May 10, 2019
You may not know his name, but if you’ve lived in Lynchburg for any amount of time, you know his work. His name is Adam Shurr, and he’s the co-founder and co-owner of Golf Park Coffee. Golf Park began in 2014 as strictly a cold brew company here in Lynchburg, but it has since grown into what has probably become one of your favorite coffee shops. Also, if you’ve come to our SA events, you may have come in contact with their cold brew – we give it out often because we love supporting the shop.
Adam is a longtime friend of Student Activities (his sister was actually on our event staff back in the day!) and we knew his story would be one that resonated with a lot of Liberty grads. He has stuck around since he graduated from LU and now works full time at Moore & Giles, the leather company that is featured in stores like West Elm, Crosley and more. Adam stays busy and has an entrepreneurial spirit, but the most important part of his life are his relationships and creating community wherever he can. We learned so much in our chat with Adam and we’re so excited to share it with you!
This podcast features Erin Diaz (Assistant Director of Programming), Marissa Kusayanagi (Event Supervisor) and Steph Ward (Director). Our jingle was created by Judd Harris.
May 9, 2019
When I first came to Liberty I had about 4 different majors within my first two years. I started as a Cinematic Arts major and eventually landed on Business Administration: Communication after some major freshman year soul searching. After I graduate this spring, I will have the pleasure of working for Salesforce as a Success Graduate Customer Success Manager. Salesforce is a customer success platform that delivers the world’s #1 CRM which helps companies connect with their customers in a whole new way. Salesforce has been named by Forbes as one of the “World’s Most Innovative Company” 5 years running and one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the past 8 years. I will spend 6 months being trained in Indianapolis with 20 other recent graduates and then I will be transferred to my permanent office in Chicago, my hometown. The company has a corporate culture that is centered around their “Ohana”, which is the Hawaiian word for family. This Ohana encompasses everything from their employees to their customers to their partners and communities, all working together to make the world a better place. I am so excited to have an opportunity to work for an awesome company and I have all my amazing experience at Liberty and my job at Student Activities to thank for it.One thing I wish someone would have told me freshman year when I came to LU is that I wouldn’t meet all my friends my first day on campus. Over the years I have met so many amazing people. Even as a senior I am still meeting awesome people and making friends that I will keep for a lifetime. It’s easy to get discouraged if you don’t meet your best friends immediately. It may seem as if everyone is having a better time at school than you are. They aren’t. Just trust me on that one. Every new experience, new hall, and in my case new job (shout out to Student Activities) will allow you to meet more and more incredible people. Student Activities has helped me to see that this campus is so much more beautiful and diverse than I could have ever imagined. Working events like Open Mic Night, a personal favorite of mine, and hearing all the talents of our diverse student body on display has shown me that Liberty is full of passionate students coming from all different backgrounds. While I am sad to leave Liberty, Lynchburg, and all the amazing people I have met here, I leave this place also feeling excited and prepared for my next chapter of life knowing I always have a home away from home in Virginia.
My name is Jeremy Boyd, and I am majoring in Business Administration: Project Management. As of right now, I will be working in the food business for a little while after graduation in May. I am currently still applying for jobs. I wish I knew that life was not all about money. I came in as a mechanical engineering student for my freshman year and I completely hated it. Obviously, this field was not for me, but money was on my mind. As my relationship with God grew stronger, I chose a major that I was truly passionate about and I knew I could be a great business person with strong integrity and a Christian ethic background. Student Activities has truly changed the way I view culture. I realized the past two years that students and the public will come to events that they have no background information on. These people truly want to interact with other students to get to know them and build relationships. Student Activities really showed me what it is like to offer amazing events to students that truly foster culture and create community.
My major is Business Administration: Finance. After I graduate, I will be going to Scotland to work with my dad with his investment company, then coming back to Lynchburg to get my MBA at Liberty. My advice to students is to do your best to figure out the resources you have available to you, and try to use as many as you can. College will fly by, and you will wish you met with more teachers, built more relationships, or attended more events. Know what is available and try to best use your resources. The teachers and professors are there to help you succeed. SA really shaped my view on culture by learning from other people’s point of view. Before college, I never really thought about how different people’s upbringings could be, but you’re exposed to many different types of people and cultures from all around the world. This shows how people’s personalities can be so different, but still so beautiful because they’re all made in the image of God.
