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By Jonathan Howe

Once again, the goal with this list is not to inflate the egos of those named, but to make you, the readers of, aware of the dozens and dozens of Christian leaders who are advancing the gospel in their respective spheres of influence. And while some pundits may sit back and claim Christianity is declining or dying, these leaders are clearly making a statement that it will not happen on their watch. They are passionate about Christ Jesus, His gospel, and taking it to the ends of the earth. The qualifications are quite simple: under 40 and making a Kingdom difference.

However, this month I put a spin on things. My family was enthralled by the Olympics. Even when we knew the outcome to some events, we still tuned in nightly. So this month features six Olympians and their faith.

Now without further ado, here is this month’s young influencer list:

  • Maya DiRado (@MayaDiRado)Swimming – Maya was a new face to many at the Rio games. But she made her mark with four medals for Team USA. This interview with Christianity Today does a great job highlighting her faith.
  • David Boudia (@davidboudia)Diving – Just prior to the Games, Boudia released Greater Than Gold, a book chronicling his faith story. He also brought home a pair of medals from Rio.
  • Gabby Douglas (@gabrielledoug)Gymnastics – Gabby added a gold medal to her trophy case in the team all-around. She’ll also need to add a chapter to her book Grace, Gold, and Glory.
  • Allyson Felix (@allysonfelix) Track & Field – Felix became the most decorated track and field athlete in American history this month. But last month she was featured in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes magazine.
  • Gwen Jorgensen (@gwenjorgensen)Triathlon – Gwen won gold in the triathlon, meaning she’s in better shape than all of us. And she does it all with God as her focal point.
  • Michelle Carter (@ShotDiva)Track & Field – Michelle took home gold in the shot put and then got a shout out on Instagram from her church and Priscilla Shirer.

Please continue to pray for these individuals and their ministries. If you’d like to nominate a young influencer for consideration, let me know on Twitter: @Jonathan_Howe or in the comments section below. For previous young influencer lists, click here.

Jonathan Howe serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources, the host and producer of Rainer on Leadership and SBC This Week, and the managing editor of Jonathan writes weekly at on topics ranging from social media to websites and church communications. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Howe.

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