At Liberty University, where the mission is to “Train Champions for Christ,” students have opportunities to get involved in missions work locally and abroad. Many students hear about those opportunities, and hear God’s call on their life, during Liberty’s Missions Emphasis Week (MEW), held Sept. 21-23.
“As a direct result of Liberty’s annual missions week, millions of people around the world have had an opportunity to hear the Gospel of Christ,” said Campus Pastor Johnnie Moore. “We believe that this week could be the week that God inspires some student to do something extraordinary in his or her generation. Our ambition is nothing less than that everyone on Earth might be touched by Christ through a Liberty life.”
During the week students have the chance to connect with missions organizations at an information fair in the back hallway of DeMoss, where representatives are available to answer students’ questions. Missions seminars are also held, focusing on tribal ministry and the Muslim perception of Christianity, among other subjects. Students also have the opportunity to have lunch with visiting missionaries in the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall.
As a missionary, Rankin planted churches among the Indonesian people for more than a decade before taking on a leadership role. After serving overseas for 23 years, he became IMB’s 10th president in 1993 and has plans to retire as president next year.
With more than 5,500 missionaries currently serving abroad, Rankin travels the globe preaching, teaching, leading conferences and encouraging others to answer God’s call to missions.
He has authored or co-authored several books, including “A Journey of Faith and Sacrifice: Retracing the Steps of Lottie Moon;” “Empowering Kingdom Growth to the Ends of the Earth;” “Lives Given, Not Taken;” and “Spiritual Warfare: The Battle for God’s Glory.”
Rankin opened convocation by praising the missions efforts of Liberty University: “Boy, if I ever get down or discouraged about our missions efforts, all I have to do is just walk on this campus.”
He then encouraged students to remember 1 John 3:17, “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”
He broke this verse down into three parts: “We are commanded to look” beyond ourselves and see the world as God sees it; “We are commanded to love” one another as Christ loves us; and “We are commanded to make disciples.”
Looking out over the students, he said that while we may not feel like we have a lot, compared with most of the world we do. The most important “good” that we have is salvation, he said. He questioned how we could have God’s love in us if we do not take this “good” and share it with the world.
Rankin recalled a man who wrote him asking why, despite his prayers, God was not “calling out the laborers” into the mission field to share the gospel. Rankin remembered being unable to answer him because he wondered the same thing. Then he happened upon an article by a 19th century missionary who gave this answer: “God is pulling out the laborers, but the laborers are not responding because of a closed mind or a callused heart or a reluctant will.”
Rankin then confronted the student body, asking, “Why have you never considered the possibility that God could use you?”
Kicking off the week at Monday’s convocation was Dr. Kirk Nowery, Chief Operations Officer of Samaritan’s Purse, the non-denominational evangelical ministry headed by Franklin Graham that provides emergency disaster relief to impoverished areas around the world.
Nowery, a Liberty University graduate, first asked the student body, “What is the calling of God for your life?” then spoke about the time he received the call of God on his own life.
Nowery was at Liberty and had asked Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr. how he could know what God’s will was for his life. Falwell opened his Bible to Psalm 126:5-6, they read the passage and then Falwell put both of his hands on Nowery’s shoulders and said, “Kirk, you ought to be a young champion for Christ capturing one of America’s great cities for Him. ... Remember, faithful is He who has called you, who also will do it.”
He then challenged the students to live a life that is truly marked by surrender — listening to God, keeping their promises and surrendering their lives to God’s will.
For more on missions opportunities at Liberty, go to www.liberty.edu/faithservice.