My major is Strategic Communication: Social Media Management. After I graduate in May I’ll be getting my Master’s in Strategic Communication here at Liberty. One thing that I wish I knew when I first came to Liberty was to just go ahead and change my major. When I first got to Liberty, I was a Pre-Law major, but I always considered changing my major to something that would allow me to be creative. I ended up switching during my junior year and I’m glad it happened then because I was able to make some great friends. Another thing that I wish I knew was to prepare myself as much as possible for my future career outside of the classroom by applying to more internships, reading more books, and utilizing the Career Center’s services more. Working for Student Activities has helped me be more mindful that everyone comes from different backgrounds, so we are all going to have different interests and values. These differences are part of what makes us unique.
I am graduating this year with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design. After graduation, I will be staying at Liberty to complete my Master of Fine Arts degree in graphic design. One thing that I wish I would’ve known about before coming to Liberty is the opportunities that are given to us here. For example, between Student Activities and Outdoor Rec, there are an endless amount of trips that we are able to go on. From white water rafting to camping on the beach and even visiting D.C. for a day there are so many opportunities for adventure that I wish I would have known about and taken more advantage of! SA has shaped the way I view culture by challenging me to think about tough topics through the blog. This year has been really great as the posts have been culturally relevant but also refreshingly honest. The whole SA team has done a great job providing stories that people can truly relate to. It has been an absolute pleasure working for Student Activities this past year and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity.
May 8, 2019
Spring 2019. A semester that seems to have flown by twice as fast as it did in the fall. This semester was especially loaded with multiple concerts that already seem like they took place a year ago! Student Activities offers such a wide variety of concerts, and there is always something for everybody to be looking forward to.
Shortly after the start of this semester, we were treated to Drew and Ellie Holcomb on February 8. The husband and wife duo took turns sharing the stage before uniting near the end to bring their show home. Coming off of a Christmas break where many were at home with their families, this show was the perfect way to kick off the semester simply because of the feelings of unity and family that Drew and Ellie communicated. They made us feel comfortable and at home just by watching them do what they love together. This warm blend of indie, folk, and worship was the perfect way to kick off the spring concerts.
On February 23, Bethel Music came and brought in yet another husband and wife duo. Except this time, it was a little bit different. Brian and Jenn Johnson came and performed a night full of worship. There was no opener for the concert; it was simply these two co-founders of Bethel Music who led us in praise to our God, while still showing their love for what they do. It was a wonderful experience because in addition to the music, we got to hear from Brian and Jenn directly as they spoke about their testimonies and how Bethel has come about. This was a beautiful night where we were not only entertained, but were able to spend time in worship as well.
Moving into March, the Gray Havens performed as a part of our Every Square Inch Conference. The Conference was a weekend of learning from Trevin Wax about culture, identity and Christianity, and there was no better way to wrap it up than having the Gray Havens perform. The duo was preceded by openers Gray, a Liberty student, and Chris Renzema, an important name in singer/songwriter music. The couple even stayed after the show to answer a Q&A on stage, where the audience learned more about their story.
Josh Garrels wrapped up the March lineup of concerts, and his was definitely one to remember. Ask anybody who was at the March 22nd concert and they will all agree that Josh has one of the most unique voices around. In order to match his unique voice, he showed off a personality that is also unique to the music industry. This was made evident when he chose to stay after and talk with anybody who desired to meet him. In a time when big name artists are charging hundreds of dollars for meet-and-greet passes, Josh elected to take the time to meet everybody, which says a lot about his character and is reflective of his wide variety of music.
The most recent big-name concert of the semester was Tori Kelly on April 6. She has one of the purest voices in the industry right now and that was made evident during her concert. Those who came really got their money’s worth of entertainment as well as the length of the show. On her acoustic tour, it was just Tori and her guitarist up on stage. The two of them made the arena sound like it was filled with 20 people on stage. This experience was surely one to remember.
