Gian Paul Gonzalez tells Students to Go “All In” for Jesus

Gian Paul Gonzalez tells Students to Go “All In” for Jesus

Gian Paul Gonzalez, the founder and executive director of Hope & Future and well-know motivational speaker, spoke at CSU chapel Thursday, February 3. Gonzalez shared his “All in” message with CSU students and his personal story of how God used him.

Meet Gonzalez

Gonzalez is known for inspiring the New York Giants during their Super Bowl win. He has been featured on ESPN, and has spoken for the NBA, NFL, English Premiere League, MLS and Fortune 500 organizations. He was an NCAA First Team All-American forward from Montclair State University and played in the NBA Summer League. He turned down professional basketball contracts to continue working with at-risk youth. Gonzalez dedicates his time to use his experience in athletics and physical fitness to inspire young people in inner-city public schools and juvenile jails.

How CSU Impacted Gonzalez

When Gonzalez was young, he dreamed of playing basketball. After failing to get on the team and struggling with his grades, Gonzalez felt lost. However, after attending Teen Leadership Conference at Clarks Summit University, his life began to change. During the conference, CSU’s Mike Show confronted him by saying, “You have to make a choice whether you are going to follow Christ or not. But you can’t go halfway.” Gonzalez realized he had to give everything to God if he wanted to truly live for Him.

When he went back to school, Gonzalez kneeled by his locker every day and prayed. After two years he was playing basketball and getting straight A’s in his classes. One of the best memories of high school was when he had helped pass out Bibles to every single student at graduation.

“All In” with the New York Giants

When Gonzalez got an invitation to play professional basketball, he turned down the contract to follow God’s calling for his life to work with youth. He started playing basketball at local juvenile prison to build relationships and share the gospel with young people. He even invited his high school friends who had begun their own basketball careers. He became a high school teacher. After hearing about Gonzalez’ work with the young people, the New York Giants invited Gonzalez to speak. Gonzalez was excited but terrified of this amazing opportunity. “We think that when we serve God,” he says, “we will be on top of the world. But we’re not. We’re scared.”

Gonzalez spoke about Joseph and how he wasn’t “about talk, but action.” He told the professional football team, “The thing about being all in, is that it’s not about talk. It’s about action.”

Not Just a Slogan

After speaking to the team, Gonzalez was asked for an interview with Fox News. Soon, he was being interviewed by many different news stations and podcasts. However, the fame faded, and Gonzalez learned that “Being the great person God wants you to be won’t go viral.”

Gonzalez was invited to speak to multiple teams and organizations, including the Walmart headquarters in Arkansas. Gonzalez says. “See, the idea of being ‘All in’ to God is not a new one.” He explains that the idea goes all the way back to Cain and Abel. Abel brought his very best to God, and Cain was jealous of his brother. Abel was all in for God, but Cain wasn’t. Some people didn’t understand what it really means to be “All in” for God. “It’s not just a slogan, but a way of life.”

Final Challenge

Gonzalez challenged CSU students to be all in for God and ask, “Lord, what are you asking me to be all in for?” Chloe Burhans, a CSU volleyball and basketball athlete, says, “He had a great mix of sharing his real-life experiences, which was different from normal speakers. As an athlete I really related to the message.”

It won’t be easy. But Gonzalez says, “If it scares you to death, it means you’re on the right track.”


Gian Paul Gonzalez will be a featured speaker at Teen Leadership Conference 2022! Enjoy the early bird rate to this conference for high school students and youth leaders through June 1. Learn more about Teen Leadership Conference by clicking here.


Chloe Burhans shows a chip with CSU’s logo given by Gonzalez to help students remember to go “all in” for God.


—by Ainsley Hall, Communications major

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