Tuesday, September 23, 2014

McPherson encourages giving

Former NFL player and pastor of The Rock Church returned to Liberty for the third consecutive year

Learning to give — McPherson discussed God’s giving nature during the Jan. 30 convocation. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

Liberty University Vice President for Executive Projects Johnnie Moore introduces many convocation speakers throughout the course of a semester, but not often does he describe the day’s guest as a “member of our spiritual family.”

Miles McPherson, senior pastor of The Rock Church in San Diego, Calif. and two-time Spiritual Emphasis Week speaker, returned to Liberty Wednesday, Jan. 30 to share a message about the importance of being a “giver” instead of a “taker.”

“About two months ago, I was telling my church that I had a very important message, one of the most important that I have ever spoken about, and that was it,” McPherson said. “Because, if we can have a giving attitude, there’s nothing we can’t do. I just felt like that would be appropriate today.”

McPherson talked about God’s willingness to give to people and how Christians should reflect that giving attitude toward others. The tall, energetic speaker pointed to the example of Abraham’s obedience, showing how believers should be ready to give back to God and other people.

Liberty junior and spiritual life director Anthony Piacentino said that he appreciated McPherson’s message about the importance of giving back to God.

“I love when he talks,” Piacentino said. “There’s something about him where you know that he loves Christ, and you know that Christ is with him because it just flows out of him. I think that it’s so evident that I can’t help but be moved.”

Almost 2,500 miles separate The Rock Church from Liberty, but both institutions have grown at a similar pace over their relatively short histories. According to The Rock Church’s website, more than 15,000 people take part in one of its five Sunday church services, either in person or online.

“I don’t really compare the two, but it is definitely the personality of God to do amazing, incredible things,” McPherson said. “I’m encouraged by what I see here, but it doesn’t surprise me because that’s what God does. He’s about doing big things.”
According to his website, milesmcpherson.com, McPherson founded The Rock Church in 2000 and has served as senior pastor ever since.

Before starting his career in ministry, McPherson played in the NFL for both the Los Angeles Rams and the San Diego Chargers over his four-year career. According to his website, he was the first football player in the history of the University of New Haven to be named an All-American and drafted to play in the NFL.

According to McPherson, he became a Christian while playing in San Diego and began working as a youth pastor more than a year before his retirement from football in 1986, making his transition to full-time ministry an easy choice.

Nowadays, McPherson said that he finds joy in doing things like participating in one of The Rock Church’s more than 100 outreach ministries that serve people throughout the San Diego community. He also plans to release his second book, “God in the Mirror,” March 1.

“God made us in His image, so when He looked at us, it would be like He was looking in the mirror,” McPherson said. “He would see Himself in how we exercise His authority, how we love, how we treat other people — everything we do and everything we are.”

McPherson finished his day by speaking at Campus Church. By the end of the night, the students’ eagerness to meet McPherson after his talk showed how much they appreciated him and his place in Liberty’s “spiritual family.”

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