Summary: The vision and intentional evangelism of Liberty University.
A UNIVERSITY TO CHANGE THE WORLD
“And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:8-10).
Liberty University was begun by Thomas Road Baptist Church. And just as Thomas Road is not a normal church, so Liberty University is not a normal university. By normal I mean “the way things are normally done.” Technically, every church should do what Thomas Road tries to do, i.e., do everything it can to reach the world. But many churches don’t have a world-vision, and sadly, neither do many Christian colleges/universities. Because Jesus commanded to “preach the gospel to every creature,” and He commanded, “make disciples,” both the church and University can do nothing less than attempt to reach the world for Christ, then change it.
Overview of five ways Liberty can
change the world.
1. By actual intentional evangelism by students.
2. By revival.
3. By equipped students who go out to plant, build and evangelize new churches like Thomas Road.
4. By mission outreach of its staff and faculty.
5. By conferences, training sessions, classes, books; and today, e-mail, fax and all media.
1. LIBERTY CAN TOUCH THE WORLD BY ACTUAL INTENTIONAL EVANGELISM BY ITS STUDENTS.
Thomas Road Baptist Church really began to focus on the world when we accepted saturation evangelism as a strategy for our local church. That became the marching order of Thomas Road. I define saturation evangelism, “using every available means to reach every available person, at every available time.” Therefore, I felt a mandate to use television, radio, the printing press, telephone, and advertisement to get the Gospel out to every person. First, in Lynchburg then Virginia; then to the United States and ultimately to the world. And if we’re going to help saturate the world, why not change the world?
I want to remind you of three things about evangelism done by Liberty students. First, you have done evangelism and soul-winning around the world. When I began to name the places where student teams have gone, it staggers my mind (this list was prepared by those who went to these places): Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the South China Sea, Hawaii, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Red China, Fiji, Samoa, India, Russia, the Holy Land, Rhodesia (now called Zimbabwe), Union of South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, France, Germany, Romania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Ukraine, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Canada, Mexico, all the countries of Central America, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Peru, plus the islands of the Caribbean, Haiti, Jamaica, Nassau; and the list goes on and on.
But there is a second way students have done evangelism. You have done soul-winning while here at Liberty. I can’t tell you how many students have won their parents to Jesus Christ. In our very first graduation service, a young man from Atlanta had his father and mother sitting in the balcony. The parents had arrived separately to see him graduate because they were divorced. Both of them came forward after Dr. Criswell gave the Invitation and met at the altar to get saved. I didn’t have the privilege of re-marrying them, but one of my close pastor friends in Atlanta did.
And don’t forget a third way you’ve done intentional evangelism. In the early days, we dismissed the school for the entire week and all the students got involved in evangelism. There were 154 students in the first class and they were involved in one of the greatest evangelistic crusades we ever had at Thomas Road Baptist Church in November, 1971. Listen to how we did it. We phoned every person in the Lynchburg phone directory **[tell how you cut apart the phone book and got volunteers to phone everyone, even the bars]**. We placed flyers under the windshield wipers of every car in the city and on all the streetlight poles. We put posters in every store in the city. We knocked on every door on Saturday to invite people to the crusade. We ran a full-page ad in the Lynchburg News and Advance on Thursday, Friday and Saturday before the crusade began. We ran 60 advertising spots on Channel 13, and we ran 60 ads on every one of the thirteen radio stations in Lynchburg. I offered a brand new Scofield Bible to the student who brought the most to the evangelistic crusade. Steve Wingfield brought 258 visitors, that’s what made him a great evangelist in America, and now he can fill a 5,000 seat tent.