Preteen -

7-year-old’s decision impacts entire family —

By Becca Haines

Hagin Sanders was only 7 years old when he made a decision that changed the course of his family.


After being invited to a VBS summer program by one of his friends, Hagin fell in love with the church. He wanted to return, but his family very rarely, if ever, attended church and he wasn’t sure how to get their buy-in. But at only age 7, he boldly began to encourage his parents, Brad and Candice Sanders, to go to church.


“He would tell us all we just HAD to go,” Candice said. “It was an eye-opening experience to watch him prioritize church over sports.”


It wasn’t too long after that when Hagin made the decision to give his life to Christ and was baptized at First Christian Church of Cleveland, Oklahoma. Candice said joining her son at the church every week was something that became extremely comfortable for her, and she started praying that her husband would come, too.


“I felt so welcomed by the church but on days after that when I was tired, Hagin was the one to get me out of bed and make sure we were there,” she said. “Hagin has a heart for Christ. But his dad didn’t join us at first.”


Brad said his resistance to living a life for Christ put a strain on his family’s relationships, but eventually he knew there was no sense in fighting this powerful presence in his home. He started reading the Bible with Hagin, praying before dinner and taking part in conversations he used to avoid.


“Our house seems more peaceful,” said Hagin, now 11 years old. “That’s what God has done for me.”


This past February, the Sanders family attended SuperStart together in Tulsa, Oklahoma as two adult volunteers and preteen with a heart ready to share what God has done in his life. Hagin happily filled out his “Tell It” cards, and at the sound of his faith-filled story, Candice couldn’t help but tear up.

“My childhood wasn’t great and this is what I’ve always wanted for my family,” she said. “My son found this amazing church and he pulled us all in. God answered my prayer of putting Him as our family’s foundation.”


The church has welcomed Brad as a positive influence for the youth group, and now participates in many activities like SuperStart.


“I’ve been all-in ever since,” Brad said. “God has blessed me so much these past few years. One of the things we love to do now is come to SuperStart. You can see it in the kids’ faces – they love sharing their stories. We’ve seen them draw closer together, and that draws them closer to God, too. It’s an amazing thing to see.”


The 2018/2019 SuperStart tour will conclude in April in Chicago, Illinois. To learn more, visit