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Faith In Focus

Sold out for the mission

By Dr. Scott Hicks, March 25, 2021

“He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” — Luke 10: 27

The two greatest Commandments appear in the Bible many times, and in Luke, Jesus reminds us of them just as He is about to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan in order to help us understand what should really drive us to live out our faith.

When people visit our campus, from parents to CEOs of major corporations, they often ask me what our mission, Training Champions for Christ, means. I always go back to this verse. It’s spoken before the parable because Jesus knows we can all end up being the three types of people in the story and, at some point, we must choose which one we will be in life. The meaning of our mission, therefore, is simple: as we train our students in their career fields, we teach them to become champions, people who choose to love God wholeheartedly and are sold out to serving Him with every fiber of their being.

I have seen and heard so many stories of our students being mindful of those around them, stopping to show love to their neighbors. At the library one day this semester, a student overheard another student, whom she didn’t know, calling home to tell her parents how she felt homesick and overwhelmed. Before she got off the phone, the other student slipped her an encouraging note with her number on it. This turned the student’s day around — maybe even her whole semester. At the School of Business, we recently welcomed a guest speaker, and after the class, students asked him if they could pray for him. One student asked if he could pray for his feet. I thought how strange that sounded until our guest told me that the student knelt down, touched his feet, and prayed for him, saying that as a business leader he had carried many burdens and needed God’s strength to hold him up. Our guest told me afterward: “I’ve never had that happen with a young person. I had hope in our country all of a sudden.” I thought: “Only at Liberty would that happen.”

These stories bring tears to my eyes. That’s when I know that, yes, we are training champions who are choosing to be sold out for Him.

So how do we go about creating this nurturing environment for our students while providing them an education that exceeds the expectations at any other university? To start, we don’t stumble into it — we’re deliberate. We have a plan, and that is the chief end of man: to glorify God through what we do. We deliver the Gospel through the vehicle of  education, helping our students understand there’s a Creator who died for them and loves them and has a plan for them, and if their plan is His plan, they will be blown away with how He uses them. Then we strive to do it with excellence through our people, starting by hiring key faculty who are focused on adding value to others.

Our faculty not only have to state on paper that they agree with our mission and sign up as a willing participant, but they have to share it out loud to a committee of peers. This group of faculty and staff from different academic departments will listen to the interviewee talk about their walk with God, then peel back their faith and ask them what they’re made of. This is an important part of protecting the mission of Liberty University.

God is certainly blessing us here through our personnel. The caliber of our faculty is phenomenal — we are not only drawing some of the top individuals in their fields, but we are gaining partners in the mission. Many of them have taken huge cuts in pay to be here, but they are here because they want to serve. They know our mission is bigger than anything they could acquire for themselves.

We view our jobs as a calling — and you will find that’s true for employees throughout this whole university. We believe this is God’s university and that by Training Champions for Christ we are bringing hope to a world in desperate need of His saving grace.

Dr. Scott Hicks is Liberty’s Provost and Chief Academic Officer. He has previously served as vice provost of graduate education and as dean of the School of Business. Prior to coming to Liberty, Hicks spent several years in the oil industry and served as director of retail operations for Mansfield Oil Company, one of America’s largest Forbes 400 companies.

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