The students at Houston Baptist University are continually provided opportunities to grow both academically and spiritually. In early October, HBU held a Spiritual Emphasis Week called Ignite and invited four speakers to share their perspectives on why the Gospel matters.
The first speaker was David Moss; David is the founder and director of HiS PRINT ministry in Croatia and is on staff with HBU Athletics. The second speaker was an HBU alumnus who converted to Christianity from Islam when her HBU roommate shared the Gospel with her. The third speaker was Malcolm Marshall, who is the chaplain for the NBA’s Houston Rockets and ministers as Christian rapper Excelsius. The fourth speaker, Rick Vasquez, is a pastor in Houston and first encountered Jesus while he was in prison. The speakers shared their testimonies about the redeeming power and love of Jesus. One student told The Pillars, “I can finally say someone understands.” The praise team from the Spanish ministry at Second Baptist Church led worship for the week.
Before the speaking sessions began, students gathered for prayer and worship. HBU transfer student Seth Grant told The Pillars, “I was just blown away by the fact that we even can. That hit me the first night when we just had prayer and worship. I was thinking about all of the stuff going on around the world and my friends all around the world, and what it’s like for them living in their countries, and they maybe can’t have spiritual emphasis weeks. That made me very grateful and reflective for what we have here, and not to take it for granted.”
Though a Christian university, HBU is religiously diverse with students who are atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian and Hindu. Every student who graduates from HBU is required to have a certain number of Community Life and Worship (CLW) credits. Ignite was a great opportunity for students to catch up or get ahead on their credits. Sophomore Jonathan Rangel explained how the CLW system could impact students. “People come here and some of them just come in to study, and they don’t know or care about Christ, but then they go to events like Ignite. Some of these people went to receive the credits, and they actually came out changed.”
On the last night, Jonathan noticed a student a few rows behind him who stood up when the speaker invited students to respond. “I got up and hugged him, and I told him congratulations for accepting Christ. He couldn’t even talk to me; he was just crying.”
The purpose of Ignite was to share the Gospel with students who are not believers and to encourage students who are Christians to live their faith. For Seth Grant, that purpose was reached. “I feel challenged, but also encouraged to share the Gospel because life is short and we aren’t guaranteed the next breath.”