Faith & Service

We The Faithful

October 11, 2017

Each story in this special feature section demonstrates a tenet of the “We The Champions” Declaration, part of a university-wide project that aims to tell the world how Liberty is fulfilling its mission of Training Champions for Christ.

We The Champions: Affirm our Tradition of Unwavering Faith

At a Wednesday night church service in January 1971, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Central Virginia, an impassioned preacher shared a dream with his congregation. Preaching from 2 Timothy, he asked them to catch his vision of training future leaders who would leave undeniable marks on the world. The pathway to achieving this dream, he believed, would be higher education.

“Young people are the hope of our nation and our world,” he said. “I believe we have a sacred obligation to provide thousands of young people with a solid Christian education. Let us dedicate ourselves tonight to starting a college with the goal of seeing thousands of young men and women, deeply in love with the Lord Jesus Christ, who will go out in all walks of life to shake this world for God.”

President Jerry Falwell addresses the Class of 2017 at Commencement in May.

He envisioned an outstanding educational system that would keep Christian values at the forefront and not toss them aside like many of the country’s most prestigious institutions had done. While the college would rival the nation’s top universities in academic achievement and athletic prominence, it would also — most importantly — produce graduates who would cling to their faith and make it known through their life’s work.

The prayers prayed that winter night in 1971 were answered. By March, it was officially announced that a college would open in the fall. Even with no campus to call their own, 154 students showed up, willing to take a risk on this new venture — one that would become, in less than 50 years, the largest Christian university in the world.

Every new venture needs a singular vision and an inspiring and enduring phrase to describe it. The new college chose “Training Champions for Christ.” The first students knew they were becoming champions — not in the winning sense of the word, like a lone victor at the end of a competition, but as Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for impacting tomorrow’s world. They were becoming ambassadors, advocates, defenders — people who stand up for injustice and fight for change. They combined hard work, determination, and integrity to show compassion and bring healing to others.

Since 1971, over 350,000 Champions for Christ have followed in those early champions’ footsteps, united by the same original mission. And, as promised, the university has remained steadfast in its commitment to providing a world-class environment with Christian values. Now, the university flourishes in ways those first faithful dreamers only saw in their prayers. But their tradition of unwavering faith lives on today.

Ten years ago, that pastor laid down the mantle, and his son picked it up, building on the solid foundation, fulfilling the original vision, and leading the university to the national stage in academics and athletics. At Liberty, students are still championing one another, championing what is good in the world, and championing God’s name.

They are shaking the world as Champions for Christ.

Why Does Liberty’s Mission Matter?

Tell us in 1,000 words or less why Training Champions for Christ is still important today. Email your submission to WeTheChampions@localhost by Dec. 15 for the chance to win a $100 Visa gift card and have your poem, prose, or essay published in the Winter/Spring 2018 edition of the Liberty Journal.

Champion Award

Demonstrating champion-like characteristics and the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) is at the heart of both Liberty’s mission and the We The Champions project.

So central are these values to the university’s identity that a committee dedicated to maintaining the school’s unique culture was established to focus on the many ways these values are and can be integrated across campus. Celebrating those who embody these characteristics is one way Liberty will highlight its dedication to cultivating a Christ-centered culture.

Throughout the academic year, students, faculty, and staff will have the opportunity to nominate someone they feel is living out the character traits of a champion. One individual will receive The Champion Award each month, presented by Pastor David Nasser, chair of the unique culture committee, at Convocation. The award recipient will also be highlighted on the We The Champions website ( One of the nine Champion Award winners will be selected for an overall award presented during Commencement in May.

Who have you seen living like a champion? Email your nominations to WeTheChampions@localhost.

To be involved in the “We The Champions” project and read more inspiring stories from the Liberty community, visit and follow #WeTheChampions on social media.

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