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Christian Union: The Magazine
February 28, 2022

Christian Union Ministry Director Inspires Football Players 

By Tom Campisi, Managing Editor

Noah Crane presented a game plan for life at the Big Green’s pre-season football camp and during fall semester Bible courses.

In the summer, Christian Union’s ministry director at Dartmouth was honored to lead chapel services for approximately fifteen players at camp after being invited by coach Buddy Teevens. 

Crane’s focus was on answering the question, “Who Is Jesus?” and what it means to unite your life with His. A former college baseball player at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a former high school and college coach, he easily relates to Dartmouth’s players.

1 A DartFootball JeffersonBobby Jefferson, Dartmouth '22

“It's an easy connection for me because I understand the struggles of a student athlete,” said Crane, who founded and ran two collegiate baseball organizations in New England in the last decade. “I can speak their language and relate to the unique challenges of playing a varsity sport while trying to be a student too.”

The pre-season excitement was palpable for the Big Green after not playing in 2020 due to COVID-19. Dartmouth responded with a 9-1 record and a share of the  Ivy League Championship with Princeton.

During the season, Bobby Jefferson ’22, Cameron Baller ’23, and Mack Ayers ’24 were three of the key leaders for a Bible course hosted by Christian Union Vox at Dartmouth.

Studying through books of the Bible, Baller said, allows Him to grow in his faith so he can impact others for the kingdom: “In addition to personal growth, I choose to be a part of the Christian Union Bible course because of the relationships that I can build with my teammates. It gives some of my teammates and me some space to have fellowship with each other outside of the football arena.”

Baller, a kicker/punter from Argyle, Texas, pointed to Isaiah 40:29-31 (He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…) as a Scripture that best exemplified his vision for being a Christian athlete.

1 A DartFootball Ayers editedMack Ayers, Dartmouth '24Ayers, a linebacker from Elizabethville, Pennsylvania, attended Bible course each week because his faith is a priority. “Jesus is the most important thing in my life,” said Ayers. “He is the reason I am in the position I am in - to be playing football at such a prestigious school. The course allows me to learn from others and see new faith perspectives. My understanding of Scripture has increased throughout my time with Noah.”

Crane noted two ways that Baller, Jefferson, and Mack have exhibited leadership: by inviting others to Bible course and by their ongoing commitment to coming each week.

“Their attendance and participation is always strong and that sets a strong example for their teammates,” he said. “They have also consistently invited others to attend as well as encouraging people to show up with more regularity. Both of those things seem minor, but are so crucial in creating continuity and authenticity.”

That continuity started early on with Crane’s devotionals at pre-season camp.

Oct. 16, 2021; Durham , New Hampshire, USA;  during a non conference matchup between Dartmouth College and New Hampshire at the Wildcat Stadium. The Big Green won the game 38-21. Photo by Foley-Photography.Cameron Baller, Dartmouth '23“The guys were extremely thankful that he was willing to take time out of his Sunday to invest in us,” Baller said. “The services gave us a chance to take a step back from our busy pre-season schedule and spend time with the Lord. It was a great opportunity for us to grow closer to God and refocus our attention and thankfulness for Him.”

Ayers echoed those sentiments.

“It meant a lot that Noah cared enough about my teammates and me - that he came in on Sundays to preach,” said Mack Ayers ’24. “Those services were invaluable to us. Having that time to just focus on our faith was very meaningful to us.”

And that focus on faith, along with the example set by Crane, helped kick off a special football season.

RELATED: Want to go deeper in your faith? Click here to receive a free download of Christian Union’s "Seeking God Lifestyle” Bible Course Manual.