Commemorating Black History Month
By Melissa McCutchan
CIU Student Writer
Columbia International University students, faculty, and staff were challenged to invest in ministry and make disciples during a special weeklong series of chapels in celebration of Black History Month, Feb. 2-5. The speaker for the week was The Rev. James Womack, pastor of Destiny Church in Ft. Worth, Texas.
Throughout the week, Womack challenged the CIU community to live as mission-driven ministers, fulfilling the Great Commission of Matthew 28.
“God has called us to go and make disciples,” Womack said in Monday’s chapel. “It takes time to make disciples. It takes teaching to make disciples. People are not born with solid doctrine.”
The week also featured spoken word poetry and gospel music, instead of the usual contemporary worship style heard in many CIU chapels.
“I loved the worship this week,” junior Anna Knight said. “I experienced the presence of the Lord, especially through the honest, free and humble spirit of our leaders.”
For Tuesday’s chapel, Womack challenged the CIU community to know Christ more deeply and to live in victory through Him.
“How can we settle for a mediocre life?” he asked. “[Christ] came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly.”
Womack deviated from his planned message on Wednesday to help students cope with the devastating news that a fellow student was in intensive care at the hospital. The student went to be with the Lord the following morning.
His message, titled “Taking Care of the Mystery: What to Do When God Doesn’t Make Sense,” encouraged students to trust God even in the midst of grief and pain.
“God knows exactly what He’s doing,” Womack preached. “God knows exactly where you are.”
Students found great comfort and solidarity, both from Womack’s message and the time of corporate worship.
“The message was just a huge reminder that life isn't about me, but that God still cares, He still holds me in His hands, and every step I take is because He has directed it,” freshman Leilani McGowan said. “Nothing that happens in this journey is a mistake and He hasn’t forgotten me, no matter what I'm feeling in the moment.”
Black History Week concluded on Thursday with a message titled “Mission Driven Ministers: Taking Care of Your Marriage.”
“God wants to use marriage to show a dying world Christ’s love for the church,” Womack said.
As Black History Week came to a close, students were comforted in their grief and encouraged to pursue Christ wholeheartedly, so that they could minister out of the overflow of their relationship with Him.
“God is so wise, and I can rest in the fact that although I don't know what He's doing, I do know Him,” Knight said. “And I choose to trust Him.”