Macland’s challenging quest to disciple 1300 new believers


POWDER SPRINGS, Ga. — Michael Boatfield, pastor of Macland Baptist Church in Powder Springs, continues to be invited to speak to athletes in high schools and colleges across the Southeastern states. In the past four years and six months he has seen over 1300 of these athletes invite Jesus into their hearts. Since April 2022 there have been 600 students respond to his appeal to receive Christ as the Savior and Lord of their lives.

When asked if he believes that all the athletes who pray to receive Christ are genuinely saved, Boatfield said, “I am not foolish enough to believe that all those who respond to my invitation to trust Jesus as their Savior have a legitimate salvation experience, because just praying a prayer does not save one soul. There must be a turning from sin. I tell them that God wants to give them a heart transplant and take out the heart of stone and replace It with a new Spirit and a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).

“I am not traveling from one school to another to boast about the numbers of athletes who pray to receive Christ; and I am not preaching a sham gospel to try to get people into heaven. I am telling them the truth. I am not seeking any recognition for myself; I only want to proclaim the sufficiency of Christ and honor Him.”

Ed McMullen, a Bible teacher at Macland Baptist Church, frequently travels with his pastor to the events when he shares the Gospel with athletes. He commented, “The pastor asks these young men questions like: Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever cheated on a test? Have you ever had an intimate sexual relationship? Have you ever stolen anything?

“He then explains that one day they will have to stand before God and give an account for every word they have spoken and every sin they have ever committed. Then he clearly tells them that God has given them a way to escape His wrath and judgment and presents a beautiful message about the cross and how Jesus died in their place so that they may have eternal life.”

McMullen continued, “Many coaches invite the pastor to return year after year to speak to their football teams because of what they have seen happen in the lives of their players. Christ is making a difference through Michael Boatfield, his personal testimony, and his obvious love for the athletes."

The Macland Church has captured the vision of the pastor to reach the next generation and many of them accompany him in his visits to local schools where he is invited to speak. On many occasions they prepare meals for the teams, and their follow-up to those who profess faith in Christ is most commendable.

The church is developing a Kingdom mentality realizing that they must move beyond the walls of the church to a world that desperately needs to know that there is hope and new life in Jesus Christ.

Macland Baptist Church has done several things to help disciple new believer: (1) The church has purchased 1300 Bibles at $20 each for each athlete who invites Christ into his heart. (2) Those who respond to the invitation are also given a folder of material providing “35 Keys to Knowing Your Identity in Christ.” (3) The names of those who make decisions for Christ are given to the team chaplains for follow-up. (4) In many cases the names of the athletes are given to local churches where they can be spiritually nurtured in a health Christian environment. Unfortunately, there are churches that fail to reach out to those who profess faith in Christ.

Boatfield exclaimed, “I spoke to the football team at Carrollton High School last month and had one of the players come up to me and say, ‘I got saved last year when you spoke to us, but I haven’t done anything with my salvation. What do I do next?’”

The question of the young man broke the Macland pastor’s heart. He felt certain that someone would have helped him study the material the church had provided him. He explained, “I would go over to Carrollton and disciple those young men once a week if I just had time to do it.”

The plaintive plea of the young man reminds us of the abandoned two-month-old infant found by Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas in late September. The parents of the child were not to be found. All to often churches “abandon” new believers who either must fend for themselves in a hostile world or fall by the wayside. 

Thankfully some churches do an amazing job of discipling new converts. In addition to the Macland Church, Intentional Church in Powder Springs where Anthony Guidry is pastor and Revive Church in South Cobb County where Reggie Fields is pastor are helping to disciple the athletes who come to Christ through Boatfield’s ministry.