More than 200 students watched “The Cross” Tuesday on the campus of Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C.
By showing the half-hour evangelistic video, which features a Gospel message from Billy Graham and the stories of rapper Lecrae and singer Lacey Sturm, the college campus joined a nationwide project aimed at reaching nonbelievers this Easter.
Tracy Jessup is Vice President of Christian Life and Service at Gardner-Webb. He also serves as Senior Minister to the University. He watched “The Cross” with his family last fall, around the same time millions of people across North America tuned in to watch the video on Fox News and hundreds of other television stations.
“Last November when I saw that, immediately I knew I needed to show it here,” Jessup said. “It was so perfect for Holy Week.”
As a Christian liberal arts college, Gardner-Webb requires students to attend a number of chapel sessions called Dimensions, which typically feature live messages by speakers and evangelists from around the country. This week, Jessup decided to show “The Cross” instead.
Students put down their phones, took out their earbuds and settled in to watch the video. As Lacey Sturm and Lecrae told their powerful stories of life before and after they discovered Jesus, eyes were glued to the screen.
“I’ve been doing this long enough, and sometimes you can just sense when students are paying attention,” Jessup said. “Today was one of those times.”
Jalene Brooks is a sophomore biblical studies major who watched the video from the back row of the auditorium. It was clear she was focused on the message.
“I think it was pretty inspiring,” Brooks said. “I would show it to other people.”
In fact, she’s hoping to take the video back home to the Virgin Islands, where she works with youth.
“I really want to do it now,” Brooks said. “I want to share it.”
Jessup hoped the message of “The Cross” would inspire and encourage students like Brooks. He also prayed it would reach the hearts of any students who aren’t walking with God.
“We do not require all the students who are admitted [to Gardner-Webb] to be Christians,” Jessup said. “We feel that this is an opportunity for us to, in a winsome way, share the message of the Gospel. This may be the only opportunity some of our students have to hear it, if they come from a background that is foreign to that.”
Several My Hope videos are available online and on DVD year-round, and believers are invited to share them any time. But during Easter, the message of “The Cross” could resonate even more than usual, and BGEA is encouraging churches, colleges and individuals to make it a point to share Jesus with friends and family this week, just like Gardner-Webb did Tuesday.
“Nonbelievers and believers alike are aware, to some extent, of the message of Easter,” Jessup said. “So what better time to share the true meaning of the cross and the resurrection of Christ than at Easter?”
Watch “The Cross” on TV this week with a friend. Click here for TV listings.