By Kara Bettis
Twenty-year-old Brady Shorey defines the word charisma. Born an athlete, his frequent smiles and uplifting remarks always draw a crowd. He discusses his faith relationally and personally. He is currently a rising sophomore at Liberty University, where he studies exercise science, sprints for the Liberty Flames, and leads a prayer group among his peers.
Q. What is your spiritual background?
A. Growing up I always saw myself as a Christian whether I was or not, just because it was something we [my family] were. It was something that I saw as inheritance rather than something that I needed to accept. It took me a while to accept Christianity as my own, a part of me rather than my family. I just assumed, “I have this.”
Q. Did you ever have a time where you think your faith became your own?
A. For me the changing point was around when I was 12 years old—realizing how much an impact Christianity had on my family, but not feeling it personally.
That’s when my faith became mine, that’s when I started really thinking about it and what kind of affect it had on my life. It wasn’t: what does it mean to my family, what does it mean about the way I should conduct myself around other Christians. It became something that’s not just important to my mom, it’s important to me.
Part of my testimony is that the day I got saved was the day I heard a sermon about how God is our father and how the love that he has for us is what drove him to the cross. In light of who my father was it gave me an appreciation for what Christ has done for us.
A. The question had been brought up to me regarding my father and whether he was a Christian. He was a loving father, pastor, and elder; but through different reasons left his “faith”. Some would say he lost his faith; some said he never was a Christian. Was he pretending? Am I pretending and not know it?
Freshman year, I started playing sports at the public school. I had to start defending my faith and having to defend my faith actually caused me to question my faith and that understanding.
I was talking with my grandmother over and over again—hour-long conversations, reading books that she’d suggested for me, looking up stuff online, because I really wanted to know whether or not I was really saved, because it was something that was important to me.
One of my buddies would say, “Brady, you know the reason you’re going to church is because your family goes to church.” And that challenged me because when I thought about it I had to be honest with him and say, yeah, that is the only reason I’m going to church. To be honest, I still don’t want to go to church some days. But right now I go. And I’ve come back and said to him, “I’m still going to church at school. It’s my choice now, and I’m still going.”
Q. What factors have helped you or would have helped you?
A. Having people around who taught me how to study, how to meditate on the Word, really the importance of being in tune with God. I’ve had several mentors since I was little. Currently I’ve got a guy who’s on the police force at school, one of my professors, my RA from last year, who are continuing contact with me. The people that seek out that battle and stand next you so that they can help you fight are the people you need in your life on a daily basis.
Q. What did you feel like your mom did well in equipping you?
A. Pointing me to other men was a huge one. As a single mom, trying to teach me anything was difficult because I wanted to gravitate toward the men. She sacrificed the fact that she wanted to be the one to teach me and allowed me to be taught by the men.
On top of that she taught me the importance of prayer, praying with us every day, every meal, praying with us before we went to bed, encouraging us to have prayer journals, encouraging us to pray on our own, constantly talking about the prayer request of the week from bulletins from the church or emails that she’d receive—prayer was just a constant part of her life. Bible study was a huge part of her life as well.
We had this game we’d play that if we’d missed our devotions that morning, we’d put ten cents in a basket. Ten cents over a year turns into about 50 dollars. You think you can skip, you think it’s no big deal and that’s a huge application to life.
Q. Why do you think that some of your peers aren’t following the Lord now?
A. A lot of times in a Christian home, everything you’re surrounded by is Christian. You know no other life. Every now and then you’ll have a sneak peek of a movie or a song that exposes you to the real world and it’s enticing, it’s attractive. You’re getting weaned onto them. After you leave home, you don’t have the same rules, or the same friends, or the same support group and encouragement. All of a sudden you’re on your own and the world’s there—and it’s like, “Whoa! This is real!”
Q. Any advice for parents or pastors who want to reach the next generation?
A. Don’t hide what’s going on in the world from them. But don’t throw them into it. My mom never tried to hide what was going on in the world from me. I remember when I was 8 years old standing on the side of the road holding an abortion sign. People would go by and give us the finger, scream nasty words at us, but she didn’t try and hide that they were going to do that us. She would let us know: “They don’t like you. But that’s okay because people are always going to hate you when you stand up for what’s right.”