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Softball trio makes ultimate commitment in baptism

Tuesday, December 13, 2011
by Mark McGee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanessa Medina had put an important decision on the back burner, but the time finally came when she could no longer delay her decision.

Brent High, associate athletic director for spiritual formation, spoke to Fellowship of Christian Athletes members during their weekly meeting in the Hall of Fame room at Allen Arena. He compared the “Pledge of Allegiance” to the flag of the United States to pledging allegiance to God and Jesus Christ through the act of baptism.

“I wanted to take the pledge,” Medina said. “I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest. I wanted to take the step right then. I could not have walked out of there without doing it and been O.K. with myself.”

Medina liked the academic reputation of Lipscomb. She also appreciated the fact that it was a small school with a small student-teacher ratio. But she had not attended church regularly since the fourth grade. The spiritual life Lipscomb could offer was not high on her checklist.

“We prayed at home regularly,” Medina said. “It was always there in our house.”

Medina had been thinking about baptism for at least a year. She wanted her family in California to be present. However she knew at the FCA meeting that she could not walk out of the room without committing her life to Christ.

“I had devoted my life to God a long time ago. It was something between God and me.  But it wasn’t an outward pledge. Now I have made the outward pledge.”

Medina, a redshirt junior on the Lipscomb softball team, was joined by two of her teammates in making a commitment to be baptized. After the meeting redshirt freshman Ashley Anderson and sophomore Kristen Sturdivant also decided to make the biggest decision of their lives.

All three were baptized by High the first week of December at Woodmont Hills Church of Christ.

Anderson admitted that the Bible had been confusing to her, but that the message she heard at the FCA meeting simplified the process for her.

“I thought it was all about rules,” Anderson said. “But Brent pretty much got straight to the point. He said it was about loving God and loving others.

“God makes this available for everybody.  When Brent made it as a simple as that, it was kind of easy to make the decision.”

Anderson grew up going to church, but was not overly involved in the services and activities. She knew about the Bible, but did not have a depth of knowledge of the book.

When she was choosing which college to attend the spiritual aspects of Lipscomb were not a major influence on her decision.

“I did, and I didn’t, think about the spiritual part of it,” Anderson said. “It wasn’t the first thing on my mind. I was deciding between Lipscomb and another school. But everything was perfect when I came here."

Anderson was also influenced by teammates Mollie Mitchell and Whitney Kiihnl who conduct weekly devotionals. Ashley has also been influenced by her younger sister, Ana, who went through a reaffirmation baptism earlier this year.

“It has been really good to have Ana and players on the team to help hold me accountable,” Anderson said. “Kristen and I talked last year about learning more. We had talked about it a lot and it just kind of happened.”

Sturdivant, like Anderson, did not grow up attending church on a regular basis. Her mother had a Church of Christ background while her father was a Methodist. Her brother, Austin, who was baptized three years ago, attends a Baptist church. To top it all off Sturdivant attended a Catholic high school.

“I was gone every weekend during the summer playing competitive softball,” Sturdivant said. “It was hard to be consistent going to church.”

Sturdivant was no stranger to Bible classes due to her high school training. Her grandmother had also taken her to the Church of Christ.

“I was excited to get back into Bible classes when I came here,” Sturdivant said. “I think chapel is interesting. I love going to the Tuesday chapels in the arena because the whole school comes together.

“I knew Lipscomb was a Church of Christ school. The first week I was here I realized God had a plan for me. Like Ashley, I was also looking at another school, but it didn’t work out. God sent me here for a reason.”

Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.