ABILENE TEXAS—Grace Baptist Church’s evangelical team faithfully preaches the gospel to anyone who will listen—but the team’s members say they were pressured by the church leaders to pursue local softball prodigy Clay Stadler, 26, to join the church. After persistent outreach efforts, Ellis finally responded to the gospel call and was baptized last week.
Stadler, who played minor league baseball for Texas’s farm system and coached a girls softball team to a state championship, told sources that he’s “really excited” about getting to know Jesus—but he is starting to see signs that the church only wanted him for his exceptional softball skills.
“Grace has some excellent discipleship programs that are helping me to understand more about the Bible,” the 6’4″, 200-pound clean-up hitter reporters. “But they highly recommended I skip out on them in order to make it to the weekly softball practice. Plus, the minute I was baptized, the pastor gave me a big hug and immediately put a Grace Softball jersey and hat on me.”
Stadler further stated that while the church rejoiced over his conversion, they didn’t even try to present the gospel to his wife. The church claimed to reporters that it was unaware Stadler had a wife, as she is not eligible for the men’s softball team.
“Then over the weekend I tried to sign up to help with a home remodeling job for a local family in need, but the pastor sat me down and told me I couldn’t do that kind of work because he couldn’t risk me getting injured,” the slugger added.
While he plans to stick things out for a while, Ellis said if the church is unable to support both his spiritual growth as well as his affinity for softball, he may have to consider taking his talents to Hill Street Methodist next season.