RV Brown is not your typical evangelist. His stature and powerful voice moves people to action when he speaks. He is excited about Jesus Christ and the impact He has on your life, if you allow it. RV wants everyone to know about our Savior and has obediently taken on the role of an “every day evangelist.” He meets each day with boldness knowing that God will use him to minister to someone through the course of his day. He may be directed to someone at the gym, youth at a school, professional athletes, or parents who need encouragement. RV is more than a motivational speaker; he is a servant of the Lord on a mission to empower the Body of Christ and harvest souls for His Kingdom.
Life in the South
RV grew up in South Carolina surrounded by 16 siblings and two loving, devoted parents. Despite his large and ever-growing family, God always provided for RV and his brothers and sisters. His father worked in a factory by day and plowed the fields of their family farm by night. RV and his siblings would help on the farm and saw much of their food come from the very place they worked. He said, “I am what I am because of my dad and Jesus.” RV shared that the family dinner table was the greatest time during his childhood. His mother and father would pray over the family and the meal each night. RV described the blessings he was able to witness as his mother prayed over the food: “My mama was cooking in these little pots and the food never ran out.”
RV explained that his father taught him three things: “how to pray, how to farm, and how to survive.” A day wouldn’t go by without hearing his mother praying for him and each of his siblings by name, or his father sharing Jesus with his family. His mother would pray, “Lord, you chastise RV, have RV do what You want him to do.” RV said, “I’m doing exactly what they prayed.” His siblings taught him to work hard for what he wanted, how to share, and the importance of being a part of a family. His older brother introduced him to little league football, which led to RV lettering in five sports in high school. Upon graduating, he did not receive a scholarship so he went to work for a few years before a friend encouraged him to go to college.
Living Out His Plan
RV received his degree in Special Education from South Carolina State University, where he also played football all four years. He married his lovely wife, Frances, the summer before his third year and dedicated his life to Jesus several months later. RV became involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on campus and began challenging teammates and coaches to give their lives to Jesus. He said, “I realized that [my school campus] was my Jerusalem.” RV had a fire for Christ from the time he was saved and felt the urgency to share the Gospel with anyone that would listen.
He developed a passion for people, especially athletes, which led him to a seven-year teaching career in Tennessee. As a teacher for middle school and then high school, RV had the opportunity to coach football, basketball, wrestling, and baseball. He learned that many of the kids he coached in the inner city schools did not have a father in their life, and he was often able to share his faith without breaking school rules. RV felt compassion for his players, taking a special interest in their lives. He helped them learn discipline, routine, and accountability while being a part of a team. RV positively impacted their lives and, at times, even filled in as a father figure and friend to these young men. RV said, “I took a school that didn’t hardly win anything and won [multiple championships] because of weight training and making those kids believe in themselves.” RV witnessed several of his players move on to do great things with their lives and even play professional football.
In 1985 the Holy Spirit revealed to RV the calling of evangelism on his life. He began traveling to preach at various places on the weekend. He loved coaching and teaching, but he realized that he needed to make a choice. “Am I going to serve God full time or am I going to be a coach?” RV said. In his last year as a teacher, RV took on the challenge of teaching in an alternative school. The kids placed there had been expelled from regular school. He had the opportunity to impact these young troubled lives and used it as a chance to share God with them. RV did Bible studies and prayed with the students. One of the students got in trouble and was expelled from the alternative school as well. When the officials were going to take him out of the classroom, the student looked at RV and said, “I got into trouble because you didn’t have prayer with us Friday.” RV said, “That’s what launched my ministry.”
God’s Call, RV’s Answer
In 1988, RV knew it was time to pursue ministry full time. Most people tried to talk him out of it, and he even questioned his calling. He spent time in prayer seeking the Lord, often on an eight-foot rock behind his house. One morning, RV explained, “The sun came up and it was shining in the trees, and I could feel the heat of the sun on my eyes. I looked up through the tree limb and there were three beams of light and steam coming up from the water.” RV saw the three beams of light as a representation of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God had answered RV and he knew what to do next. He said, “I’ll never look back, God.” He resigned from his position and listened to God’s call.
RV founded Outreach To America’s Youth (O.T.A.Y.) that same year. He was inspired by the kids in the alternative school and wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people. The youth are the future of this world and RV’s motto is “Reach 1.” If he can reach just one child, he is making a difference. With O.T.A.Y., RV has ministered to the youth through churches, prisons, retreats, camps, schools, conferences, and college campuses. O.T.A.Y. offers training to equip young people to make wise choices. RV’s bold message and extra large muscular physique grab the youth’s attention and respect. “Through motivational speaking and visual presentations, students are challenged to evaluate their perception of issues they are facing today” (www.rvbrown.com). “We talk about drugs, attitude, respect, honoring parents, and graduation,” RV said. He walks in wearing a cap and gown to show kids they are in school to get an education and graduate.
