Member Spotlight: Rob Decker of Rise As Lions, Kingdom FIT

By Michael Miller  ·  May 19, 2023

Rob Decker’s suicidal jump out of a third-story window was broken by an awning, and the downward spiral in his life was broken by God’s grace.

After fits and starts in his relationship with God, Rob is now ministering to others in Colorado Springs, Colorado: working with addicts and those in recovery through Rise As Lions, performing personal training through Kingdom FIT, and becoming involved with other ministries that have “the same Kingdom vision.”

An updated edition of a book about his experiences, God’s Awning, is scheduled to be published this month.

“I want people to see we’re more alike than sometimes we think we are,” Rob said. “We have a lot of common ground.”

Rob crashes—twice

On May 28, 2007, dependent on alcohol and drugs and involved in a “toxic, codependent relationship,” Rob hurled himself through a window after being confronted by police on spurious rape charges. His foot clipped an awning on the way down and he hit the ground at approximately 25 mph. Instead of dying, he ended up with a shattered left arm, broken back, collapsed lung, and broken wrist.

Then, while he was recovering in the hospital, he was charged with rape and attempted murder of a former girlfriend. Doctors told him he would never walk again. He cried out to God, whom he felt then assured him that the charges would be dropped and that he would walk again.

Which is what happened.

As he got himself back into physical shape despite all the hardware in his body, Rob met Alyssa, who would become his wife. But he also suffered a setback on January 8, 2013, that led to his salvation. He got drunk again and rammed his car into a house. And then he started praying. In the car. Under the house.

“With perfect clarity, God showed me a picture, a video almost, of His goodness and His grace and His mercy in my life, and how he gave me my whole life back,” Rob said. “In that moment, God took the desire for drugs and alcohol from my life.”

An X-ray shows the hardware that allows Rob Decker to stand and move, although without any curve left in his back.

An X-ray shows the hardware that allows Rob Decker to stand and move, although without any curve left in his back. (Supplied photo)

He believes that he had had “true repentance, that my heart broke because I had chosen to continue to take a certain path” like a dog returning to its vomit (2 Peter 2:22).

From that day on, Rob looked at the cross instead of the vomit.

“The message is on the cross, the hope is in the cross,” he said. “For me, it’s the power of the cross, man. What God taught me and what he showed me was how to forgive, how to walk in obedience, what sacrifice looks like, what suffering really looks like. There’s no amount of suffering I could take in this life that is equivalent to what Christ took on that cross.”

Rise As Lions

Since those experiences, Rob said, he has been able to “pour the same kind of love that God has poured into me into other people.”

One way he does that is through a loosely organized ministry called Rise As Lions, a “hub of hope” in Colorado Springs that offers a variety of ways to connect with the recovery and mental health communities, Rob said.

“Being here in ‘the Springs’ for five years, I’ve been able to connect with recovery groups that are faith-based and mental health organizations that may not be faith-based, but they support what we do,” he said.

One way Rise As Lions has made those connections is through softball teams comprising men at various stages of recovery.

Rise as Lions logo

“When I first moved to Colorado Springs, I was constantly around drug and alcohol use,” he said. “I saw a lot of that happening in our community. I saw so much brokenness. So, God called me into the softball community to be a light. It started with recovery-based softball teams. We want to focus on the fact that, yeah, a lot of us are going through it, and we feel very alone, but let’s start recognizing that.”

Besides the softball teams, his friend and recovery cohort, Adam, is a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, so Rise As Lions also offers free MMA classes.

“Rise As Lions became a collaboration of people, brothers in Christ, that has resources and opportunities for people,” Rob said. “Together we rise as lions, like the Lion of Judah, the heart, the ferocity. He’s the lion, and we should be modeling ourselves after that.”

Fitness as outreach

The fitness part of Rob’s life happened as a healthy outlet after his fall as well as a way of rebuilding his body.

“Fitness was a good avenue for me for my temper and my struggles in this life, but God wanted to use it for much more,” Rob said.

Besides meeting Alyssa at the gym where they both worked for a while, he also began to sense a calling to use his fitness knowledge and previous experience as a personal trainer to reach others for Jesus.

That’s when Kingdom FIT (Faith In Training) was born.

Rob Decker lifts weights.

Rob Decker lifts weights. (Supplied photo)

“Kingdom FIT was kind of my first ministry,” Rob said. “It was a gym that I built in my garage. All the equipment I have was donated to me. God just blessed that situation.”

Doctors told Rob he’d be on pain medication for the rest of his life. (That was after they had told him he’d never walk again). Yet, as he started going to the gym and working out, his need for medication decreased and then disappeared. So did the notion that he would be on disability for the rest of his life.

As a personal trainer, Rob is able to help others on a mental level as well.

“Things happen in the brain when you take care of yourself,” he said. “There’s a different level of confidence. It gives you structure, gives you something to look forward to. The Lord says to take care of your temple,” he added, referring to 1 Corinthians 6:20.

Fitness also allows Rob to be involved with his young and growing family. He has four children, three of them with Alyssa and one from an earlier relationship.

But, in the end, it should be all about the Lord.

“My fitness gives God glory,” Rob said. “It’s a demonstration that you can come back from a lot of major injuries. You can dedicate your life to the Lord.”

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Michael Miller is editor of the Samaritan Ministries newsletter.