Hard Fighting Soldier
FCA's Chette Williams recently released a new memoir. Find out why!
by Janet Goreham

As a hardened 19-year-old, FCA’s Chette Williams found hitting rock bottom a shattering experience. After previously committing himself to three goals—get a college degree, play football and make Mama proud—being told by the Auburn football coach, “You’re a problem … It’s time for you to move on,” left Williams seemingly with nothing left to live for. With nowhere else to turn, Williams opened his Bible.

Now, 23 years after he last suited up for the Tigers, Williams is serving as chaplain of the Auburn football team while working as both the school’s FCA campus director and the state of Alabama’s director for urban ministries. His years of experience with the SEC powerhouse program as both a player and a spiritual mentor have generated stories of God’s grace through men who fight like warriors on the football field and join hands in prayer on the sidelines.

Last month, Williams, along with author Dick Parker, released the memoir Hard Fighting Soldier: Finding God in Trials, Tragedies, and Triumphs as a way of communicating how God’s grace transformed one lost, young athlete into an influential man of God.

STV’s Janet Goreham: Was it hard to dig back into your past to figure out what to include in the book?
Chette Williams: You may find this strange, but it wasn’t. This stuff was there. I guess that’s why the book came easily, because the Lord really never let it go away.

“Look at how people were changed by Paul telling his story of what Christ had done in his life. They saw emotion, and they felt it. That’s what Chette and the players and coaches who told their stories for the book were willing to do, just completely expose themselves. I think that’s what gives the book the power that it does.” – Dick Parker, co-writer
I’m 43 now, and I was sitting at the house the other day and my brother and my mom were reading the book, and I asked, “Do you remember that part?” And they said, “No, I don’t remember that.” And I thought, Lord, why did you let me hold on to that? I remembered such particulars and such detail. They remembered the event, but not the details in the way that some of them actually occurred.

JG: Who is the book’s target audience?
CW: I think it’s for athletes who have been going through some tough times, to understand that they will get through it. The stories in there are about guys, and me, who have struggled. There’s a chapter about my conversion and what I went through, and how what the enemy meant for harm, God turned around and used for good. It’s for those people who feel like all hope is gone. It’s a message of encouragement, a message of hope.

JG: What do you hope this book will accomplish?
CW: I hope it accomplishes the purpose for which it was written: to point people in the direction of Jesus Christ. And to help encourage people who are sitting on the bubble.

The main purpose is Colossians 3:23 (NIV): “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…” I just want to point people in that direction. If there’s somebody who’s not a Christian who’s reading this book, it shows them how they can accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

New York Giants linebacker Reggie Torbor on Hard Fighting Soldier

What did you think about the book?
I thought it was a great book, just knowing Chette and the type of man that he is. He and I are very close and it was just good to know a lot of things that he came through early in his life and how he came to love God and know Christ. He did not come out like what someone would think a great Christian would be, but that he actually went through things that formed him into the man that he is today. It was kind of inspiring knowing that anyone can change their life around.

What do you think of Chette Williams?
He is probably the only man in the world that I would say I would model myself after and want my kids to grow up and be like. I think he has such great character. He does everything for all the right reasons. He is just a down-to-earth guy with great heart. I can’t say enough good things about him. He has helped me so much in my life to get me where I am at today, as far as my character, decision-making, spirituality, and things like that.

Did you find the book inspiring?
Yes, I did. Like I said, it was very inspiring because it is one thing for someone to grow up in a household where he is given everything and he doesn’t have any trials or any hurdles to get over in life and he grows up to be a good guy; but, when you have to go through things, you have to fight, you have to pick yourself up off of the ground and still be able to make it both spiritually and in your career, it is a great inspiration. 

*For more stories about faith and sport, visit www.sharingthevictory.com, the official magazine of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. 

Courtesy of Todd Van Ernst/Auburn University