Former Butler guard Ron Nored shared his testimony of faith to roughly 100 attendees at a Converge church service last year.
This year, it’s Rotnei Clarke’s turn — with the possibility of an audience more than double the size of Nored’s.
On Feb. 10, Clarke will give his testimonial in the Johnson Room of Robertson Hall at an event Converge has been working on since last October.
Austin Weaver, Converge president, said in an email the idea is to give as many students as possible the chance to hear Clarke speak.
The event will also provide refreshments, including a meet-and-greet session with Clarke and a photographer to take pictures of attendees.
“The point of having Rotnei Clarke come share his testimony is to possibly reach students that are looking for something more,” Weaver said. “Rotnei Clarke is a professed Christian, and he wants to share his story of what God means to him in his everyday life.”
Weaver said Clarke “instantly agreed” to speak at the service.
“Anytime I have the chance to speak about the Good News and the Gospel and what I’m about, I take it,” Clarke said. “A lot of people just see what we’re doing on the court. They don’t get to see the heart of the athletes, how they are off the court or field.
“I think it’s important for us to be good examples. So there wasn’t any hesitation for me.”
Converge arrived on Butler’s campus just last year.
Clarke will be attending for the first time this Sunday. But Weaver said he hopes after this event, more students will realize this is an on-campus option for church.
Converge is a non-denominational Christian church service held in the Johnson Room every Sunday at 4pm. There is a worship leader, as well as a pastor who delivers the day’s message.
The invitation list has grown from 200 to over 1,000 since the event was created last week. At press time, the event’s Facebook page had 1,073 invited, with 226 people confirmed and 76 undecided.
Butler junior Ari Kasle is one of those confirmed to attend the event. Kasle said he’s never been to any of the Converge events — he’s just going to support Clarke, whom he met during Clarke’s first semester at Butler. The two have become friends, with Kasle even helping Clarke around after his ankle surgery last year.
Kasle is Jewish, so he doesn’t believe the same things Clarke does.
“Rotnei’s a devout Christian,” Kasle said, “but at the same time, he’s really open to other religions too. He’s never tried to convert me or anything like that.
“Faith is a huge part of his life, but he’s not the kind of guy that’s going to force his beliefs on you, preaching all the time.”
Clarke said his message is meant to make an impact on peoples’ lives, particularly by using basketball as a podium.
“I’m just trying to use the opportunities I get with the platform I have,” he said. “I don’t want to pressure anyone to go, but if they want to go, great. If not, that’s also their decision.
“But reaching out to people and giving people hope — that’s why I play.”