, NY. The picture to the left is me and Jim’s oldest son, Ace, at the new 12th Rock property (Ace had just delivered a piece of machinery that we were using for the site cleanup). I praise God for the opportunity to know Jim and I look forward to celebrating with him someday in heaven, as we reflect on the goodness and the grace of Jesus. In the meantime, we have work to do here on earth.
We serve the Almighty God, Who can do more than we can ask or imagine. It is my hope that this letter has encouraged your spirit. To God be all the glory!
May it be our heart’s desire to reflect Jesus, following Jim’s humble example,
Co-Founder 12th Rock Ministries