Our final show of the spring was Tyson Motsenbocker, opened by Cole Loomis. This free show in the LaHaye Event Space was intimate and special for those who came and love Tyson and Cole. It was Tyson’s birthday, and he said to the audience that they made his birthday great. We were so glad we could be a part of his special day. Tyson and Cole were such a great way to close out an awesome semester!
Check out our social media for concerts that will be happening this fall – see you there!
Written by: Josiah Frisbie
Josiah enjoys writing for the blog because he believes in the power of discussing relevant topics. He wants to be challenged in his writing and research style while still growing and striving for knowledge.
May 1, 2019
We had such an incredible weekend hosting the first ever Campus Rec Fest, and we hope that you did too! This weekend was full of so many exciting events and activities, brought to you by all of the Campus Rec departments. Student Activities kicked off this weekend on Friday, with our semester’s Photo Expo showcase and a concert with the amazing singer/songwriter Tyson Motsenbocker. This Photo Expo showcase took place in the LaHaye Lobby, where students had the chance to vote for their favorite photo while enjoying some iced coffee. Student Activities then ended the night in the LaHaye Event Space with a Tyson Motsenbocker concert featuring Cole Loomis. Cole Loomis opened up the concert with an acoustic set playing some chill originals and some Liberty favorites. Following Cole, our headliner Tyson Motsenbocker engaged the audience with music from the heart that showed his personality and character. He took the audience on a journey with him.
On Saturday, the excitement of Campus Rec Fest continued, as Student Activities hosted the second day of the Photo Expo showcase and a Campus Rec Fest Expo. The Campus Rec Fest Expo took place in the LaHaye Parking Lot while the Photo Expo showcase took place in the LaHaye Lobby. The Campus Rec Fest Expo was filled with so many exciting activities, such as: Golf Park Coffee, Chill City Pops, Upper Crust Pizza (all free for the first 300 guests), cotton candy, a mechanical bull, a 24’ rock wall, fitness competitions, giveaways, and so much more. It was a windy day, but that did not stop the attendees from taking part in the excitement of the Campus Rec Fest Expo. To end the perfect weekend, Student Activities hosted a Movie Night on the Commons Lawn, showing Mary Poppins Returns and giving out free popcorn and cheap concessions.
All weekend long, the Campus Rec departments did an outstanding job accommodating facility discounts, such as free bowling all weekend at the Montview bowling alley, free camping and off-site gear through Outdoor Rec, and a ten dollar combo pass at the Liberty Mountains’ Snowflex. The Campus Rec departments also hosted events, such as scenic equestrian hayrides, top-shot competitions, a star chaser climbing challenge, the lake Hydaway glow night, and so much more! We hope you enjoyed this weekend full of Campus Rec Fest activities as much as we did! And a special shout out to all of the Campus Rec departments in joining us for an incredible weekend right before the start of exam week.
Written by: Gabi Cormier
Gabi is a Sophomore majoring in Business: Project Management. She loves being a part of the SA blog and having the opportunity to discuss crucial topics that she is passionate about with the students of Liberty.
April 22, 2019
At Student Activities, one of our four values is Cultural Engagement. We define cultural engagement as “encouraging the university to appreciate, discern and critique various aspects of arts and entertainment, discouraging retreatment from or passive consumption of cultural products.” Something that has begun to shape my lifestyle as I further try to engage in culture is how I can live sustainably to be a better steward of the earth. As Christians, we have a responsibility to maintain the earth wisely, lovingly and thoughtfully. Passive consumption is typically used to define how entertainment is consumed, but it can also be attributed to passively consuming the culture that defines our lifestyles. As believers, we should question what companies are doing and what we are consuming apart from entertainment. Christ has entrusted us with this earth, and we should be held responsible for the active or passive consumption of this planet.
Christ has called us to be stewards of the environment. In Genesis 1:28 He commands Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” My concern lies in my belief that we are turning away from this responsibility that Christ has given us. We are misusing this precious gift from Him. I am guilty of not being a steward of this earth, but rather an exploiter of it. I live a life full of excess, while Christ calls us to a life with only an excess of Him.
