Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Simplicity can go a long way

Four columns in, I think it may be time to share the testimony of my faith and use it to explain how evangelizing does not always have to be a grueling task.

I grew up going through the motions in a Catholic household. When I was young, every step in my spiritual life seemed to filter through Sunday school. My class had its first reconciliation at the same time and its first communion at the same time. We were baptized as babies, and everything that followed seemed to happen because it was time for it to happen.

Everything I did as a Catholic I did because everyone else was doing it, not because I necessarily chose to do it. I believed in the gospel of Christ, but I never really made the decision myself to follow him.

The traditional style of Catholic mass didn’t help things. Much of the service was the exact same every week, and almost every prayer was memorized and recited by the congregation week in and week out.

To say I was going through the motions would be a huge understatement. I don’t particularly disown the beliefs of Catholicism, but when I was 16 years old, I realized I would be better suited associating with a different Christian religion if I wanted to start, much less maintain, my walk with Christ.

My friend Hunter drove me home from school one day when I was a sophomore in high school in spring 2005. As I was getting out of the car at my house, he invited me to a summer camp with his church (Capshaw Baptist in Harvest). I didn’t think much of the invitation, but for some reason I said, “Sure, that sounds good,” and took the sheet of information he had on the camp.

As the summer drew nearer, I remember looking over the schedule for the camp with Hunter.

“… and then every afternoon we have a quiet time for an hour,” I said. “I guess we can just read a book or listen to music then.”

“Um, I think we’re supposed to read the Bible during that time,” Hunter said while giving me an awkward look.

“Oh, yeah, I guess so.”

I didn’t even know what a quiet time was. I had never even been presented with the idea of spending time with God every day like that. Maybe I had been, and I just wasn’t paying attention enough to realize it, but I don’t remember being influenced to read the Bible daily when I was Catholic.

The first night of the camp, I was so taken aback by the passion everyone was singing with during worship that I didn’t know what to do. I had never seen a single hand rise during mass, and now I was watching my friend and many others raise both above their heads in joy of what was taking place.

Watching this throughout the week made me realize that I didn’t even understand the magnitude of what I believed in. It was a sudden shift in mindset where I finally understood the greatness of God coming to the earth in human form and willingly suffering a painful death just so his creation could spend eternity in heaven with him.

I decided to accept and trust Jesus Christ as my lord and savior on the night of June 1, 2005, and my life was changed forever.

Let me postscript this story by saying I believe there are many saved Catholics in this world, I just wasn’t one of them. I am a Southern Baptist now because I feel it is the best way for me to grow in my relationship with Christ.

The point of telling this story was not just to give my testimony, though. The focus is on what Hunter did, not what I did. All Hunter had to do was invite me to that summer camp, which set me up to receive Christ and save my soul. That’s all it took. He didn’t have to sit down and have a tough talk with me about religion, or set up some kind of intervention. All he did was say, “Hey, you want to come to this camp with me?”

Evangelistic efforts don’t always have to be complicated. Start off by inviting someone to church or a church activity. You never know how God will work, or how easy it may be to change someone’s life.

Jason Galloway is the sports editor of The Crimson White. His column runs bi-weekly on Mondays.

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