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New students receive spiritual encouragement at Freshman Convocation

August 15, 2014 : By Sara Warrender/Liberty University News Service

Freshman Convocation held at Liberty University on Aug. 15, 2014.

Incoming Liberty University students had the opportunity to experience their first Convocation on Friday, Aug. 15, which included inspirational music led by the Campus Band and a challenge from Dr. Ben Gutierrez, administrative dean for undergraduate programs. The Freshman Convocation, which was held in the sanctuary at Thomas Road Baptist Church, was part of Welcome Week 2014, a schedule of special programs designed to help freshmen get familiar with campus life.

New students were also introduced to David Nasser, senior vice president for Spiritual Development, who encouraged students to seek out his counsel throughout the year.

Dr. Ben Gutierrez speaks during Freshman Convocation.
Dr. Ben Gutierrez, administrative dean for Undergraduate Programs, shared a message with freshman on Friday.

Gutierrez spoke from Ephesians 6:10-14, urging students to look beyond immediate situations in their lives and seek God’s prevailing joy.

“You can have ups and downs in this great story,” Gutierrez said. “You can have all of these and still have the best year ever because the best year is not based on circumstances.”

He told students they can look back on all circumstances with favor if they grow through Christ in all instances.

“Today begins chapter one,” he said. “Beginning right now every one of you has the chance to start again.”

Gutierrez reminded students to filter each choice through God’s Word and not lose their focus throughout the year. He spoke of the importance of building uplifting friendships built on a foundation of Christ.

“This is how to have the best year ever, and it’s taken directly from Scripture: decide today to gather your friends and stand your ground.”

The student body was urged to “lock their shields against the enemy” like an army facing battle and keep their faith strong while leaning on and encouraging fellow believers. Gutierrez told students to involve God in all their activities and start fresh before the fall semester classes begin. 

“Convocation was really uplifting,” freshman Hannah Landis said. “I’ve never been in that kind of environment before.”