Every day, there are small steps we can take to live a simpler life to develop ourselves as stewards of the earth. Three simple ways I challenge myself to live a more thoughtful lifestyle begins with first thinking consciously about the clothes I wear. Fast fashion is an epidemic in the marketplace, and Millennials are twice as likely as baby boomers to toss clothing because it is unfashionable or they are bored of wearing it. Fast fashion companies don’t care how clothing is manufactured, instead they want to churn out new trends every week to ensure that consumers are buying as much clothing possible, as quickly as possible. Let’s change the statistic as Millennials and aim to buy second-hand clothes when possible, support sustainable clothing brands when possible, and donate our used or unwanted clothing.
Another simple way is to use re-usable water cups, bottle, and mugs. 500 billion disposable cups are used every year; specifically, there are 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups used every year. Styrofoam cannot be completely recycled, and most Styrofoam will stay in landfills for over a hundred years. We all love our local coffee shops, and a simple way to contribute to stewarding this planet is by bringing your own re-usable cup or mug. Some Lynchburg coffee shops even give you a discount off your purchase for bringing in your own cup!
My favorite way that we as college students can take steps towards responsible consumption is using re-usable bags at the grocery store. As Americans, we go through 100 billion plastic bags a year, which takes 12 billion barrels of oil to manufacture. The next time you see a Student Activities promotional shift grab one of our tote bags, and use it for your next Target run!
The key to taking responsibility for our role in being a steward of God’s creation is to simply be conscious of what we do and how our actions contribute to the preservation or destruction of the earth. As Christians, we should become involved in building sustainable industries and businesses that put environmental sustainability at the forefront. Ultimately, the earth belongs to God and He has given us this responsibility to take care of His precious creation. We must shift our attitudes to take on this responsibility while actively engaging in appreciating, consuming, and enjoying the earth.
Written by: Kay Torres
Kay thinks our blog is such an awesome way to engage the student body beyond events. She is lucky to get to be a part of a team that cares about engaging different perspectives and the world we live in!
April 17, 2019
My childhood was “normal” in the best way: it was filled with beautiful moments with my family. I was always going to amusement parks, hitting the road to places like the Grand Canyon, and I had every opportunity to try any sport I wanted. Life was generally full of bliss. I never lacked an imagination and was always exposed to new experiences.
As I was growing up, those childlike rose-colored lenses began to change shades. Eventually, by the age of seventeen, my lenses had changed to an entirely different color and I no longer saw the world the same. We each reach that moment in life, whether we are far too young to be forced into a dark world or we don’t experience evil until we are adults.
I grew up in church and was very familiar with how the Christian faith was played out within the context of four walls. A month before I graduated from high school, I received news that my youth pastor was resigning from his position for reasons I could not know. A world I once knew was shattered in a quick moment and I wasn’t sure how to handle each emotion that came flooding into my body. All of the youth in my church were told we were not allowed to speak to him or have any contact with him at all. Confusion and the sense of loss started to creep in to each of our minds. How could a person be in our life one moment and gone in the next, yet still be alive?
Eventually, more information was unintentionally exposed and I found out why he was forced to resign. He had an emotional affair with a student. It was so hard to swallow that news, and I imagine that is because we, as the Church, can sometimes become numb to affairs. The Christian Church isn’t always the best at handling affairs, fraud, and countless other scandals. My point in this is not to simply talk about pastors and accuse them of doing wrong over the years. My point is to discuss spiritual trauma.
Spiritual trauma can happen at the hands of leaders but also between church attendees. The stories I have heard over the years, ones I will not share because they are not mine to expose, are incredibly horrific. I am sure many of you can use your imagination or watch the news to find out the countless heartbreaking stories that have unfolded in the Church. Suffering and trauma in the Church is one of the most underexposed and least discussed issues from the pulpit.
Trauma is when experience in your life creates some kind of distress or disturbance. I was not aware of my spiritual trauma until years after the experience occurred. I can vividly remember sitting in my room with my best friend from church and going through all the different encounters we had with the youth pastor. Each memory we would share, would end with “wow, that was so inappropriate”, and at the end we felt like victims. Spiritual trauma is difficult to work through and you may never have the desire to return to a community of believers. You may have walked away from Jesus and be terrified to enter back into that life, but I encourage you to seek healing. The process of healing is so important and is something I hope churches across the world begin to implement into their communities.
