Apr 4, 2006

Spiritual growth at Liberty

by Hilary Dyer

With the growth of the student body at Liberty University, there are the obvious issues of parking, housing, class availability and new faculty. However, Liberty University was built with the purpose of training up individuals who are firmly founded in their faith in Jesus Christ. The ramifications of the rapid growth upon the spiritual life of the campus must be considered.

“The challenge for Liberty University over the next decade will be to resist the temptation to drift away from the university’s conservative, Christian roots in its policies, mission, doctrine and philosophy as the university continues to grow and improve its academic programs, athletic programs, facilities and quality of life,” said Vice Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr.

Campus Pastor Dwayne Carson agrees. He said that “no matter how large we get,” the university needs to continue having three dynamic convocations a week and requiring GNED and core Bible classes.

Carson also stressed the importance of having quality prayer leaders and a 5-1 student to prayer leader ratio. “Then we can continue to train what we desire, Champions for Christ,” Carson said.

Yet Carson is not without apprehensions. He is concerned that dorms housing 150 on a floor will not facilitate building a strong community, but he wants to keep a qualified ministry team on each floor.

In order to meet the spiritual needs of the students on campus, there will continue to be two spiritual life directors on every hall. There will also be enough prayer leaders to continue the personal discipleship of the students.

Carson says that there will need to be restructuring at the pastoral level. With 227 spiritual life directors and 850 prayer leaders needed for the coming fall semester, the Campus Pastor’s Office will need more assistance to care for the growing student leadership team. Of equal importance is finding enough qualified student leaders.

“We’re in trouble if we don’t get enough student leaders. The prayer leader team is totally voluntary, and the Campus Pastor’s office couldn’t minister without these 800 helpful students,” said Carson.

The spiritual life of the students is also an important part of the university’s Christian testimony to the citizens of Lynchburg. Kimball Payne, Lynchburg City Manager, said “LU students have a great reputation in the community for being volunteers and for their work with kids through inner-city programs.”

“Taking care of the spiritual life of our students, in my opinion, will always be top priority. Having enough staff to oversee the student leadership team is of critical importance,” said Carson.

 Contact Hilary Dyer at hadyer@liberty.edu.

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