by Norm Miller
Dr. Don Wilton launched the year-long study of 1 Peter at Louisiana College as he preached the college’s annual revival Sept. 17-19.
Wilton, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina, challenged students to make life-changing decisions for Jesus during the opening day of the revival.
He told students God values all of them, and Wilton encouraged them to keep God first during their life. By week’s end, countless students had filled the front of Guinn Auditorium with seven of them professing faith in Christ.
“I want to thank God because He’s given you, through the new birth, a living hope,” Wilton said. “You are not hopeless. You have a reason to live. You’ve got a purpose. You’re not a nobody. You’re somebody in and through the Lord Jesus.”
President of Louisiana College Dr. Rick Brewer said, “The awakening has just begun. We can sense what God is doing here. We’re excited and are anticipating a mighty movement of the Holy Spirit.”
“Louisiana College staff and local pastors have prayed that God would stir students’ hearts,” he said. And since August, an additional 50 students have surrendered their lives to Christ, including 25 who turned to Jesus during a session on personal evangelism.
Brewer said he could not think of a better person than Wilton, his long-time friend, to launch the year-long emphasis on 1 Peter, which includes all chapel sermons in the 2019-2020 academic year to be based on that New Testament book.
“Studying this particular book of the New Testament was prompted by God, I believe,” Brewer said. Other LC leaders told Brewer they had the same impression during the summer.
In addition to the chapel sermons, every Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) meeting will dig deeper and digest the sermons. Further still, 35 small discipleship groups led by students will meet with other students weekly to unpack the sermons’ focal verses.
BCM Director Thomas Worsham said subsequent BCM meetings will “bring complimentary perspectives to the chapel sermons with deeper discussions and Q and A sessions.”
Discipleship groups will use the study guide “Joy Through Suffering” written by LC leaders.
Thomas will send group leaders questions drawn from chapel sermons and BCM meetings to supplement the discipleship book. He will also meet with them to assist and monitor the study’s progress.
“This variety of approaches will unite the students in one voice from the biblical texts,” Worsham said. “It sets the tone and vision for the campus throughout the school year.” He said some group leaders report that the studies already are highlighting spiritual accountability among the students. More than 140 students are engaged in small groups studies and the number grows every week.
“This Master/Teacher model is proving successful already,” Brewer said. “It perfectly reflects our Vision of Preparing Graduates and Transforming Lives.”
Brewer said he is “grateful to God regarding the inspiration for this methodology and for the focal Book of 1 Peter. With the sobering numbers of young adults who are either abandoning a Christian worldview or who have no clue what that is, Louisiana College will continue emphasizing that there is nothing irrelevant to Christ, and there is nothing Christ is irrelevant to.”
Sophomore Lexie Darce reports the group she leads “had some really great discussions. We talked a lot about what it means to conform (or not) to the people around us and how we can be better about not conforming to the ways of the world, as Peter talks about in the passage we read. In addition, our lesson fit in perfectly with what I’ve been learning in Spiritual Formation.”
“Overall, we’re loving the time we have each week to meet and discuss these things together,” she said.
Brian Blackwell of the Louisiana Baptist Message contributed to this story.