Seek a form of healing that works for you and can push you toward restoration. Of course, I hope you can find reconciliation with God if that relationship was strained from the trauma, but there are many other ways to find healing. Clinical counseling, which is speaking with a trained professional on how to take steps to unpack and heal from the trauma, is so important. For me, I chose active ways to heal because my trauma and stress are usually driven somatically, so physical healing was important to me. I chose to start practicing yoga, meditation and to find time outside where I can feel at peace but also experience the power of God. Reconnection to the power of the Creator was important for me to believe that God was still good in every hurt that was inflicted by an individual claiming the name of Jesus. For me, I knew I needed to take active approaches toward healing my soul and cleansing my relationship with the Church. I hope after reading this you find yourself taking a step toward healing or helping a friend or loved one seek restoration from spiritual trauma.
Written by: Marissa Kusayanagi
Marissa is a Southern California girl that loves spending time in the sun and talking about the injustices in the world. Her passions include: fighting for women’s rights, serving people in underdeveloped countries and traveling the world. She hopes that the blogs she writes will teach you something new or open your mind to a world that you have never experienced.
April 16, 2019
It’s no secret that Coffeehouse is our favorite event here at Student Activities. It’s the event we work on all semester, bringing attendees the best set designs/photo ops, graphics, acts and videos. Here are the top five reasons we loved this Coffeehouse!
Did anyone else have all the feelings this past Saturday night? From the SA intro video all the way until The Capitals wrapped up the event with “Party in the USA”, each act, video and emcee moment brought back a flood of memories. When The McGuire’s performed “What Dreams Are Made Of” from The Lizzie McGuire Movie, I was immediately taken back to the green couch in my Jacksonville, Florida, home, where I used to sit when I was about 10. I would watch Hilary Duff act and sing and look up to her in the way that today’s college generation probably looked up to Selena Gomez or Demi Lovato growing up. There is no doubt that a lot of people felt these same emotions at some point during the show.
Our team worked for months on the set designs around the concourse so that when guests arrived at the show, they would feel like they were walking into Disney World. Some of the scene highlights were Mary Poppins, Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Hannah Montana, Star Wars, and many more. Walking around and seeing attendees take photos at the scenes is the reason why we work so hard on them for so long – we want people to have places where they can create memories for years to come.
- CROWD INTERACTION
The audience was fired up for this show! Songs were sung along to, and if they weren’t sung along to it was because the crowd was soaking in every moment. A favorite of the night was “Beauty and the Beast”, performed by Matt and Sammi. People basically gave the duo a standing ovation before the song was over! And for other songs like “This Is Me” from Camp Rock, performed by The Final Jam, everyone was singing along at the top of their lungs. Those moments are the type that are remembered for years to come.
- DISNEY CHARACTERS
One of our favorite parts of Coffeehouse this year was having princesses from Royal Princesses VA greeting people as they entered the doors. The princesses added a little bit of magic to the night by taking photos with people at scenes and entrances. They didn’t break character once, even when we met them at the beginning of the night! They took a piece of Disney and brought it to Lynchburg and it made the Coffeehouse experience that much better.
- DREAMS CAME TRUE
Aside from making people’s dreams come true through the show itself, our dream boards were placed at the front and back of the concourse, and we had Post It notes for guests to write their dreams on. At the end of the night, our supervisors chose a few dreams to grant, giving away AirPods and hundreds of dollars in gift cards. We had so much fun spreading happiness by making people’s dreams come true.
As always, we love spring Coffeehouses for their originality and freedom with the theme. This was one of our department’s personal favorite themes, and we could tell that attendees felt the same way. Until Christmas Coffeehouse!
Written by: Erin Diaz Cleveland
Erin is an assistant director of Student Activities and oversees our Event Staff, various concerts and events, social media, and the blog.
April 5, 2019
It’s finally here – OUR FIRST PODCAST!
The SA podcast, or “SA Conversations”, has been a long time coming for us, and we’re so excited to finally debut it. We’ll be sitting down with an array of interesting people, including (but not limited to) SA staff, student artists we love, and more.
Erin Cleveland (Assistant Director) and Marissa Kusayanagi (Event Supervisor) sat down with Steph Ward, our fearless Director of SA. It was important to us that we started our podcast with Steph. She oversees our whole team, manages all of the event planning for our department, and continues to push us towards making Student Activities bigger and better year after year.
