Every year, Bob Jones University’s Bible Conference focuses on a theme intended to resonate with students, faculty, staff and others who choose to attend the conference.
This year’s theme will be “Let Us Pray,” and the conference speakers will focus their messages on prayer and its importance in the Christian life.
Society fundraisers in the weeks leading up to the Bible Conference provide students with opportunities to raise money for this year’s goal of building the recreation center in The Den. Society fundraisers are a fun way to get students involved campus-wide.
Instead of having a single event planned by the Student Leadership Council, society fundraisers make the effort more personal and effective.
In addition to the services students attend during Bible Conference, they also have the chance to attend the CoRE Conference if they want to. This year will be the BJU seminary’s second year holding a CoRE Conference: workshops, speaking sessions and a book sale provide students, faculty, staff and others with valuable resources for counseling difficult and sensitive issues.
This year’s CoRE Conference, entitled “Gender, Sexuality and the Church,” is especially relevant in a culture increasingly confused about the biblical roles of men and women in the church, at home and in the world.
CoRE stands for “Connect, Renew, Equip,” and it provides a model whereby conference planners and speakers can promote the most efficient and helpful conference.
Dr. Neal Cushman, associate dean of BJU’s seminary, said the conference is important for instilling in Christians a firm understanding of what the Bible says about gender and sexuality. “We really want to equip the church to be able to address these kinds of matters better,” he said.
Cushman said the purpose of the conference is to provide counselors with valuable resources and a biblical foundation for lovingly and compassionately working through sexual sins. “We want them to be renewed in their faith and in their commitment to the Scriptures and to the gospel,” he said.
He said the conference will provide them with opportunities to make connections with people who have much experience in this area, find spiritual renewal and be prepared to help others work through these issues.
Each registrant will receive a bookbag at the end of the conference that will be filled with nearly $90 worth of books covering the topic of gender and sexuality. Outside donations covered the cost of the books.
Speakers at the CoRE Conference include Tim Geiger, Dr. Stuart Scott, Ellen Dykas, Dr. Jim Newcomer and Dr. Sam Horn.
Cushman said that all the speakers have made a career out of the topics on which they will be speaking, instead of making them additions to their already-existing careers.
The conference will include personal testimonies from the speakers and sessions addressing specific issues like gender confusion, same-sex attraction, biblical guidance for cutting out sinful patterns and restoring broken marriages.
Cushman said the CoRE Conference ties well into the theme for Bible Conference because they both teach a biblical response to what’s going on in the culture.
The CoRE Conference teaches how to practically work through issues, and Bible Conference provides a reminder that no change occurs apart from God. “The only way that we can see God work in our culture is if God’s people gather together and pray,” Cushman said.
Bob Jones University’s Bible Conference theme this year, “Let Us Pray,” encourages attendees to step back from busy schedules and technological distractions to meditate on Scriptural truths and spend time in prayer.
Pam Cushman, BJU’s events management director, said Bible Conference is a time the University sets aside to focus on learning as much from the Word of God as they possibly can.
Pam Cushman said that Pettit chose this theme because many people today choose to spend any extra time on social media and do not realize the importance of spending time with God in prayer. “When we have a few minutes,” she said, “we open up our computers or our social media to see what’s happening with other people.”
Pettit wants students to reflect on their own lives and consider if they are spending as much time in prayer as they should be.
In the weeks before and during Bible Conference, many of BJU’s societies raised money in a variety of creative ways to help fund the new recreational space for students that will replace what is currently the Bruins Shop.
Caleb Harter, a senior business administration major and president of the Epsilon Zeta Chi Tornadoes, said that instead of holding a 5K this year, the Tornadoes are partnering with their sister society, the Zoe Aletheia Wildcats, in a fundraising event.
Together, the societies plan to sell heart-shaped white chocolate Rice Krispy treats, roses and poems for five dollars in honor of Valentine’s Day.
Harter said that planning fundraisers helps society officer crews learn how to work as a team and make events come together. “It’s a bonding experience,” he said, “especially this one, because it’s benefiting our own campus.”
Harter said fundraisers are a great way to bring societies together and get the student body excited for the upcoming Bible Conference.
He said while they should be fun, the primary purpose of these fundraisers is to make money to contribute towards the Bible Conference project. “If it only makes five dollars, it’s a good outing, but it doesn’t really accomplish the goal,” he said.
This year, the Alpha Omega Delta society is raising money by biking from Greenville to Charleston the weekend before Bible Conference. Omega will leave on Feb. 8 for the 222-mile bike ride to Charleston. Many Omega alumni and several local businesses have pledged significant amounts per mile that Omega bikes.
Parker Nye, a junior Omega society member, said that he was excited for this opportunity to raise money for BJU. “Once a long-standing tradition, Omega is excited to go above and beyond the competition to bring a fundraiser that is both physically challenging and ambitious in scale of donations raised,” Nye said.
About 15 to 20 students in the society are biking relay style.
Other events include a volleyball tournament co-hosted by the Beta Patriots and Theta Sigma Chi Colts in the Bob Jones Academy Gym, a speed dating activity hosted by the Tau Delta Chi Kangas the Red Room of the Dining Common, an ice cream bar on the Palmetto Green hosted by the Nu Alpha Phi Flames and a Pura Vida Bracelet sale hosted by the Beta Epsilon Chi Cardinals in the Student Center Mall.
Some fundraisers were so popular last year that the hosting societies chose to repeat them again this year.
The Kangas speed dating activity, for example, is one such fundraiser.