Greear to students: 'Follow Jesus' call'

by Chris Doyle/Baptist Messenger, posted Thursday, August 22, 2019 (one month ago)

DAVIS, Okla. -- J.D. Greear has experience preaching to college students.

SBC President J.D. Greear spoke for the first time at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center in Davis, Okla., Aug. 6 during Collegiate Week.
Photo by Chris Doyle
The church he pastors -- The Summit Church in Durham, N.C. -- has a reputation of drawing many collegians from the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area. The current president of the Southern Baptist Convention seemed like a natural fit to speak at Collegiate Week, which Greear did Aug. 6. This was the second consecutive year Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center in Davis, Okla., hosted Collegiate Week, Aug. 4-8. LifeWay Christian Resources sponsors the event.

This also was the first time Greear has preached at Falls Creek. Greear shared about how his church started with many college students attending, which meant "attendance grew but offerings declined." He noted that one college student placed a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit in the offering plate one Sunday morning.

One encouraging aspect that Greear mentioned about pastoring many college-age church members is their willingness to serve and give of their time, which has helped him and other leaders of Summit Church set a goal of planting 1,000 churches around the world. He said he challenges his college graduates to plan their first two years of professional life to be involved in one of these church plants.

He gave a similar challenge to those attending Collegiate Week. He urged them to be involved in ministry, regardless of their professional aspirations.

"When you accepted the call to follow Jesus, you were called into ministry," Greear told students at Falls Creek's R.A. Young Tabernacle. "The call to leverage your life for the Great Commission was included in the call to follow Jesus."

Preaching from the Book of Acts, Greear explained how all Christians, regardless of their position or reputation, can be used by the Holy Spirit.

"The Book of Acts is just a story of ordinary people who obeyed the Holy Spirit, as He put words in their mouths," Greear said. "Following the Holy Spirit can accomplish more than all the talent in the world can accomplish in 10,000 lifetimes."

Greear also challenged attendees to make the Gospel the priority message in their service.

"You want to give shoes, dig wells and help people with cancer, and that's great," Greear said. "Don't forget about the most important and the most devastating suffering of all. And that is people are dying without Jesus Christ."

'From all over'

Collegiate Week draws students and leaders from churches, Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) and other campus ministries "from all over North America, Canada, Hawaii and most states in between," said Bill Noe, LifeWay national collegiate ministry specialist who serves as program director of Collegiate Week.

This year's event offered approximately 75 breakout sessions that students could attend throughout the five-day event. Noe said the breakouts were designed to help prepare students for different ministry aspects that appear at college today.

Next year's Collegiate Week is schedule to return to Falls Creek, Aug. 2-6.

Chris Doyle is managing editor of the Baptist Messenger (baptistmessenger.com), newsjournal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
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