NFL Quarterback Derek Carr’s Altar Conference Preaches Faith and Family to the Central Valley

Apr 27, 2019 | 2019 Articles, Ministry Musings, Sports, Steven Sanchez

by Steven Sanchez

Oakland Raider’s quarterback and Fresno State alum, Derek Carr, returned back home for his Altar Conference, an event that the official website states “is a weekend of dynamic worship and powerful teaching, provoking believers of all backgrounds into a lifestyle of radical pursuit and relentless devotion to Christ.” The event took place at the Save Mart Center from April 5-6 and was put on by Derek along with his business partner and former lead vocalist of the Christian metal band, For Today, Mattie Montgomery. It’s the first ever one, and it’s happening right after their team had been working with Fresno mayor, Lee Brand, to officially make April 5 a day of worship.

This was a year in the making, and it started when the three-time Pro Bowler and Mattie went to an event conference in Michigan, and he called him afterward with an epiphany saying he’d like to bring something like that to Fresno, the place he calls home. The former Bulldog is known as being a faithful man, and the road to get there was full of adversity. He made mistakes, partied, he was lost and empty in his young career going from high school into college and trying to only please himself and then found The Lord and has since been a Christian ever since.

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Derek Carr (left) and Mattie Montgomery (right)

Both nights were a combination of music and preaching. People all over the world ranging from Australia, Illinois, and Alabama, came to the event. The roster of national and internationally acclaimed speakers and artists were Francis Chan, an American preacher/teacher and former teaching pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California; Heidi Baker, a Christian missionary, itinerant speaker, and the CEO of Iris Global, a Christian humanitarian organization; Natasha Tameika “Tasha” Cobbs Leonard, an American gospel musician and songwriter and Grammy winner for Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance; Damon Thompson, owner of Damon Thompson Ministries; Steffany Gretzinger – Christian music singer-songwriter and ensemble vocalist with Bethel Music; Jeremy Michael Riddle, an American Christian musician, songwriter, and worship leader; Corey Russell, who serves on the senior leadership team of the International House of Prayer (IHOP- KC) and is the Director of the Forerunner Program at the International House of Prayer University (IHOPU); Nikki Mathis, founder & director of Summit Sounds; Bryan & Katie Torwalt, an American Christian music husband and wife duo from Sacramento, California.derek carr

We just got word from The Altar Conference that due to the success of the event, 12,000 in attendance with a sold-out crowd, they plan on doing more conferences in the future. Kings River Life was at the press conference on the morning of the first day of the event. We were there, and we had some questions for Derek and Mattie…

KRL: Your wanting to teach Fresno about the glory of our creator, but in terms of spirituality, where do you think the city stands in that regard? Where do you think it needs improvement, and what will it take to reach its potential?

That’s a big question mostly for God to answer. Fresno always felt welcoming, felt like family. When my son had his three surgeries at Valley Children’s Hospital, I’d walk the streets here and random strangers would come up to me and hug me and say we are praying for your son. I think Fresno has a great feel for community, the pastors in the city have done a fantastic job preaching togetherness, community, and love. We want to bring that to the city and intensify what the pastors here have been doing, and we just wanted to accelerate that.

KRL: How were you able to assemble a collection of people like this for the conference? Did you have relationships with them prior to the event?

Mattie: I already knew most of the people who are part of the event. Doing ministry and traveling throughout the years, that’s how I know them. Friends who knew friends, and affiliations so it worked out for us.

KRL: As a Raiders fan I have to ask, when you were drafted by the Raiders, needless to say they had a reputation for being rebels and known for their antics off the field. Being a faithful man before coming into the league, were there any doubts on your part coming onto the team and fitting in with them with their history?

Derek: No, not at all. That’s a place where I’d thrive. I just love people, no matter where I am, so going to the Raiders I wasn’t worried at all. If God wanted me to go there, then I’ll go there. If he wants me to go to Las Vegas, I’ll go there. Maybe the two places I’d probably not choose to live at first, but that’s where God chose me to go, and I’m happy with that. I couldn’t be happier. They are the most loyal fanbase in the world. No worries at all whatsoever.

KRL: You have a bright future with your career in football, but have you given much thought to your post-retirement life, and if so, is being a part of the church and doing these events like this a career you’d like to pursue once you’re done playing the game?

Derek: Of course, I’ll be preaching. This is just the beginning. After the NFL, I’m going to close for the Fresno Grizzlies if I can strike one minor leaguer out my life would be made. Then I’m going to play for the LA Lakers because they need help (laughs). I’ll be preaching my whole life, that’ll never stop.

KRL: Whether if it’s playing the game or being a family man, is there a go-to motto or passage that you use that helps inspire you to be the best player and husband and father that you can be?

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Derek: I don’t have just one, but with scripture it’d have to be Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” My grandpa was a minister his whole life, and when he was dying of cancer and he said to me, “Don’t let me being sick take your eyes off of God. He always has a plan for you, but for good and not evil and plans to give you a future and a hope.” That’s the scripture I hold on to.

With a motto, my brother David (former Fresno State and NFL quarterback) gave me a couple. One was, “Don’t be an idiot.” I had it written on my college backpack with the initials “D.B.A.I.,” and I lived by that. And the other one was “You’re going to be judged, you’re going to be criticized, ignore both because neither matter.” So as long as you’re focused on the goals at hand, it doesn’t matter what you say about me I’ll high five you either way. From here on out, it’s all about love and I live by that.

Mattie: Job 3:30 “He must become greater; I must become less.” In everything that I’m doing the singular thought in my life is that I want to see Jesus magnified and Mattie diminished. I want to make sure Jesus is apparent, evident, and clear in whatever it is that I’m doing.

For more information about The Altar Conference:

Steven Sanchez is a film graduate of UNLV. He’s a filmmaker, writer, photographer, and music manager. Obsessed with movies, comic books, and rock ‘n’ roll. A football fanatic, big fan of the Oakland Raiders. Enjoys reading and collecting vinyl records. If there’s a rock show in town more than likely he’ll be there. Loves his grandma’s home cooked meals. He has a twin sister and most people call him the pretty one. You can learn more about Steven on his YouTube channel and on Instagram @stevensanchez5807 photos and videos.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful article.


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