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CIU’s annual Christian Life Conference includes abundant worship and community

Christian Life Conference speaker and CIU alumnus Dr. Aaron Bishop (Photo by Macey Drye, CIU Student Photographer)

September 25, 2023

By Brandon Lee. CIU Student Writer

What is the Christian life? Why are we here, and what purpose do we serve? These were the overarching questions surrounding the first prayer day of the fall 2023 semester and the capstone of CIU’s annual Christian Life Conference. Spanning three days, the conference brings the student body together to worship, pray, and hear from renown proclaimers of God’s word. This year, students heard from Dr. Aaron and Dr. Jennifer Bishop, passionate and charismatic speakers who both recently earned Ph.Ds. in Organizational Leadership from CIU, along with beloved CIU professors TK Dunn and Joe Craft.

Prayer days at CIU are a source of encouragement, rest, and rejuvenation for many. The day kicked off with early morning worship, performed by sophomore AnnaJaye Walters, followed by group prayer sessions, in which students specifically prayed for each other’s needs and troubles. Junior Paul Weaver noted that this time to pray with friends was “good and much needed.” God’s impact was especially evident as the microphone was opened up to student testimonials. “Who are we?” asked freshman Ellie Christensen, “Where does our identity lie?” Ellie’s point was, as a follower of Christ, to put our identity and self-worth in Christ, not in any talents, qualities, or possessions that eventually fail and fade away. The focus of many of the messages focused on developing a personal relationship with Jesus, and the never-ending joy and peace that comes as a result.

After a brief intermission, Dr. Dunn’s inspiring message centered around the foundations of the gospel and its impact on the Christian life, with an emphasis on work and how to effectively work for the Kingdom of God. Due to the fall, work is now tiresome and inefficient, but through Christ’s work on the cross we are deemed worthy by God, working here on earth to further His Kingdom.

Students then enjoyed the warm, sunny afternoon during a prayer walk around campus, stopping at designated stations to pray for specific needs of the students and faculty at CIU. Prayer day was then concluded with inspiring and comforting closing remarks by Dr. Craft.

Tuesday’s chapel was highlighted by Dr. Aaron Bishop, who wasted no time in motivating the students to get up and praise the Lord. His message was fixed on “living a life of substance” and to lean on God when life gets tough. His wife, Dr. Jennifer Bishop, spoke at Thursday’s chapel, possessing the same fire and passion when delivering her message. Speaking from experience, she shared the importance of taking ownership of one’s responsibilities in life, as her late mother was the biggest inspiration in accomplishing her many achievements as a businesswoman, author and philanthropist. She concluded the message by challenging the students and faculty: “are you prepared for the assignment God has given you?” a fitting end for a week filled with motivation and inspiration.

Hear the Christian Life Conference speakers on CIU’s podcast page.

CIU is celebrating 100 years of its mission to “educate people from a biblical worldview to impact the nations with the message of Christ.” The university consistently ranks among the Top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report, as well as a Best Value Regional University in the South. Apply now or request information on enrollment by contacting Admissions at (803) 807-5024 or       

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