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World Christian Week: God uses the “Unlikely”

A group of CIU men pray for world evangelization. (Photo by Chariti Mealing, CIU student photographer)

October 30, 2023

By Brandon Lee, CIU Student Writer

“God chooses unlikely people to do unlikely things for the good of His Kingdom." This was the emphasis of Dr. Jolene Erlacher, featured speaker at CIU’s 2023 World Christian Week, celebrating CIU’s core value of World Evangelization. Erlacher is the founder of Leading Tomorrow with the goal of equipping businesses, schools, nonprofits and other organizations for effective multi-generational leadership in an evolving culture.   

Erlacher’s messages during Tuesday’s prayer day and subsequent chapels highlighted a week filled with worship, prayer, and equipping of the student body for local and global missions.

Prayer days have become a staple of student life at CIU, and Tuesday’s rendition was no different. Morning worship was accompanied by intentional group prayer specifically geared toward God’s work on a global scale. Missionaries, world governments, and refugees were all on the hearts of the students as they grouped together for prayer in Shortess Chapel.

Erlacher, a former missionary kid in Mexico, works as a generational researcher looking to bridge the gap between the younger and older generations. She shared her dislike of college and the United States during her college years, which turned out to be an example of God’s ironic faithfulness, as she now primarily works with U.S. college students. She also used biblical examples, including Gideon, David and Esther to illustrate the unlikeliness of those whom God chooses to work through. Despite the many challenges and disadvantages that the younger generation (Gen Z) faces, God is faithful in every circumstance and chooses to use the improbable to do the extraordinary. 

Another notable prayer day presentation was from Samarian’s Purse and their Operation Christmas Child shoebox outreach. The ministry was presented by Dania Yadago who shared her incredible story of an upbringing in poverty and persecution as a Christian in the Middle East. She received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox as a girl, and never forgot the joy that it brought her. Moving with her family to the United States as a teenager, she began to work with Operation Christmas Child. She encouraged the students, faculty and staff to impact the life of another child this Christmas with a shoebox and the gospel message that is delivered with it.

An additional feature of World Christian Week took place in the Rossi Student Center, where representatives of  missions organizations offered students the opportunity to connect and get involved in various national and global missions projects. The presence of the missions organizations was truly the cherry on top of a week focused on World Evangelization.

“This was a good week to prioritize, rest and spend time with the Lord,” said graduate student Jonathan Josey.

See the Chapel messages on CIU's YouTube channel or listen on CIU's Spotify 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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