In over 20 years of ministry RV has had the opportunity to preach the Good News in 48 states and 43 countries. His robust build and inspirational messages have also given RV the platform to minister and encourage several college and NFL players, including former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Derrick Brooks, Michael Pittman, Dexter Jackson, Roman Oben, and Chartric Darby. RV has shown these men that they can be physically strong and still be a Christ follower. “Look at me. Do I look like a little softy?” RV said. “I want them to see its okay to be excited about Jesus.” RV portrays a mighty man of God with humility and inner strength. This speaks volumes to anyone who is timid about letting go for God. Some of the athletes impacted by RV wrote personal testimonies of their experiences in RV’s book, Step Up to the Plate, Dad!
Step Up to the Plate, Dad!
RV has a special calling to teach and encourage men and, in particular, dads. After one of his speaking engagements at Polk Correctional Institution, RV was inspired to write his book. A huge, tough-looking young man came up to him and, as his eyes swelled up with tears, he told RV how he never had a father in his life. RV said, “I went home that night and all I could see was that boy’s face and him crying. So I got up and started writing.” The book focuses on dads because RV began thinking about all the hurting kids he encountered throughout his years of coaching and ministering. Many of these directionless young men had no influence from a father figure in their life. “Dad has to put his hand print into the kids’ lives,” RV explained. He wants dads to see their role as God intended, as the leader of the family.
DAD on the cover of his book stands for “Dad with an Attitude to Defend the family.” RV teaches men to be the spiritual leader of their household, train their children up in the Lord, love their wife, and be self-sacrificing. “The whole thrust of this book is to show men what God can do in your life if you step up to the plate,” he explained. This is a wonderful tool for young men, potential fathers, and parents alike. In his book, RV shared that if his own father had not lived righteously before him, praying with him, it would have been hard for him to receive the truth of Jesus Christ. He drives home the point that dads should not take their role in the family for granted because the impact of their love and correction in a child’s life can be eternal.
Another large focus of RV’s ministry is the importance of the family unit. He imparted another of his dynamic acronyms for the word FAMILY – “Father Accept the Mother, Influence the Life of the Young.” He stated, “We’ve got to get people to realize that we have to bring the family back together. Before there was church, God created family.” RV said there are three pieces of advice he shares with parents on raising godly children. The first is prayer and agreement. The parents need to be in prayer together and be in agreement on the way they raise their children (see Amos 3:3). Children also need to see commitment. RV and his wife demonstrate this for their two children. The second is love and affection. RV explained that children need their parents to express love to them through hugs and kisses. Your affection towards your children builds self-esteem and teaches them loving habits. The third is to have meal time together. This should be a time where you talk to your kids about what’s happening in their lives so you are continually staying connected to them. RV said after dinner, the plates can be pushed to the middle of the table and the Bible brought out for devotions together. “The Bible has to be a part of the family…. If you do these three things, your family will change,” RV said.
Why So Bold?
RV’s enthusiasm for the Lord and the fire in his eyes for Jesus is so apparent when you meet him. He takes any ordinary situation as an opportunity to minister and share Christ. Some might think, “Why so bold, RV?” Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV) says “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace in time of need,” and Hebrews 13:6 (NKJV) says, “So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” There are several other scriptures that talk of a believer’s boldness in Christ. RV takes every word in the Bible as Truth. He doesn’t try to be bold … he is bold. RV knows his authority in Christ and the Word overflows from his spirit.
RV spends each and every morning with the Lord in prayer. He makes it a habit to memorize at least one verse a week to continually renew his mind and readily share a word with someone. He enjoys spending time with his family and fishing. What has RV caught more of fish or men? He exclaimed, “I’ve caught more men than fish because sometimes you go out there and don’t catch anything!” RV makes a point to “catch” a man or woman for Jesus every time he speaks, since each time Jesus spoke something happened. RV believes “if you speak in [the Lord’s] presence and the anointing of God is on your life something ought to happen. Somebody should be able to come and rededicate themselves.”
He makes evangelism look so easy. Why? RV explained, “What makes me the man I am is I give God total access to my mind, total access to my heart, and total access to my spirit.” He also quoted 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV), “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” RV speaks with excitement and power proclaiming to all that God loves you and He can use you for His Kingdom. Jesus is Lord. Glory!