News Articles

20-year-old’s funeral sparks 20-plus professions of faith

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–The death of Southeastern college student David Michael Light sparked a spirit of revival in his hometown of Burlington, N.C., during funeral services, May 30, at Brookwood Baptist Church.
More than 20 people made professions of faith and about 100 rededicated their lives to Christ.

Light, 20, a bachelor of arts in biblical studies student, died May 26 while clearing trees in his hometown after recent rainstorms. He was killed instantly when a limb he was cutting snapped and struck him in the head.

“It was more of a celebration than a funeral,” said Phyllis McCraw, instructor of English composition at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Southeastern College at Wake Forest, N.C., “because there is no doubt in my mind that he is with the Lord. He always had an urgency about doing the work of the Lord.”

McCraw, who taught Light in 1999, said there were few tears shed during the funeral, even when praise songs were sung and testimonies were shared by Light’s friends and co-workers.

Light was known as an outspoken Christian with a compassion for others and a desire to share Christ with those around him.

Brian Gray, a bachelor of arts in biblical studies student from Orangeburg, N.C., met Light during orientation at Southeastern and attended the funeral hoping Light’s desire to see people come to Christ would be communicated to those at the service.

Gray’s prayers were answered when David Gordon, associate pastor of Brookwood Baptist Church, presented a clear plan of salvation to 750 people crammed in sanctuary pews to pay last respects to Light.

“The pastor was preaching the truth about how to live your life right, and he presented a great gospel message,” Gray said. “He asked the people, ‘If you are unsaved today but want to live your life the same way [David] lived his life’ to stand up.”

Gray said people immediately stood at their seats ready to accept the call of Christ in their lives.

“What kept sticking in my mind was, ‘God, you’ve got a reason for allowing this to happen and I don’t understand it, but I know you will be glorified’,” Gray said. “And he was.”

Light attended the University of Tennessee in 1998 and had been a member of the Volunteers football team. Following God’s call to the ministry, Light left Tennessee for Southeastern.

Dedicated to directing youth to live a Christ-filled life, at the time of his death Light was assistant football coach at West Alamance High School, as Fellowship for Christian Athletes adviser there, as well as a youth intern at Brookwood Baptist Church.

“He was well-loved by the players because his whole focus was not only to teach them disciplines in football, but disciplines in life and how to live a Christian life,” Gray said.

Gerald Cowen, dean of Southeastern College at Wake Forest, N.C., said Light’s influence on the youth of Burlington was marked by the rows of youth-filled pews at the funeral.

“It was evident when I got to the funeral that David had a tremendous testimony,” Cowen said, describing the 80 members of the high school football team who served as honorary pallbearers. “They talked about how he talked to his students about being morally pure and saving themselves for marriage. He had a lot of impact morally and spiritually on the kids down there.”

“I just wish more people could have known [David] and the spirit he had,” Gray said. “Because it was tender. He had a big heart and was very sold out to the Lord.”

Joshua Smith, a bachelor of arts in Biblical studies student, enrolled at Southeastern with Light. Describing his friend as “a bear of a guy with a big grin on his face at all times,” Smith compared Light’s personality to a light bulb, always shining bright no matter what day of the week it was.”

Smith said Light’s death has become a time of personal review, forcing him to question what kind of legacy he is leaving behind and encouraging him to live a Christ-filled life.

“David’s life wasn’t a one-day-a-week thing, it was lived 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Smith said. “Just seeing the effect that one person can have on a community, a church and a seminary family [makes me] want to leave an impact that will last for eternity.”

    About the Author

  • Melissa King