As a high school and college student, Chase seemingly had it all: talent, notoriety, popularity and a lengthy list of athletic accomplishments.
During his time at a local Charlotte high school, Chase set multiple school records on the football field and earned all-state honors along with a scholarship to play college football at the United States Military Academy.
After two seasons at West Point (where he redshirted the first season), Chase transferred to Appalachian State University where he played the quarterback and linebacker positions and was a member of three national championship teams.
“I had it all, but I was just empty and going through the motions,” he now says, some nine years after graduation.
Even though Chase had attended Central with his family from the time he was 10, he’d never fully committed his life to Christ.
“I knew about the Lord and believed in God, but I didn’t have a relationship whatsoever. It just wasn’t a part of my life,” he remembers. “I was just going to church because my parents wanted me to. It just seemed like we were there all the time.”
A couple years after graduation from college, Chase went through a divorce, was struggling financially and was as far from the Lord as he’d ever been.
“I was fresh out of school, really had no money, just had a low-level job, and now me and the wife were split, and I was drinking and smoking marijuana just like I was doing in school,” he recalls. “After college I was kind of just doing my own thing. I’d been used to getting whatever I wanted and was really feeling like I could do life on my own. I just had no real desire to do anything but what I wanted to do, and be selfish.”
Around that same time, Chase’s mother had been telling him about a friend of his who was attending Central and had gone down a similar path before God changed his life. That same friend invited Chase to church, but Chase ignored the invitation for about six months. Then came December 19, 2011 — the day Chase found himself at the lowest of low points and was raised to new life in Christ.
“I was by myself around midnight and I was thinking I could get high and forget about my worries and whatnot,” Chase recalls. “I just remember flushing everything and thinking, ‘This isn’t how I want to live anymore. I know I should be following Christ. This is like the worst I could be — the bottom of the bottom.’ So, I asked Christ to come into my heart that night actually, and I ended up calling my friend from Central and we had like a hour-and-a-half conversation at 11 o’clock at night, which was pretty cool. He was the one who got me my first Bible.”
Chase attended services at Central for the first time in a long time the following weekend, and was baptized the following February.
“One of the first things I heard when I got to church that next Sunday was God’s path for you isn’t the same as it is for everyone else, and you’ve got to know when to let go of some things and move forward because you’re getting called to something else,” Chase remembers.
Over the past few years, God has continued to do amazing things in Chase’s life. He’s gone on a missions trip to Ecuador with a team from Central. He’s witnessed to people on the streets in Uptown Charlotte. And he’s proactively sought godly council and discipleship from those who’ve been walking with the Lord for longer than him.
“I could go on and on, but it’s been great,” Chase says of his life in Christ. “It hasn’t been perfect. But it’s a lot better than life was before.”