Fort Worth, TX – This season, Jason Illian was one of the top 15 bachelors on ABC’s reality show “The Bachelorette.”
This season, Jason Illian was one of the top 15 bachelors on ABC’s reality show “The Bachelorette.” But his reason for being on the show was different than the other contestants.
“People often ask me if I went on the show to find love, and my answer is, ‘I went to show love, rather than to find love,'” Illian said.
Illian, a motivational speaker based out of Fort Worth, Texas, was eliminated during the second episode.
While he was on “The Bachelorette,” Illian took a stand for his beliefs and his commitment to purity. Prior to being on the show, Illian had only seen two episodes of “The Bachelor.”
“I came home one night after speaking on relationships, and NFL Quarterback Jesse Palmer was on ‘The Bachelor,'” Illian recounts. “Being an ex-football player, I thought, ‘This ought to be interesting to watch.’ While Palmer was on a group date, one of the girls asked him, ‘Why are you doing this show?’ His response was, ‘Well, I get tired of waking up every morning with a different girl, not knowing who she is or where I am.'”
That response irritated Illian. The next day, Illian was talking to a friend about the episode.
“My friend challenged me to send in my application if I thought I could do better,” Illian said. “To prove a point, I did. A couple of months later, I got a call from the producers. By that time, I had come to my senses and I said, ‘I’m not sure this will be a good fit for who I am.’ They asked me why, and I told them about my commitment to purity. They just said, ‘Let’s talk about it a bit more.’ So, we talked about it. Then, I started advancing through the rounds. Each time, I assumed I would get cut and they wouldn’t put me on the show. The next thing you know, I’m on a plane to New York. At that point, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! What have I done?'”
Looking back, Illian believes God was working in this experience and many seeds were planted.
“God has something to say about what we believe and about how we date, and He certainly has something to say about how we love one another. I was locked in a house with 14 other guys, and my belief system for the most part seemed so foreign to them. You didn’t get to see it on camera, but I had many opportunities to share with each one of these guys individually and just talk about why I believe what I do. I saw that without Christ, none of this makes sense. It says in Romans 8:28, ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.’ God will use whatever situation for His purpose — even a dating reality TV show.”
Growing up, Illian was raised in a Christian home and attended church regularly. However, he did not make a profession of faith until he was a teenager. He accepted Christ as his Savior while attending a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Football Camp.
“When I was 17 years old, I went to a FCA Football Camp and Reggie White was my huddle leader at that camp,” Illian said. “They invited a kid from Arizona to come up and pray for us. As he was praying for us, I realized he had something that I didn’t. I graduated at the top of my class and was an all-state athlete. I had all these blessings, but I realized it was never going to be enough. I was never going to make enough money or never going to be popular enough. At that point, I asked the Lord into my heart. That was the moment when everything changed in my life.”
A few years later, Illian was chosen to lead a FCA group while attending Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth.
“God asked me to lead, in kind of the same way He asked Moses to lead. In college, I got involved with FCA, but I really got involved just to be involved. I didn’t really want to lead. I didn’t want to take on any type of servant role. I just happened to be riding with the president of FCA down to a college event, and he said to me, ‘When I’m done leading FCA this year, I want to pass it to you.’ I told him that I wasn’t a good fit. But he said, ‘You really are a good fit. You need to get ready and pray about this.’
“At that time, the FCA group was maybe 35-40 people. When he passed it to me, God blessed me with a tremendous leadership team and the group bloomed to over 300 athletes. This was God’s training ground for me, as it gave me an opportunity to speak time and time again.”
During his college years, Illian was an NCAA Academic All-American and Captain of the TCU football team. In a list of many accomplishments, he was named one of the top 20 students in America by USA Today and was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship.
After graduating magna cum laude from TCU with a degree in international finance, Illian co-founded an innovative strategy firm that focuses on high-impact companies and their executives. Prior to starting the firm, he was the Vice President of Institutional and International Sales for a multi-billion dollar investment management firm.
Today, Illian divides his time between speaking to corporate executives and speaking to various college and young adult ministries around the country.
“I speak half of the time to corporate and business groups on leadership and relationships, and the other half to faith-based organizations. Speaking to business groups allows me to be around many people who need to hear the word of God and His principles,” Illian said.
“Sometimes, it’s a tougher standard in the business world because you have to earn their respect and establish yourself by being intelligent in terms of finance, economics, leadership or whatever you may be speaking on. Then, they will be more receptive of what you have to say on the faith-based side.
“Whether I’m speaking to a Christian group or a business group, the principles are still Biblical. It’s just whether you are quoting scriptures or not. It’s easy to talk about purpose and meaning by using scripture, but you can talk about it without using scripture — in hopes that it will open doors and people will ask more questions.”
While speaking in church settings, Illian is passionate about touching hearts and inspiring Christians to lead more purpose-driven lives.
“I really like giving people hope,” he said. “As people start to plug into their Creator and find their purpose in life, it is so much fun to watch. I really like to see the eyes of their heart open up and watch them begin to grasp the power that they already have. When somebody finally realizes that God has instilled this power in them to do great and amazing things beyond their imagination, it’s incredible. It’s a blessing to be part of that.”
For more information about Jason Illian, please visit www.jasonillian.com
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