CIU President calls students to service in Convocation message

August 30, 2019

By Ireland Kost

CIU Student Writer

Blowing the shofar, Columbia International University Dean Dr. Bryan Beyer signaled in CIU's Convocation procession, ushering in another school year. Convocation, an ancient tradition, is held every year at CIU to dedicate the school's academic mission to God.

Provost Dr. James Lanpher recognized over 200 new students and several new faculty members while welcoming everyone into another school year. Events and accomplishments from the previous school year and summer activities were reviewed in a video presentation drawing loud applause from the student body, faculty and staff assembled in Shortess Chapel.  

The congregational singing of the hymn "Take my Life and Let it be" and a prayer by Professor Dr. Andre Rogers set the tone for what was to follow.

"We realize we are here because of your grace and tender mercies," Rogers prayed. "We thank you for your faithfulness to all who call CIU their home."

CIU President Dr. Mark Smith delivered the Convocation message saying that he was directed over the summer to John 13:16, a theme verse for the coming school year:

Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.

"I challenge you today to spend a few minutes in the Word to understand a key principle about Columbia International University and our faculty and staff," Smith said. "To understand this whole idea of servanthood, I want to first take you to the beginning."

Smith focused on God's love, God's service, and God's call for us to be like Him. He retold the scene of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples in an act of humble servanthood. And then appealing to Scripture and drawing from experiences in his personal walk with God, Smith encouraged all to take on the loveliest of tasks in emulation of Jesus, giving oneself for others.

Smith finished by saying, "CIU students when you serve ..." and leaving the sentence hanging in the air, he walked to the side of the stage where a towel, bowl, and pitcher of water awaited him. Removing his Convocation regalia and getting on his knees, the president of CIU washed the feet of his special assistant, friend and faculty member, Dr. Andre Rogers giving all a visual of servanthood.

In an appropriate finish to the message, and in the tradition of CIU Convocation, the assembled sang CIU’s Alma Mater that includes in the final verse a call to service and the CIU motto:

The vision thou hast given of truth and human need, inspires us all to service to sow the precious seed. May we in consecration to Jesus Christ alone, fulfill thy sacred purpose: “TO KNOW AND MAKE HIM KNOWN.” 

Hear Dr. Mark Smith's message on CIU's Chapel Audio Messages

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