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IMB president implores students to bring the Gospel to the unreached

The Children of the World choir performed in Wednesday’s Convocation as part of Global Focus Week at Liberty University.

Students are being urged to think outside of their own cities and cultures — more than usual — as Liberty University holds its semiannual Global Focus Week. Convocation on Wednesday morning was no exception, as a glowing world map scrolled across screens behind the stage, illuminating the Children of the World choir as they sang and danced, proclaiming God’s goodness. The performance also served as a reminder of the need for child sponsors to help those in underdeveloped nations overcome hardships.

Then, David Platt, president of the International Mission Board (IMB), poured out an emotional message, pleading with the packed arena of students to rethink their priorities as Christians.

David Nasser, Liberty’s senior vice president for spiritual development, introduced Platt, noting that he observed firsthand Platt’s passion to see the world transformed. Nasser previously served as a pastor in Birmingham, Alabama, where Platt was also a pastor. Nasser also reminded students that Wednesday night following Campus Community there will be an information meeting for students interested in LU Send Now, Liberty’s new disaster relief initiative that was launched last week. The meeting will begin at 9 p.m. at Thomas Road Baptist Church.

Platt, who is also the author of “Radical,” “Counter Culture,” and other titles, explained that there are approximately 2.8 billion people, about 6,500 people groups, who do not have access to the Gospel.

“The concept of the unreached should be intolerable to us as a church,” he cried.

As he lashed out poignant reminders of the reality of life without Christ, Platt challenged the audience to consider stepping out and sharing the Gospel in places it has never been preached. He urged listeners to abandon stereotypical perceptions of serving overseas, noting that any Christian in any career can — and should — be an ambassador for Christ to the nations. While countries may not want preachers to work in their boarders, many willingly accept incoming teachers, doctors, and engineers — and Christians with these skills can meet physical needs, and find opportunities to minister to spiritual ones.

“I look at this arena, full of followers of Christ who are getting a world-class education in all sorts of different (areas),” he said. “And I’m pleading for you to leverage this education, to leverage your degree to get the Gospel to people who have never heard it. To open your life up to the possibility that the default might not be getting a degree and getting a job here in this country where you can coast out your Christian life in a nice, comfortable Christian spin on the American dream. I’m pleading for you to see that your life was made for much more than that.”

Platt reminded the audience of the power of the Gospel and what it has done for each of them.

“God has chosen to pay the price for our sins,” he said. “He has taken the punishment we are due. Not only that, He died for our sins and then He rose from the dead. … This is the greatest news in all of the world. Death has been defeated, eternal life is possible for everyone who just trusts in Jesus.”

Considering the transformative effect this has on lives, Platt asked, “How can we not then make it our own mission to get the Gospel to (the unreached)?”

In a closing prayer, Platt urged students to surrender their lives to God’s will regardless of where it leads.

“Say to God, ‘Here’s my life, here’s my gifts, my degree, my education, my skills, everything I’ve got, my future. You use me however You want to get the Gospel to people who have never heard it,’” he said.

Throughout Global Focus Week, students have opportunities to interact with international organizations and experience world cultures. Booths are set up in the Jerry Falwell Library all week to facilitate conversations between students and representatives of the IMB, WorldHelp, Samaritan’s Purse, Christar, and more. Events include an international chocolate tasting in the library from 2-4 p.m. on Wednesday, an international tea and coffee break in the library from 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, and a world music fest, featuring a variety of music and dance performances on the Vines Center lawn from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday. Visit the Center for Global Engagement’s website for the full schedule.