Cedarville University’s Fall Bible Conference message of ‘Identity’ encourages students new and old

By Avonlea Brown

As the excitement of Getting Started Weekend wears off, incoming freshmen begin to question their place on campus. Homesickness and uncertainty creep in, making new students question their ability to make it through one semester, let alone the next four years. 

At 7 p.m. on Monday night, the annual Fall Bible Conference began. The whole university sat down to hear speaker Corey Abney, lead pastor at Bell Shoals Church in Florida and a Cedarville graduate, talk about one thing: Identity.

Abney’s witty delivery and motivating messages captured the attention of students new and old as he focused on the importance of having a Christ-centered identity. 

“Over these next few days I want us to focus on identity,” Abney said. “On what it means to tether our identity to Christ, no matter our past, our backgrounds, no matter our struggles.”

During the next four days, Abney touched on topics of authenticity, anxiety, contentment, and an identity rooted in Christ. Each day he brought stimulating stories and convicting moments as he worked through passages in Matthew, Philippians, Acts and others. 

For many new students, the conference focus was a comfort and a reminder to hold fast in the midst of trials. Noelle Mayer is an incoming freshman psychology major who took Abner’s message of identity in Christ to heart. 

“A lot of freshmen probably enjoyed hearing that because it is a pillar of hope,” Mayer said. “I think that is really good that freshmen are hearing that because now they are surrounded by people that will help push them in that direction.”

The message held encouragement for returning students as well. 

Libby Huff, a sophomore Pre-Pharmacy major, enjoyed the focus on identity and thought it held more impact for her as a returning student than if she were a freshman. Coming back to campus, Huff found it hard to reconcile her strong ties to relationships back home with the relationships she had started on campus. 

“When you’re a freshman everyone is in the newness of it together, whereas coming back now I am trying to feel out the difference [in identity] between back home and here,” Huff said. “It has been so great to have that identity idea focused on at the beginning of the semester.”

Huff also found Abney’s take on identity refreshing.

“Usually when someone talks about identity it’s more through a worldview of mental health and all that, whereas this was a more spiritual side,” Huff said. “We need to start with the heart issue of identity before anything else.”

With a new school year underway, Cedarville University prepares to challenge its students but also gives them a foundation to build a lasting faith that cannot be shaken. 

“If you have Jesus as your center, it fills a hole in your heart with something constant,” Mayer said. “Your identity becomes your master, and your master should be someone worth serving.”

Abney concluded his sermon series with a warning and a promise:

“It takes way more than you think to fill your soul,” He said. “But just remember, your greatest need is met in the person of Jesus Christ.”

Avonlea Brown is a junior Broadcasting, Digital Media, and Journalism major from a small town in Maine. She is the co-editor of Campus News for Cedars Student News and currently working towards going abroad to study international journalism. She likes reading, travel, and learning new things. 

All photos courtesy of Cedarville University

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