By Brian Blackwell, Message staff writer
DEVILLE, La. (LBM) – On Oct. 2, the Louisiana College football team posted their first victory as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, but the following day scored an even bigger win as six players shared their newfound faith before classmates and friends during a special baptism service at Philadelphia Baptist Church, Deville, which also has a campus on Horseshoe Drive in Alexandria.
Coach Drew Maddox said he was overcome with emotion as he watched so many of his players, oneby-one, stir the baptistery waters. Fifteen other new believing wildcats were unable to attend the special service but have since been baptized at other churches or they plan to take part in baptism soon.
“It’s such a great feeling seeing these guys take such a bold step in their faith,” Maddox told the Baptist Message. “From the first day we meet as a team, I share with them my testimony and use others to also plant those seeds that hopefully will result in some of them accepting Christ. Anytime you meet the Lord it’s bigger than football.”
Jaden Conley, a freshman from Springfield, said he was convicted to give his life to Christ after hearing Maddox share his testimony during a team devotional.
“It’s like a thrill, a happy thrill,” Conley said moments after his baptism. “Coach Maddox told us we need to live out Christ every play and every day. I have since started reading the Bible and that has helped me to grow in my faith.”
La’Corey Buckley, a freshman from Center, Texas, turned to Christ during a worship service the team attended at Heart of Worship Church, Pineville. During his childhood, Buckley’s grandmother, Lodi, poured spiritual truth into him that finally bore fruit as a college student.
“I heard my Granny talk about Jesus all the time and it kind of hit home when I heard the Gospel presented at the worship service we attended,” he said. “My baptism was a way to set an example to other guys and I’m praying those who don’t know Jesus will accept Him. That’s my prayer.”
The players are among 40 students who have professed faith in Jesus during the fall semester through the “Awakening” worship services featuring evangelist Curtis Zackery of Franklin, Tenn. (Aug. 14-16); a campus fall revival featuring Don Wilton, pastor of First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, S.C., (Sept. 28-30) and the “Arrival” Baptist Collegiate Ministry weekly gathering led by Dave Edwards, founder of Dave Edward Speaks in Oklahoma City, Okla.
“We give God the glory for the continuation of His Holy spirit working through intentional ministry encounters since the beginning of this academic year at Louisiana College,” LC President Rick Brewer said. “Indeed, we pray for Kingdom advancement as we faithfully prepare graduates and transform lives in and out of the classroom. May a new Jesus generation rise up among our students at Louisiana’s Baptist university.”