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Christian Union: The Magazine
October 27, 2021

Christian Union Event Inspires Young Leaders

By Tom Campisi, Managing Editor

Students with Christian Union ministries at some of the nation’s most influential universities gathered virtually last spring for a Seeking God Lifestyle Seminar. For eight evenings, attendees heard inspiring teaching on topics ranging from repentance to revival, gathered in cohorts, and sought to draw closer to the Lord.

“The conference was a great opportunity to reflect upon some basic Christian principles and spend time in the Word of God,” said Isaiah Bledsoe. “I continue to make prayer and reading scripture a daily routine in my life. The Seeking God Lifestyle seminar affirmed that and gave me tools to do it even better.”

Bledsoe is a student leader with CU Nova at Princeton University, which had a total of eight attendees at the SGL seminar. The event included students from CU Libertas (Brown), CU Lumine (Columbia), CU Vita (Cornell), CU Vox (Dartmouth), CU Gloria (Harvard), CU Martus (Penn), and CU Caritas (Stanford).

“By hosting the virtual SGLS and the upcoming in-person (in-person) Spiritus Conference in May of 2022 at the Moody Center in Western Massachusetts, Christian Union is seeking to give student leaders vision and equip them to make an impact for Christ going into the next academic year,” said David Farrow, Associate Vice President of Christian Union Universities.

AA SGLThe opening night of the Seeking God Lifestyle Seminar featured a lecture by Dr. Wayne Grudem (top row, third from left)

The opening night of the SGLS featured a message from Wayne Grudem, Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix University. Grudem has published twenty-two books, including the acclaimed textbook, Systematic Theology. He was also the General Editor of the ESV Study Bible.

The title of Grudem’s SGLS message was “Does Obedience Matter?”

“Our love for God should result in obedience to his teachings,” he said. “Does obedience make any difference in the way God relates to us?” Grudem asked rhetorically in his opening remarks. “Does obedience bring God’s blessing to our lives? If so, how do we teach it while avoiding legalism?”

Grudem noted that there are hundreds of moral commands in the New Testament, including 1 Peter 3:10-11 (“Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil…”) and the words of Jesus in John 14:15 (“If you love me, you will keep my commandments”).

In his message entitled “The Five Greatest Moves of God in America,” Christian Union Founder and CEO Matt Bennett told SGLS attendees, “When the people of God return to Him and seek him as he requires, the Lord takes great delight, visits his people, and amazing things happen.”

Bennett gave brief summations of The Great Awakening (1730s and 40s), The Second Great Awakening (1801-1830s), the Businessman’s Revival (1857-58), the Pentecostal Awakening (1906), and the Jesus Movement (1960s and 70s).

“Through the ages you see these incredible moves of God,” he said. “It’s stunning the way the world has been radically changed because of the gospel.”

Bennett, noting the decline of Christianity in the United States in recent years, exhorted the students that “it doesn’t have to be like this forever—there is a basis for hope based on what has happened in American history.”

“We need an increased presence of God in our lives so that we can be close to Him, walk with Him, and fulfill every good thing he has for us. In James 4:8, the Bible says, ‘Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.’ ”

SGL seminar speakers and message titles from Christian Union staff included: Dr. Chuck Hetzler, executive director of Christian Union Day and Night (The Role of the Holy Spirit in Life and Ministry), Qwynn Gross, Princeton ministry fellow (The Voice in the Wilderness), Dr. Ben Pascut, Yale ministry director (Scripture Memorization), Chitra Kovoor, Yale ministry fellow (Perseverance), and Stan Thomas, Columbia ministry director (The God Who is For You).

“The talks on revival by Matt Bennett and Chuck Hetzler have inspired me to pray for revival regularly with friends,” said one student.

Dr. Michael Brown, host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program and author of several books, including Revival Or We Die: A Great Awakening Is Our Only Hope, spoke about repentance at the SGLS.

“I really loved Dr. Michael Brown's talk on repentance,” said one student. “Repentance is something often overlooked…Dr. Brown's talk really helped open my eyes to understand the deep importance of repentance.”

RELATED: Want to go deeper in your faith? Sign up for our newsletter and receive a free download of Christian Union’s “CU’s Seeking God Lifestyle” Bible Course Manual (details at bottom of this page)

In addition to hearing challenging lectures each evening and engaging in Q and A sessions, the students also spent time in small-group cohorts, where they discussed topics and prayed with one another.

“One of my favorite aspects of the SGLS was getting to know some students from other campuses,” said Bledsoe. “Being able to create bonds and mutual friendships was a wonderful thing. In my cohort, we were able to pray for one another and encourage each other, which was very edifying.”

Another Princeton student, Warren Yuan ’22, called the SGLS “a recentering moment.”

“I find that oftentimes in my walk, I can get a bit off course, and I slowly lose my intentionality in the face of routine…It takes the voices, stories, and experiences of our older generations of Christians to spur on and encourage us. I also found the question and answer time so special because, during those times, the message became most relevant and intensely personal to me. I also enjoyed my small group, getting to know each other as a cohort, and spending time talking together.”

Overall, the feedback from the SGLS indicated that the students were blessed immensely and challenged to seek the Lord with fervor.

“I feel like these eight nights have made me stronger in my articulation of my faith,” said one student. “The topics from SGLS that stood out to me were the role of the Holy Spirit, evangelism, and repentance. The discussions that came from these talks were really convicting and formative. I also discovered that SGLS deepened my prayer life—praying within my cohort gave me a desire to pray more on my own and drew me closer to God.”

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