Sep 30, 2008

Q&A With Jonathan Falwell, Vice Chancellor for Spiritual Affairs

by Amanda Baker

What responsibilities come with the title of vice chancellor of spiritual affairs?

Liberty University has always been focused on not only training young people academically, but also spiritually. Dad (Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr.) always made sure that we are on track spiritually. We want to make sure that we stay solid. My responsibility will be to ensure that the faculty members continue to understand that this is a spiritually sound institution. We’re not going to let faculty members come here who don’t believe what we believe.

How does this position affect or complement your role as pastor of TRBC?

Liberty University was founded out of TRBC. When it was first started, all the classes took place inside the church, and members of the church gave the money to build this institution. And the pastor (at the time), who was my dad, was always the head of the institution. The importance of the relationship is one that we can’t take lightly. My role as a pastor here is to help the people stay on track spiritually, and also to make sure that this church will continue to do the same for Liberty.

How do you hope to accomplish that?

I meet often with our campus pastors. We make sure I continue to meet with Dr. Towns, Dr. Caner, Ron Godwin, my brother (Jerry Falwell Jr.) and other vice presidents and deans to make sure we stay on track. The way it is accomplished is the fact that we stay very diligent.

How do you unwind after a long day at the office?

I have my wife and four children. When I leave after an incredibly long day at the church and I walk in the door, I’ve got those four kids that are chasing me down. I pretty quickly forget what has happened at the office, because I realize that the most important thing I do, besides my relationship with Jesus Christ, is growing in my relationship with my wife and my children. It’s not difficult at all for me, because those kids make sure they keep me pretty grounded. What would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment really has nothing to do with my ability. It’s looking back in the last 16 months and being able to be used by God to continue to grow this church, to continue to have people get saved each and every week, seeing the people that are baptized and people whose lives are being changed. It has nothing to do with me. My greatest accomplishment is willingness to allow God to work in my life and use me in a small way to be able to stand up in front of thousands of people here and millions more by television and continue to do what my dad did for 51 years. I will be the first to tell you that I am in no way near as talented and gifted as my dad was, and I never will be, because he was a remarkable man and no one will be able to replace him, at the university or the church. He was incredible. It’s humbling to be able to look and see that, in all that he did in 51 years, that now God is using me to continue that vision and path. That certainly would be my greatest accomplishment on a professional level.
My greatest accomplishment on a personal level is the fact that I married an incredible woman and was blessed with four incredible children, and I’ve been able to have a family that is just amazing. To me, that is an accomplishment that far eclipses anything I’ll ever do at this place.

What Biblical passage do you go to often to keep you grounded as you go about your life?

Second Corinthians 3:4-6 basically tells us that our sufficiency is not of ourselves; our sufficiency is of Christ. That tells me very clearly that I don’t have what it takes to do my job. I don’t have what it takes to be a dad. I don’t have what it takes to be a husband. I don’t have what it takes to be a spiritual leader. But my sufficiency is not in myself, and it shouldn’t be. It should be in Christ. That’s why a little over a year ago I put that sign on the back wall of the church that says, “Not I, But Christ.” That’s what Galatians 2:20 says. The passages that I focus on often really relate back to the fact that all I’ve got to do is be willing to be used by God, to make myself available to Him, and He will give me and put in me everything I need to accomplish what God has called me to do. What’s incredible about those passages is that they’re for everyone. It’s true to anyone. It doesn’t matter the situation or how difficult things may be going at that time. My dad always said, “God will never put more on you than in you to bear it up.”


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