This year’s Bible Conference is themed “The God of all Comfort.” The conference is a four-day event consisting of daily services, workshops and fundraising events. It starts the evening of Feb. 18 and continues through Feb. 21.
Between classes, homework, jobs and extracurricular activities, life at college can be a busy and stressful time for everyone. With so many projects and assignments to get done, it is easy to be overwhelmed. But Bob Jones University’s annual Bible Conference gives students, faculty and staff a chance to take a break and find strength in the Lord.
Randy Page, chief of staff at BJU, described Bible Conference as an important way to bring the entire campus together. Bible Conference also provides students with a time to rest and regain energy for the remainder of the semester.
“Christ and the Gospel are the cornerstone of everything we are,” Page said. “I think [Bible Conference] is really a refocus each year for us to take the time to reevaluate what’s important in our lives. For so many of us, there are trials and concerns that we’re going through, and I think so many times we just don’t fully grasp how God truly is there as our comforter.”
The speakers at this year’s conference are Rev. Cary Schmidt, the pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Connecticut; Dr. Marty Herron, the executive vice president of Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary; evangelist Morris Gleiser; BJU President Steve Pettit and BJU Chancellor Dr. Bob Jones III.
The purpose of the theme “The God of Comfort” is to encourage students to turn towards God during times of long hardships or struggles. Morris Gleiser, who battled cancer in 2018, is centering his messages on the idea that no matter what kind of trial believers go through, they can depend on the compassion and goodness of God.
“Satan has no new tricks, and he has from the beginning of mankind sought to make people question God’s goodness,” Gleiser said. “I think it’s extremely important that [people] understand that God comforts us and that He hasn’t forsaken us. He strengthens us so that we in turn can go and be a strengthening help to other people.”
But God doesn’t just provide strength and comfort during trials. He also provides guidance and grace, which is one of the ideas Rev. Cary Schmidt will focus on. Schmidt wants to encourage students to find God’s purpose in suffering and trials and to gain a strong understanding of who God is by rooting themselves in the Gospel.
“Jesus taught us to expect hardship but just to know that He is bigger and stronger than our hardships,” Schmidt said.
In addition to morning, afternoon and evening services, there will also be workshops on Thursday afternoon. Each workshop will focus on a different aspect or type of trial, aiming to teach students how to persevere through their struggles while relying on God for comfort and help. In addition to the various conference speakers, Carol Anne Clemons from Coffey Ministries will also lead a workshop on viewing grief in light of the Gospel.
There are also at least 50 different Bible Conference fundraisers, many led by students, which provide students, faculty, staff and alumni a chance to raise and give money towards this year’s goal of purchasing a new Stork Bus from the Save the Storks foundation.
BJU plans to donate the Storks bus to the Carolina Pregnancy Center to be used in the Greenville-Spartanburg area. Paul Issacs, the president of Save the Storks, started the hashtag “FindYourFifty,” which encourages students to contribute $50 toward the Stork Bus.