Opening Convocation: Passionate Message on Building the Church
CIU President Dr. Mark Smith delivers the convocation message "Build my Church." (Photos by Caleb Pringle, CIU student photographer)
President Mark Smith delivers first message in renovated Shortess Chapel
By Naomi Balk
CIU Student Writer
Columbia International University Dean Dr. Bryan Beyer blew the shofar as the sound resounded through the newly renovated Shortess Chapel. It was like a victory call summoning all to celebrate the year ahead and to commit the academic year to Jesus. It was CIU’s opening convocation.
After the faculty marched in dressed in full academic regalia, a prayer of dedication, and the singing of the hymn “Take My Life and Let it Be,” President Dr. Mark Smith delivered a message on building the church. He urged the students to fulfill CIU’s motto: “To Know Him and to Make Him Known.”
“I love building things and raising money to build things,” Smith told the students. “I build so you can learn about how to build the church,” he said gesturing to the renovated surroundings.
Smith communicated his heart for every single student to know Christ in a personal way.
“If you want to have the best semester you need to have a living relationship with Jesus!”
He said that building the church starts with knowing who Christ is and what He is about. Quoting from Matthew 16:18, “I will build my church” Smith shared a two-fold truth: the church is built on Christ and God uses His people.
“God is going to build His church, and He is going to use you,” adding, “You do not need to build this alone, He gives the Holy Spirit.”
Considering the new school year ahead, Smith conveyed, “You are to be about Kingdom business.”
Freshman Jami Evans said she had never experienced anything like the convocation.
“Dr. Smith loves building, and building the Kingdom of God,” Evans said. “It was a reminder that all of our passions should be to build the Kingdom of God.”
Hear the convocation message on CIU's podcasts.