If you have ever attended church service on campus or in the area, you have to experience The Church Of The Champions.
The church is already breaking ground, pastored by Henry Tolbert with his wife LaToya Tolbert.The Tolberts are no strangers to the campus, struggles of young adults and the local spiritual scene. Both are 20 somethings committed to working with young people.
In previous semesters, Tolbert led the Fellowship of Christian Athletes campus Bible study.
Now with a need for the word and an ever-growing congregation, Tolbert expanded from the clubhouse of an apartment complex to a building beside Elanda’s hair salon in Grambling.
The first service in the new building was Aug. 15, and at least 150 people came out to hear the word.
The building was so packed that the church ran out of seats. But that didn’t stop anyone from staying to hear the word.
The congregation is growing, and there is no secret why. Pastor Tolbert has a unique way of “preaching.”
It can be described as contemporary teaching the Bible and ways to live and grow by it, instead of the more traditional hoopin’, hollerin’, screamin’ preacher.
The fact that the church is nondenominational shows that is more word-based than caught up in other religious constraints.
Tolbert has a natural and down-to-earth approach to his sermons that makes it enjoyable yet satisfying for anyone to witness.
Before the pastor got his prominent title, he was a normal guy like any other student.
Graduating from Grambling in 2006, he partied and drank and stayed out late.
He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. You may even recognize his name in the athletic department, because he was a killer football player, and even went pro for some years.
Urged by his teammates, he decided to leave his passion for the game to become a man of God for the people.
It was a struggle but he maintained his vision and now it is coming to pass.
He can relate to the students of Grambling and the trials and tribulations because he was once there.
He says that if you have the desire to change, you can decide to be better and closer to and like God.
The Church of the Champions has a special acronym they strive to live by.
C: Change the culture of the community.
H: Heal the hurting hearts of God’s people.
A: Advertise Godly additions through powerful testimony.
M: Mold the minds of young believers.
P: Peruse God’s promise with his word.
I: Ignite God’s ideas for creative outreach.
O: Oppose the oppression of worldly thinking.
N: Nourish the needs of biblical teaching
S: Seek salvation for the loss. This creed is what champions are made of.
“I believe that COC will be able to fill the voids in the hearts of those who seek a church home but never are able to commit to one place,” said Shawnae Combs, a senior from Manhattan, Kan.
“COC offers a loving environment which is inviting to everyone, especially the broken.
“God has planted a vision in Pastor Tolbert that is being executed daily, we’re growing constantly and anxiously awaiting God’s guidance on the next move for His will,” Combs said.
“It’s has great impact on the campus, and we can be ourselves in Christ at college,” said Tae’lr Merriweather, a senior from Danville, Ill.
“In the future I see the church reaching out to young and old people in Grambling.
“I like that we are being taught rather than preached to,” Merriweather said.
The Church of the Champions is moving forward and branching out.
The church is hosting the first “Champions College Weekend”, which is set for Sept. 10-12.
Friday night is a gospel open mic and party at 8 p.m. Saturday is the “If You Really Knew me Seminar” at 2 p.m. And finally Sunday is the Greek/Organization service at 6 p.m.
Church of the Champions is not just a movement on campus, it is a lifestyle.
To contact Pastor Tolbert, call 318-394-0078, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
He can also be found on the Web at @htolbert on twitter, Henry Tolbert on Facebook or www.wearenumberone.org.
Church service is every Sunday at 6 p.m.