Return of the King: Former campus pastor greets students at Campus Community

Walking into a dimly lit Vines Center on a Wednesday night at 7 p.m. was a new experience for many.  

Campus Community nights are always talked so highly of and are considered a must-attend for freshmen. That being said, Sept. 7 was still a first time for some returning students.

The Vines Center went dark, and smoke began to swirl on the small square stage. People stood up, the sound system began to blare and spotlights flashed through the air. Students were immediately immersed into an experience they will never forget. 

Liberty University welcomed New Springs’ Pastor Clayton King to speak on “The Doctrine of Salvation.” The South Carolinian pastor, who was Liberty’s campus pastor from 2008 to 2014, had an interesting experience in coming to accept Jesus in his life. His story involved King as a middle schooler, a 15-year-old girl named Barbara, the backseat of a church van and the desire of a first kiss. 

“I didn’t end up kissing Barbara that night, but instead, I met Jesus,” King said.

After an eruption of claps and cheers, King hushed the crowd and continued to explain what the Bible says about salvation. He answered questions like “What are we saved from?”, “What are we saved for?”, “How are we saved?” and “What is required for us?”

Students engaged in King’s message with notetaking and fellowship between friends. King spoke biblical truth that echoed throughout the Vines Center and called the student body to live out this year’s Campus Community theme of “Odd Faith.” King mentioned that the joy Jesus brings you should stand out so much that it would leave people thinking you’re “odd.” 

Clayton King speaks at Campus Community in the Vines Center on September 7th 2022. (Photo by Chase Reed),

“So, when you walk into a room, you light a room up, not because you got a great personality, but because you belong to Jesus of Nazareth, and when He comes in to take residence, He… changes you from the inside out,” King said.

Many students felt called to personal change after hearing King speak. Student staff member Bella Bartlett said she experienced an urge to work on her personal walk with God and always feels inspired after going to Campus Community. 

“I thought the message tonight was amazing,” Bartlett said. “It was a very clear representation of what the gospel is. It focuses us and explains why we’re here. Campus Community is my favorite time of the week because it’s full of people who want to be here, so the Spirit is different.  Plus, the worship is so genuine.” 

Not only did King cultivate a positive atmosphere, but the Worship Collective did as well. Performing songs like “My King Forever” and “How I Need You” that touched on what it means to let Jesus truly save you brought a revival to the hearts of Liberty students. Student Christian Sorensen mentioned what made Campus Community special to him. 

“Everyone should come to Campus Community,” Sorenson said. “The community that you get here, and the worship is really great. You get to hear from so many influential speakers that you may never get to hear from ever again.”

After the message, King prayed the prayer of salvation over the audience, and the whole crowd stood and cheered as 100 Liberty students accepted Christ. The claps and cries could be heard from all sides of the Vines Center, and 100 lives were completely changed that night. 

Wallace is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion

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