Pastor and former NFL player Dr. Ken Hutcherson inspired students at Liberty University’s convocation on Wednesday with his uplifting message of trust and perseverance in faith.
Hutcherson is the senior pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, Wash., which he founded in 1985. Before he became involved in full-time ministry, he was a middle linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers.
“From the football field to the pulpit of the Antioch Baptist Church, he has been a leader of leaders and a pastor of pastors. He is a pure prophet who speaks regularly into the culture, calling us back to truth,” said Johnnie Moore, Liberty’s Vice President for Executive Projects.
Hutcherson is nationally known as a champion of adoption reform and for his missions work and medical relief in third-world countries. He is the founder of Antioch Adoptions, the country’s first “free” adoption program, which places children into willing Christian families who otherwise could not afford the adoption process. The ministry is currently working alongside state legislature to pass foster care and adoption reform bills. Hutcherson remains active in politics, having organized “Mayday for Marriage” rallies in Seattle and Washington, D.C., that draw more than 179,000 people.
On Wednesday, Hutcherson used humor and enthusiasm to encourage students never to give up on God and to wait patiently for his faithfulness to come through, even when they receive an “ouch,” a negative response, or silence from God. He challenged students to consider how many “ouches” their faith could withstand.
He shared what he has learned of God’s faithfulness from his personal experiences, specifically with his cancer diagnosis. He said it upsets him to hear people refer to his cancer as a struggle.
“I do not have a struggle with cancer. Cancer is a privilege. Cancer has been chosen by God to give to me to prove that I am a man that trusts Him regardless of the circumstances.”
He said his chemotherapy treatments have caused him to lose feeling in the tips of his fingers and the bottoms of his feet.
“I count that a privilege,” he said. “The Lord Jesus Christ has found me worthy to be trusted with this disease and not give up on a mighty savior that loves us and gives us what it takes to make us like Jesus Christ. So I want to know today, how many ouches can you take, as a believer?”
After the message came to a close, Moore asked students to make a commitment to pray daily for Hutcherson’s health.
This was Hutcherson’s first visit to Liberty. He said after the service that he was impressed by the attentiveness and response of the students.
“I just couldn’t believe the enthusiasm, the strength that is here among all the students. You can’t help but be excited about that as a speaker and as a visitor,” he said. “I’m looking forward to get back here and spend a little more time so I can see even more of the campus and the atmosphere.”