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Wednesday, December 28, 2011
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Alex Ross doesn’t have a fear of flying but he did have a fear of dying without Jesus on his side.
While returning home to Kansas City, Mo., for Thanksgiving break, the airplane Ross was riding in almost touched the ground with one of its wings as it landed.
Ross, a former left-handed pitcher for the Lipscomb Bison in 2010 and 2011, works for the athletic department while finishing up his degree. While attending a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting in December he decided it was time to be baptized.
“I had a great flight, but when we landed the left wing about touched the ground,” Ross said. “After that, I thought if that plane had crashed and there was some reason I had died I wouldn’t have been saved. Whether or not I believed in Jesus Christ, I hadn’t been baptized.”
Ross, who played two seasons for Maple Woods Community College, the same school that produced Albert Pujols, was attracted to Lipscomb due to its emphasis on Christian values.
“I had a friend, Neal Roe, who had helped me out a lot with my spiritual development at home,” Ross said. “I had him come to visit Lipscomb with me. I went to Arkansas-Little Rock and Harding before I came to Lipscomb.
“I didn’t know anything about the school except that the baseball team had beaten Georgia in the NCAA Tournament in 2008 and had a pretty storied baseball program dating back to the NAIA days. The first day I came on campus I knew this was where I wanted to be.”
Roe graduated from Harding where he played football for two seasons.
“Neal has been there for me through thick and then through middle school and high school,” Ross said. “I didn’t really know anything about church until I was in the sixth grade. I was always busy playing sports.
“Going to church wasn’t a regular thing. And in the Midwest there isn’t a church on every other block like there is here.”
In middle school and high school he attended church on regular basis but in the summers, baseball took over his weekends.
“I’ve had my ups and downs where I felt really good about things and I have felt sad about things,” Ross said. “I learned a little bit. It was a place that I enjoyed, but I didn’t stick with it.”
Ross responded to the message presented by Brent High, associate athletic director for spiritual formation. But Ross has also been influenced by his girlfriend Mollie Mitchell, one of the spiritual leaders for the Lady Bison softball team, and her family as well as Lipscomb baseball coach Jeff Forehand.
“I didn’t really understand that there is a difference between a good person and a Godly person,” Ross said. “Each year I have been here I have learned more and more through Bible classes and chapels.
Mitchell had been urging Ross to be baptized on several occasions, but each time something seemed to be holding him back.
“I had been talking about with Mollie and reading the Word with Brent,” Ross said. “Believing in God is a great thing but to really confirm that you have to be baptized.
“It’s the biggest decision anybody will ever make. I had been waiting and waiting. It was very important for me to make the decision.”