Jake Hurrell

Jake Hurrell
Long Snapper

Even though I grew up in a church-going family, I wouldn’t say that I was actually a Christ-follower until around my junior year of high school. I’d heard about an FCA meeting after football practice, and they were going to have pizza. I was pretty hungry and I wanted some pizza, so I went to the meeting.

Meeting the people there and being around spiritual leaders really opened my eyes and my heart to see that with Jesus in my life, there’s a lot more that I can experience than the average life that I was living at the time. Although that was when I first became a Christian, I’ve definitely grown more in knowing God during college.

One of the biggest changes I’ve seen in my life is that instead of just knowing that there’s a God and knowing that He’s in control, something inside of me caught fire when I realized that I really want to experience a relationship with Him, instead of just going through the motions. That’s impacted my life and everyday activities, especially in how I treat people. It’s kind of crazy how once you truly accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, everything about your perspective starts to change. I’m not anywhere close to where I need to be, but it’s a process that’s been going on for a few years now.

Without a doubt, sports has helped strengthened my faith. Sometimes sports can distract you from God, but for me it’s hard to not see God’s blessings on me when I’m playing in front of 90,000 people. I feel that God put me here for a purpose, and it’s my job right now to work as hard as I can and bring Him honor in the way I compete.

Spending time with other Christian athletes is kind of the glue in my relationship with God. The athletes I’ve met through Christian organizations on campus help keep me accountable and have really helped strengthen my faith.

It took me a while to feel comfortable talking about my faith with other people. But in the last semester or two, I‘ve had this confidence knowing that I have a platform because of my sport, and I’m here for a reason, so why not share my story? Naturally, if you’re a football player for a high-level team, you tend to have people who want to hear what you have to say, so why not tell them the greatest message you can tell? 
   
Photos by Stephanie Graflage, University of Missouri