Students and faculty will enjoy a break from classes to hear encouraging preaching during Bob Jones University’s annual Bible Conference Feb. 14-17.
Each year BJU invites guest speakers to campus to address a specific theme during Bible Conference. This year’s lineup includes Brian Peterson, head pastor of Lebanon Baptist Church in Roswell, Geogia; Drew Conley, teaching pastor of Hampton Park Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina; Kurt Skelly, senior pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia; Tim Lehman, pastor of Shannon Baptist Church in Shannon, Illinois; and Josh Crockett, pastor of Morningside Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina.
The guests will preach on this conference’s theme of God’s steadfast love. Alan Benson, the University’s executive vice president of student development and ministry advancement, says that this theme continues the Student Leadership Council’s theme for the fall 2022 semester, “Hesed,” the Hebrew word for God’s covenant loyalty and love.
Benson said this is the first time the conference theme has been a continuation of the fall theme. “This one was so impactful that we decided this is an opportunity to really explore this further,” he said.
Fundraisers foster care facility
In addition to the daily sermons, many other events occur during Bible Conference week, including dozens of fundraisers. This year’s funds will be going toward the Harvest House, a ministry in Guam which focuses on foster care and adoption on the island. “We’re focusing on doubling their ministry so that they actually can handle more children as well as handling the care materials that are needed for those children,” Benson said.
BJU student societies organize many of the fundraisers. Society fundraisers work well, said Zachary Haynes, men’s director of the Inter-Society Council, because “they understand what the goal is and what they’re doing it for.”
Ruth Urraca, women’s director of the ISC, said the societies band together to look beyond just BJU to alleviate the needs in the community and around the world. “We are working to give to someone else, not to give back to ourselves,” Urraca said.
BJU students can expect some classic fundraising events to come back again this year, such as the Epsilon Zeta Chi’s color run, the Nu Delta Chi and Tau Delta Chi’s speed dating, the Basilean Eagles’ promotional video and many other events that will raise money for Harvest House.
Students on campus are already excited about Bible Conference and eager to do what they can to help raise money for Harvest House. Blake Von Bokern, a junior ministry and leadership major, said, “It brings all of the students together for the common purpose of loving God most by loving others.” Kimberlee Hutchison, a junior biblical counseling major, said, “I’m looking forward to being under the preaching of God’s Word about steadfast love.”
Bible Conference has been a yearly tradition for BJU since the University was founded in 1927, said David Fisher, vice provost for academic administration. Bible Conference was for many years a gathering for the student body that also drew many people who traveled from around the country to worship God and to hear sermons from His Word. Many families even came to preaching conferences such as the one at BJU’s for their annual vacation.
When Steve Pettit became president of BJU in 2014, he wanted to conference to focus on uplifting the student body and faculty spiritually by creating a refreshed mindset and a readiness for the spring semester. Jon Daulton, director of Student Life, said, “We’re not just interested in teaching a student how to make a living. We want to teach him how to live.”