February 23, 2018 : By Drew Menard - Liberty University News Service
Liberty University wrapped up its biannual Global Focus Week and kicked off College For A Weekend (CFAW) by welcoming church planter and pastor of the Las Vegas-based Hope Church Vance Pitman, who inspired students during Convocation to embrace God’s call for their lives and engage with other cultures.
(View a gallery of Global Focus Week events below.)
Before he spoke, Pitman thanked students for generously contributing more than $10,000 toward his church’s outreach efforts following the mass shooting last October in Las Vegas.
Pitman recalled the great presence of God, as described in Acts, in the early church in the ancient city of Antioch. He said 120 of Jesus Christ’s earliest followers preached to the gentiles of the city, starting a movement of more than 500,000 believers.
“Do you believe God can still do something like that today?” Pitman asked the crowd. “Because the same God that was sitting on the throne in Acts is the same one who is sitting on the throne today.”
He told students to not get discouraged because they aren’t best-selling authors or world-renowned Christian speakers, but reminded them that God can use them to change the world, no matter their vocation or field of study.
Though the early Christians were pushed into Antioch through persecution, Pitman said that they embraced their condition and made the best of their circumstances.
He related this to students’ lives, telling them that their true purpose is to spread the Gospel in all walks of life, not just when it is convenient or “feels right.”
“God is going to call some of you to leave your job and join in His mission globally, but that’s not going to be the call for most of you,” Pitman said. “But here’s the call for all of you: to leverage your job for the mission of God.”
Pitman said the church needs to better prioritize preaching the Gospel across cultural and geographical boundaries.
“As the Church of Jesus Christ, we have done a great disservice to the mission of Jesus and to our society by allowing Sunday mornings to remain the most segregated aspect of our culture,” Pitman said to a cheering audience. “It’s time that we as the church unlock the (barriers) to multicultural, multiethnic expressions of the Gospel.”
As part of Liberty’s continual and intentional drive to encourage engagement with other cultures, students attended a number of globally inspired events for Global Focus Week, including Taste of Nations, where foods from countries all over the world were served, and a Global Refugee Response panel discussion, where students heard from a Rwandan refugee and from Ken Isaacs, vice president of programs and government relations for Samaritan’s Purse. Isaacs is Donald Trump’s choice to lead the International Organization for Migration.
The past two Global Focus Weeks at Liberty emphasized the African nation of Rwanda as part of Liberty’s new G5 initiative. Students, faculty, and staff have been interacting with the culture and arts of Rwanda over the past year in order to create a large, lasting impact within the country.
Pitman noted that it is only through this kind of cultural awareness and active involvement in foreign nations that Christians are able to cross cultural barriers to unify the body of Christ as God.
“We can begin sharing God’s mission right where we are, but we cannot fulfill our responsibility to God’s mission globally without crossing barriers socially, racially, linguistically, and geographically,” he said.