Nasser brings changes to Convocation

Philip Sitterding
ptsitterding@liberty.edu

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David Nasser held a special Convocation October 20 to announce a new direction for the meetings as part of his continuing campaign to reform students’ experience at the school.

Convocation takes place every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the Vines Center. It currently features a worship service led by the Liberty Campus Band that is followed by a talk from an influential figure in politics, religion or business.

During his speech, Nasser explained that he was hoping to make the Convocation experience more intentional by customizing each event for the speaker involved.

“When we’re going after God, we’re gonna be going after God,” he said. “If we have Donald Trump here, like we had a couple years ago, here’s what we’re not gonna do. We’re not gonna have three Tomlin songs before Donald Trump gets up. We’re not. We’re not gonna treat it like a church service. We’re gonna treat it like, here’s a man who knows a few things about money, so we’ve asked him to come and stretch our minds about money.”

Nasser also announced a new plan to diversify the focus of Monday Convocations. Under his plan, Monday convocations will rotate through a schedule of different focuses each month.

  1. Prayer – Students will gather for a time of focused prayer.
  2. Praise – Convocation will focus on praise and worship music.
  3. Plan – University officials will have the chance to share news and ideas with the student body.
  4. Play – Nasser mentioned comedian Jim Gaffigan and country musician Willie Nelson as examples of the guests students can expect for this Convocation.

Nasser spent much of his time in Convocation explaining that these developments represented a change in practice and not a change in vision. He used the analogy of changing a sports team’s coach to clarify his point.

“There’s all these different strategies, but guess what?” Nasser said. “Tomorrow they could fire the head coach at Alabama, and guess what? They’re gonna have another coach. He’s gonna come right in, lock and load, and he’s gonna have the same vision. … Strategy changes all the time, but vision stays the same.”

President Jerry Falwell, who introduced Nasser at the beginning of Convocation, told the student body that he was excited about the new strategy Nasser was bringing to Liberty.

“We talked about how to move forward and about what should be done in the future to make Convocation an even more enriching experience for you and to build on what Johnnie Moore and others have done here,” Falwell said.

Liberty’s leadership has made it clear that this new strategy for Convocation is meant to be a continuation of past vision and not a new direction. This is welcome news for many students who have been concerned with some of the steps Nasser has taken.

“I mean, I loved Johnnie Moore, and it’s not the same without him,” sophomore Connor Weisman said. “Do I think David Nasser’s a good guy? Yeah. So, I mean, we’ll see. Who knows? I’m gonna give him a chance.”

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Web Story

  • Prayer meetings moved to Wednesdays
  • Spiritual teaching streamlined and unified
  • New plans for Monday Convocations

If you’re a student at Liberty University, a surprise announcement by the Office of Student Leadership Sunday night will change the dynamic of your entire week.

In a mandatory meeting called for student leaders, Dr. Todd Campo, the Vice President of Student Leadership, told prayer and life group leaders and spiritual life coaches that David Nasser has decided to move Liberty’s weekly hall meetings from Tuesday nights to Wednesday nights.

This change means that curfew will be moved to midnight Tuesdays and pulled back to 10 p.m. Wednesdays. For student leaders, the announcement carried a bigger change; Wednesday night Campus Church is now mandatory for all student leaders. This adds a new time commitment from 7:30 to 9:30 each week for prayer and life group leaders, spiritual life coaches, resident assistants and resident directors.

“There’s still a lot of troubleshooting that they’re gonna be doing,” resident assistant Connor Davidson said. “It’s like a new operating system, and they’re gonna be putting out a lot of updates while they’re getting started.”

Campus Church will be mandatory because David Nasser wants all Liberty’s prayer and life group leaders to be covering the same topics in their discussions. Campo told student leaders that it would help provide unification to the student body.

“David Nasser wants to streamline the spiritual teaching you as students are going to get,” he said. “He’ll be teaching from Galatians at Campus Church next semester, so prayer leaders? You’ll be teaching from Galatians in prayer groups.”

These are the most recent of the many changes Nasser has put in place since his arrival at Liberty. At Convocation October 20, he gave a speech to the student body outlining changes to Convocations for the spring semester. Most notable among his plans was the addition of a rotating schedule of Monday Convocations.

“And so one Monday, we’re just gonna pray,” Nasser said, “one Monday we’re gonna praise, one Monday we’re gonna plan, and then the last one of the month, we’re just gonna play. We’re just gonna come in here and have fun, we’re gonna get it going!”

He also mentioned the possibility that Convocation might move to a Tuesday and Thursday schedule starting in fall 2015. Nasser has a new strategy for his students’ spiritual lives; big changes are coming to Liberty University.

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Broadcast Story

Next semester is bringing several new changes to your school// In a meeting Sunday night/ Vice President Todd Campo tells student leaders that hall meetings and prayer groups are moving from Tuesday to Wednesday night// Campo says David Nasser pictures prayer groups as a continuation of Campus Church/ a chance for the whole student body to be in discussion on the same topics// This announcement comes only a month after Nasser outlined a new direction for Convocation that focuses on creating an intentional/ sustainable pace///

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