The first day of classes consisted of nervous energy and excitement. All sixty-four newly bonded Fellows walked into the classroom to be faced by a display of Louisville Slugger bats and our generous co-founder John White. While some of us felt the urge to impress Mr. White, we were quickly put at ease and proceeded to listen to his speech on the process of making a major league baseball bat and how that applies to our faith and experience at Impact 360 Fellows.
First, he invited the Fellows to brainstorm their thoughts on the making of an MLB bat with the handy whiteboards at each classroom table. My own table came up with:
1) finding and cutting down the tree
2) shaping the logs into the form of a bat
3) sanding and staining the bat and
4) stamping the bat with the Slugger logo
Next, Mr. White personally walked through those steps with the class and showed how God uses the same processes to refine our faith. For instance, Mr. White drew a powerful comparison between how God creates each one of us to have a relationship with Him and the potential every ash tree that is planted has to be a bat. Another powerful image Mr. White used as an analogy of the lathe. The lathe is the tool that the bat company uses to shape the bats from the form of a log to the form of a baseball bat. Does this sound familiar to what God does with us? He takes the raw materials He gave us and molds us into who He created us to be. The only catch is this may not always be pleasant. If a bat had feelings, it probably wouldn’t want to be mangled by the lathe. Mr. White used this analogy to challenge us to embrace the difficult or sometimes painful processes that God uses to mold our character. Perhaps our own personal lathes will emerge in the form of Impact 360 Fellows!
Finally, Mr. White demonstrated that we must stay true to who God created to us to be by explaining that a bat should be used only for hitting. The Louisville Slugger Company did not create the bat to perform as a glove by catching baseballs but rather, it performs best when it is being used to hit the ball.
At the end of Mr. White’s speech, the Fellows knew a lot more about baseball bats but even more importantly we had several challenges to live up to. We were challenged to know we were specially created, to endure the lathe, and accept who God is calling us to be. These challenges go beyond the community at Impact 360 and are appropriate for Christians in all walks of life. Let’s come alongside each other and encourage each other to face these challenges. Let’s knock that baseball out of the park!