Though Chad Anders wasn’t searching for Christ when he enrolled at Howard Payne University, he says Christ was waiting for him there.
“You can come to HPU and find things you never even knew you were looking for,” says the senior and four-year member of the Yellow Jacket baseball team.
Chad didn’t attend church regularly growing up. After the death of his stepfather during Chad’s freshman year at HPU, he found himself even farther from God.
“I focused on what would make me happy,” he says. “I turned to a lot of different worldly pleasures for fulfillment. I was never satisfied and never happy. I knew there had to be more to life.”
Following Chad’s sophomore year, his brother, Robert Anders, who serves as assistant baseball coach at HPU, urged him to connect with Athletes in Action. AIA is a Christian organization with the mission of helping “sports-minded people think and live Biblically at the intersection of sport and Christianity.”
A team from AIA was headed to Rochester, New York, for the summer and Chad seized upon the opportunity to play baseball in a new locale.
“The thing about Athletes in Action is that it incorporates discipleship and ministry into athletics,” Chad says. “Every day we would wake up and do discipleship training. We would be in the Word for about an hour or more, breaking down passages.”
Chad says his heart was hardened from past experiences but, about a week into the camp, he had a tough conversation with himself.
“I could either be the cool guy, play baseball and blow everything else off,” he says, “or I could open my heart and mind and see what God is trying to do in my life. So I did that.”
A few weeks later, on July 16, 2015, he fully committed his life to Christ.
“From that moment, I started living for Him,” Chad says.
When he arrived back on the HPU campus, Chad immersed himself in furthering the Kingdom of God. He now serves as president of the campus’ Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is on the Baptist Student Ministries leadership team through which he ministers to other athletes on campus. Some are in the same place, spiritually, he was a few years ago.
“I tell them they don’t understand what they’re missing,” he says. “There’s so much more to life. The answer to the questions they have is Christ.”
Chad says he’s been blessed to have a lot of deep conversations with other athletes on campus.
“If you’re not actively pursuing Christ every day, you’re going to be longing for that,” he says. “I feel like as long as I plant the seeds of faith, God will grow them.”
HPU, Chad says, is a great place to grow in faith.
“Without HPU and without the BSM and FCA, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” he says. “You can come to Howard Payne and do four years here and leave the same person you were. Or you can come with an open heart and open mind and let God work through you and leave the exact person He wants you to be.”
Coby Sauce serves as Director of Media Relations for Howard Payne University.
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