As the highlight of Youth Emphasis Week, Liberty University gave a warm welcome to Wednesday convocation speaker Josh McDowell. An internationally renowned youth evangelist and author, McDowell has been an LU favorite for close to 40 years.
Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. introduced him as “one of the most well-known and published Christian leaders of our time.”
“Josh has probably had more impact on helping young people make the right decisions at critical times in their lives than anybody else in the second half of the 20th century,” Falwell said.
McDowell reciprocated his love for Liberty by saying, “I can’t tell you of any better place to wake up and give a talk than right here.”
“If there is any school where students come with a greater understanding of spiritual things, it’s this school,” he said.
McDowell targeted much of his address to future youth ministry workers. He first spoke about the growing confusion among youth about the source of truth.
“With evangelical, fundamental, born-again, Christian young people, in 1991, 52 percent said, ‘There is no truth apart from myself,’” he said. “As of today, the number has escalated to 91 percent saying this.”
McDowell proposed that the key to ending this deadly trend is “to reach the youth younger and younger, and to do that we must reach the parents.”
He challenged students to take the first step to changing the world through young people by knowing why they believe what they believe. “You can never take people further than you are willing to go,” he said.
|Josh McDowell poses with Dr. Richard Brown (left, Assistant Professor of Youth Ministry and
Faculty Director of YouthQuest), award-winner Rick Young and Dr. Steve Vandegriff, executive director of the Center for Youth Ministries.
During Youth Emphasis Week each year, Liberty’s Center for Youth Ministries hosts alumni to share their experiences with students. The Center also gives one award each year to an outstanding Youth Ministries alumnus. At Wednesday’s convocation, Dr. Steve Vandegriff, executive director of the Center for Youth Ministries, presented this year’s award to Rick Young (’94), middle school youth pastor at First Baptist Church Woodstock (Ga.) His youth group started with about 40 teenagers, and he now has 500 on a weekly basis. He has baptized 1,200 teenagers.
ALUMNUS CO-AUTHORS BOOK WITH MCDOWELL
Liberty alumnus Dave Sterrett (’03) has ties to Josh McDowell, having co-authored his first book, “‘O’ God, A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality,” with the prominent Christian author. Sterrett worked as an intern with McDowell’s ministry his senior year at Liberty. He is currently working with McDowell on his next book, “The Coffee House Chronicles,” slated for release in January 2011.