Jonathan Falwell speaks in Liberty University’s first convocation of the 2020-2021 school year, emphasizes original mission: Training Champions for Christ

Jonathan Falwell, senior pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church and younger brother of Jerry Falwell Jr., and acting President Dr. Jerry Prevo, opened the fall convocation season by strongly emphasized the original mission of the university: to train champions for Christ. 

The leaders spoke to viewers through a new livestream format that all residential students are required to watch in place of the normal in-person gathering inside the Vines Center, which is undergoing construction. 

Pastor David Nasser, Senior Vice President for Spiritual Development  opened  the online gathering by greeting students as they joined the livestream service, addressing recent events that have happened in the U.S. and around the world since the university’s last convocation in March. 

Pastor Nasser passed the screen over to acting President Prevo who addressed the student body for the first time. 

“For almost 50 years, this university has been a beacon of light in a world of darkness and we are very excited to continue our mission for yet another year,” Prevo said. “I want to reassure the entire Liberty University family that we’re committed to the spiritual and academic mission we began almost 50 years ago.”

Acting President Jerry Prevo speaks in Convocation on Wednesday, August 25. (Photo by Joel Coleman)

The convocation transitioned from Prevo to Pastor Jonathan Falwell, who led a sermon aimed at the student body.

“I want to spend a few moments talking with you about the important things that we can take from God’s word that can help us in these moments,” Jonathan Falwell said. 

Jonathan Falwell presented a lesson over 1 Thessalonians chapter 2, instructing students how to live under opposition by living emboldened lives that never neglect to share the Gospel of Christ.  

“Every moment in your life is an opportunity to preach, so we must recognize that opposition must not stop impact,” Jonathan Falwell said.

As Jonathan Falwell spoke on the passage, he asserted  that although opposition cannot stop impact, temptation can, encouraging students to not allow temptation to destroy their mission and purpose for Christ. He concluded the sermon by emphasizing the university’s original mission and purpose: to train champion for Christ. 

“(My father, Jerry Falwell Sr.) always said the most important thing isn’t that you learn the stuff, but you have an ultimate calling, duty and responsibility to be faithful to God’s call, not simply to be faithful to what the world says for you,” Jonathan Falwell said. “Don’t allow your journey to get sidetracked and don’t allow your journey and life to fall victim to the noise and the distraction that is everywhere.” 

The first convocation finished  with a conversation between Pastor Nasser and Dr. Keith Anderson, executive director of student health and wellness, who briefly overviewed the university’s COVID-19 rules, guidelines and protocol for students and faculty. 

Hattie Troutman is the editor-in-chief of the Liberty Champion. Follow her on Twitter @hattrout


  • May God bless LU Leaders, it’s staff and especially it’s students during this trying time. I am praying for you, the Falwell family immediate and extended as I know this is a difficult time. As I worked for Dr. Falwell through the years in one role or another It was evident his heart and souls desire was to groom CHAMPIONS FOR CHRIST, to spread the gospel to this hurting, dying world by educating people who would find thier passion and calling while getting that education at LU! God is going to bless LU and you will continue to accomplish the mission Dr. Falwell invisioned the day he made his dream reality!

  • Jerry Falwell, Jr., should not be rewarded for his hypocrisy, immorality, discrimination, or mismanagement of Liberty University’s safety and finances. I am askIng that the school’s Board of Trustees hold Falwell in breach of contract and deny him the $10.5 MILLION severance pay or golden parachute!
    Think of the students that money could educate!

    • Peter A Marotta, Jr

      I agree with Ms Simmons. So often the world rewards their minions by giving promotions and pay raises following a severe violation of their “code of conduct” or the “guidelines”. It makes a mockery of the trust we put into our governing institution. Let not LU cast the same shadow by rewarding Mr Falwall’s FALIURE to be the example of what LU stands for. Yes he wasnt called to be a pastor, he was called to a higher calling. Set the example to the school staff, body and the world watching whether he will be rewarded for doing the Devil’s work

    • Has Jonathan Falwell made a public statement condemning the hypocritical behavior of his brother Jerry? I have no doubt his father would have dealt with him swiftly and promised to restore Liberty University as a place to train champions for Christ who are led by teachers and administrators who are champions for Christ.

      Jonathan needs to make a strong direct statement and not dance around the issue!

  • This former University President brought shame upon himself, his family and the University. His wanton acts aught not to be rewarded with millions of dollars, I personally would not send my son or daughter to a University that would take that tuition payment and use it to pay this man.

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