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‘Be more,’ collegians urged at CrossSeekers celebration

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–“Be more.” That was the simple two-word challenge issued to more than 3,000 college students and older high school students throughout the “CrossSeekers: Celebration of the Covenant” at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Sept. 4-5.
The phrase was printed on a banner in the main auditorium and referenced in several messages, music concerts and conference sessions. And during the closing session of the event, 2,337 students responded to that challenge by signing the “CrossSeekers Covenant,” a six-point document calling them to a lifestyle of integrity, spiritual growth, an authentic and consistent witness, service, purity and Christlike relationships.
“I think this is another good illustration of how this covenant is touching something in the hearts of today’s Christian college students. They want to get serious about their faith and this is proving to be a great vehicle to help them do it,” said Bill Henry, director of National Student Ministry, which sponsored the two-day celebration. The Southern Baptist ministry, part of LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, Tenn., launched CrossSeekers last year as part of an intentional focus on transformational discipleship.
While initiated by Southern Baptists, the movement has gained the support of other Christian groups, such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Prior to the New Orleans event, 19 CrossSeekers rallies had been held in 11 states and more than 6,000 students had signed the covenant. The New Orleans conference, the first national CrossSeekers event, was held to celebrate that response and foster continued participation in the movement. While the majority of participants came from the deep South, more than a dozen states were represented, including Ohio, Montana and New York.
Anne Graham Lotz, founder of AnGeL Ministries in Raleigh, N.C., was the first to challenge the students. In today’s politically and morally changing world, the daughter of evangelist Billy Graham urged them to remember that “character counts.”
“What you’re hearing is what you do in private has nothing to do with your public life — character is not important. … But that is a flawed philosophy,” Lotz said. “Sooner or later, you will end up in destruction; your life will collapse.”
Sadly, values like integrity, fidelity and honesty are being “trashed” by today’s society, Lotz said, encouraging the Christian collegians to stand apart from the crowd.
“You don’t call it an inappropriate relationship; you call it adultery. You don’t call it ‘misleading the public;’ you call it a lie. You call it what it is and you ask God to forgive you. … He loves you, he forgives you, he saves you and he will live in you.”
She urged students to hold fast to their convictions and belief in the inspired Word of God, avoiding ungodly peer pressure or “fear pressure,” the fear of taking a stand for Christ because of negative consequences.
“You put God first and it may cost you. So what?” she asked. “When God gave his Son for you, he gave his best for you. What a privilege to give him something that costs us.”
Carey Casey, senior vice-president of FCA, challenged the young people to use the talents God has given them to lead others to Christ.
“You can make a difference. You are somebody,” he said. “Don’t bury your talents. You are gifted in ways nobody else is gifted.”
He pleaded with the students not to wait until they graduated, married or had their first child to witness to others.
“Go at once. It is a fact that you are needed as a witness on your campuses. You have a ministry right where you are. Don’t wait; don’t be lazy; don’t sit around saying, ‘I’ll wait until I graduate.'”
However, Casey said, it isn’t enough for the students to verbally witness to others about Christ. They must also lead lives of superior character.
“Don’t bury your talents in a moral sense. You must keep yourselves sexually pure and stay away from drugs and drink.”
Dave Edwards, a popular Christian author and speaker based in Oklahoma City, told students many believers today “have forgotten the awesomeness of God.”
“We have to begin to understand the transcendence of God. He is above his creation and beyond mankind. He’s bigger than anything you will ever face.”
Throughout history, Edwards said, God has related to his creation through covenants, adding: “The safest place for your generation to be is in a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ.”
The students also heard from Christian athletes like Danny Wuerffel, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints and a former Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Florida; and Cameron Mills, a member of the University of Kentucky’s 1998 national championship-winning basketball team.
“Being a quarterback for the Saints is kind of like being a Christian; it’s not where you’re at, it’s where you’re headed,” Wuerffel said. He challenged students to turn their lives completely over to God’s leadership.
“At some point in our lives we have to get down on our knees and say, ‘Lord, I’ve tried it my way … and that’s not making it. I want to put it in your hands. … And that’s not something I did once; I have to do it every day.”
Mills reminded students there is only one way to heaven — “through the blood of Jesus Christ.” He showed them his NCAA championship ring, but said: “This ring is just a filthy rag. It’s not taking me anywhere. My Jesus is taking me to my real championship.”
Students also enjoyed concerts by some of today’s leading contemporary Christian artists, such as Steven Curtis Chapman, Jars of Clay, Third Day, Jennifer Knapp and MercyMe. Several of the artists also led conferences where they interacted with students and answered questions about living a Christian life amidst temptations related to fame and success.
What’s next for CrossSeekers?
Henry said NSM is exploring options for regional conferences next year in Florida and Oklahoma. Several “transitions” conferences for juniors and seniors in high school also are in the works for 1999. In addition, NSM is releasing several CrossSeekers resources in the coming months, all built around the six-point covenant.
“We’ll do all we can to keep the fires burning,” Henry said. “But CrossSeekers has always been about the students. And I don’t think they’ll let this flame die.”

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