On the podcast, we discuss topics such as Steph’s favorite event to work, how she made it through grad school while working full time, the Enneagram, and the best parts about working with your best friends. We actually kick off the conversation by discussing for a whole minute how Steph never gets sick, and cottage cheese slips its way in at around minute 38. Only the most important topics to cover!
We hope you listen and, please, let us know what you want to hear more of – we’re libertysa on social media and firstname.lastname@example.org for all of your email needs. Enjoy!
Our podcast score was written and recorded by Judd Harris.
April 4, 2019
There are endless opportunities at Liberty University to try something new or find community, but what you might not know is a lot of the activities on campus are part of Campus Recreation. Campus Recreation started as Ultimate LU, which offered video game tournaments, intramural sports, and other various events. The department has grown tremendously from a humble beginning to having thousands of participants each year. Campus Recreation continues to push itself to offer the ever-changing student body of Liberty University exciting and interesting opportunities.
This is the first year that Campus Recreation includes popular and new departments like: SnowFlex, Liberty Mountain Gun Club, Liberty Skate Park and Liberty Equestrian. Student Activities, Outdoor Recreation, Intramurals and Rec Centers have been part of Campus Recreation for years and are so excited for all the new departments that joined. Campus Rec Fest will include activities put on by eight different departments with new competitions, artists, and tournaments for students. There will be opportunities for engaging workshops, a chance for students to show off their own talents, and a chance to make new memories with friends.
I asked one of the lead designers, Kari Moye, to offer insight on the creative process behind the overall aesthetic of Campus Rec Fest. She shared how multiple designers from various departments of Campus Recreation, all contributed ideas to the appearance of the festival. As she continued to share the process she said something that stuck out to me, which was that “the designers came together, as a group, to create an idea that reflected each diverse department”. Each department that is part of Campus Recreation is different than the other, which shows how CR is intentional about providing opportunities for every unique student. Kari mentioned how each photo that is part of the Campus Rec Fest design expresses a student participating in a physical activity. Campus Recreation provides connection between community and active interactions for the student body of Liberty University. All of us at Campus Rec understand that students sit at a desk or in the library a majority of their time, and we strive to offer each individual a physical activity and community they can enjoy.
We (at Campus Recreation) are so thrilled to offer the first Campus Rec Fest at Liberty University and hope you all participate in the countless activities the weekend of April 26-27! Make sure you check out the Campus Rec Fest website for all information and schedules. We cannot wait to see you there!
Written by: Marissa Kusayanagi
Marissa is a Southern California girl that loves spending time in the sun and talking about the injustices in the world. Her passions include: fighting for women’s rights, serving people in underdeveloped countries and travelling the world. She hopes that the blogs she writes will teach you something new or open your mind to a world that you have never experienced.
April 1, 2019
Let’s talk money and finances. If you’re like me and 70% of college students who aren’t comfortable discussing anything dealing with finances, the first sentence of this post brought stress upon you when you read it. Money is so personal and creates vulnerability within our relationships. Even spouses have difficulty talking about it; research by Fidelity Investments found that 43% of Americans don’t even know their spouse’s salary. Talking about money and finances from a general overview can be a difficult, uncomfortable topic, but as Christians, these conversations are necessary to understanding how something seemingly destructive can actually be one of the most powerful tools God has given us. The creation of money completely changed the landscape for human interaction by slowly moving humanity towards a current state of impersonal transactions mediated by its exchange. With this amount of control, a greater amount of stress arises that can take a toll on not just us, but also our relationships with everyone around us. Yet, if approached from a biblical standing, we can learn to change our view of money and finances to reflect God not only in the church but in our culture as a whole.
