College revival refreshes, reminds students
FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – About 150 college students attended Re-Call, the College at Southwestern’s revival, Sept. 24-26, and left reminded and refreshed about the Lord’s calling on their lives. Bill Elliff, directional pastor at the Summit Church in Little Rock, Ark., spoke for the revival’s three sessions and helped students and faculty remember whom they serve and why they serve.
The revival kicked off each night with worship led by Caleb Wright followed by a message from Elliff. The evenings wrapped up with small group decision and counseling time, where students discussed the sermon and the changes they felt the Lord leading them to make in their lives.
Blayne Owens, a senior in the College at Southwestern who organized the decision counselors and the small groups for the revival, said the groups worked well.
“The groups have mixed different students together who may not know each other, and they have given students a chance to really discuss the things that they have been convicted of,” Owens said. “The groups have allowed everyone to verbalize what God has been doing—not just those who go forward. For this setting, the groups have been very effective.”
Dean of the College at Southwestern Steven Smith said the revival fit the current needs of the student body. Smith said he has been praying that the students would be spiritually sensitive and not carnally minded.
“We have an amazing body of college students,” Smith said. “However, they suffer with spiritual lethargy like all of us. Our prayer is that God would surface sin in our lives [and] bring us to a place of brokenness and repentance. This was the goal. I’m very pleased with how it went.”
Owens said the students’ participation encouraged him.
“There has been a large attendance every night, and everyone has been very positive about coming and joining in,” Owens said. “Re-Call has been a chance for everyone to take a little break from books, papers and quizzes and simply be reminded why we are here and how important it is to stay the course in our walk with God, with our diligence in classes and in encouraging our peers along the journey.”
During the small groups, led by counselors hand-picked from various areas of Southwestern, students discussed the Holy Spirit’s conviction and the actions they intended to take to deal with sin and apathy toward a right relationship with God. The first night, Elliff reminded the students to steer clear of pride and to step up their prayer life.
“To enter into the kingdom [of God], we must see our need so greatly that we gladly bow,” said Elliff, as he preached from Matthew 5.
Prayer, Elliff said, is an indication of gladly bowing and of confessing a need for God, letting go of pride and humbly admitting a dependence on the Lord.
“Wouldn’t you agree with me that if you can go a day, a few days, a week or a month without ever really crying out to the Lord, it’s a clear indication that you feel you can live life on your own?” Elliff asked.
Smith said Elliff’s messages were timely and appropriate for the college and lined up with what he had been praying for the students. He said the college plans to hold the revival again next year.
“Fall is a good time,” Smith said. “Students are excited to be here, but frankly many do not understand how tough school is going to be. It is during this time that their hearts are soft and God gets their attention.”