Even though Jessie J tells us “it’s not about the money, money, money,” I disagree with her. Growing up, I was always taught that money wasn’t important to Christians. This principle was reinforced by my parents, my school, and my church. Whenever money would slip into a class or sermon, it always revolved around the unimportance of it – telling me not to worry about it and to just leave it alone. I understood every time what they wanted us to learn, the underlying theme of the message being: “Money leads to greed, envy, and other sins that will pull you from God and others around you.” And of course, they always served this dish up with 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” I agree that money has the power to corrupt someone and can lead to all sorts of evil, but I think God, in His goodness, intended for money to be a way to glorify Him. In 1 Corinthians 10:26, Paul writes, “For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” So how do we take these two verses and unite their meanings? The key is the first four words of 1 Timothy 6:10 – “for the love of.” When I look back at when I was taught at school or church about money, the first part was not nearly emphasized as much as it needed to be. The lack of emphasis on those words engrained in me that money was evil.
What if those lessons were different among my school and church? Instead of a constant bash on money, what if a class was offered that taught high schoolers basic financial skills needed to go into college or the workforce from a biblical perspective? Dave Ramsey is a personal money management expert who has helped millions of people better understand a biblical approach to finance. Ramsey is changing the way Christians deal with money. I highly recommend his books, radio show, and podcasts. One of the most basic principles he will tell you to remember is that you don’t own any of your personal finances – God does. As Christians, we need to be a manager of God’s money, spending or saving it in the way He desires. It is our heart behind our financial actions that determines whether money is a powerful tool for God or for evil. We should remove ourselves as the main part of God’s financial picture and allow Him to guide our spending/saving for His glory.
The importance of money also changed cultural landscapes when first created. During a Q Talk by Andy Crouch, he talks about three different revolutions that have changed society and culture forever. The first he talks about is the financial revolution, which shifted wealth from being found in relationships to being found in money. The example Crouch gives is a visit to Wawa, and he breaks down buying a snack to show how impersonal modern transactions are. When Crouch purchased his snack, he didn’t have to know the cashier’s name or even make eye contact with them; nevertheless, Wawa got the money they wanted, and Crouch got the snack he came for.
Money has been able to change culture gradually. As Crouch says, the creation of money was a trade of “personhood for power.” Instead of people finding wealth solely in relationships with the people they know, we are now able to acquire and possess wealth through money. As Christians, this is a part of money and culture that we can resist against and use as an opportunity to represent God. In a world where people can be impersonal, we have an opportunity to show God’s love by recognizing personhood over what Crouch refers to as power. This doesn’t mean you have to proclaim the Gospel when buying Chipotle or your next coffee. It’s simply taking time to talk to people. When you’re at the register, it doesn’t have to be an awkward minute waiting for the transaction to go through; you can use it as an opportunity to ask the cashier how their day is going. Make the effort to prioritize personhood over power.
Crouch, in his example of how money changed culture, only talks about interactions with a cashier, but whether we realize it or not, all our relationships have a financial exchange somehow interwoven to a degree. I’m not saying that our relationships are dependent on it by any means, but money plays a part in them, and we need to understand how it can affect us and others.
Money is the second most common reason for divorces. In 2015, the American Psychological Association (APA) conducted a study finding 64% of Americans said finances were a significant source of stress in their lives. America’s Debt Help Organization found that debt can lead to fear, panic, anger, and depression. It’s no question that stressful financial situations will hinder our mental health. Payoff, a personal loan company, conducted a financial health survey and found 23% of respondents were experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of personal finances. Fortunately, we serve a God who can bring us through any situation if we rely on Him. Most of us will face periods of financial stress in our lives in some shape or form that will force us to either rely on God or try and figure out how to navigate it on our own, which will cause more strife.
Another way to help combat these issues is emotional support. This ties back into the way money has changed culture and created impersonal exchanges among people. It can play a part in loneliness and be a part of people’s mental health issues. To combat the impersonality and loneliness money can bring, we need to surround ourselves with trusted individuals to be open and honest with in times of financial stress. The ability to be in trusted fellowship with people, especially when it comes personal finances, is something from God. We can use this opportunity for community to build each other up and glorify Him.
Money can be a difficult topic to discuss in any setting and is such a complex topic to try and fit into a couple of paragraphs. We must be willing to have the tough conversations to better understand the way money can glorify Him. Let’s change the conversation from money being evil to how money can grow God’s kingdom.
Written by: Andrew Reynolds
Andrew is a Junior Project Management Major, and enjoys writing for the blog because of the opportunity it gives him to grow as a writer and to challenge himself to see current topics and discussions from a view point he may not have otherwise thought about.