From the onset of my ministry 50 years ago, I determined that I would attempt to be on the cutting-edge of Gospel outreach.

That commitment continues today as Thomas Road Baptist Church prepares to move into its brand new ministry complex, including a 6,000-seat auditorium and state-of-the-art sound system tomorrow, July 2. The commitment is also visible at Liberty University, where we will welcome about 10,000 resident students this fall on our beautiful campus.

This week, another level of commitment to world evangelism was launched.

Liberty University and Child Evangelism Fellowship announced that they are partnering in offering two new degrees in Children’s Ministry. I believe this is an important endeavor because we must reach children with the message of Christ before they are tainted with the cynicism and corruption of the world.

The undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Science in Religion with a specialization in Children’s Ministry, beginning this fall. Students in this program will attend Child Evangelism Fellowship’s Children’s Ministries Institute in Warrenton, Mo., either in the fall or spring semester to receive the majority of their classes. These credits will transfer to Liberty University to complete the remainder of their Bachelor’s degree. Students may also choose to take all the classes over the course of two summers before transferring.

In addition, Liberty Theological Seminary, under the tutelage of ministry pacesetter Dr. Ergun Caner, will offer a Master of Arts degree in Children’s Ministry, also in conjunction with Child Evangelism Fellowship.

Further, both of these degree programs will soon be available through Liberty University’s Distance Learning Program, our pioneering home-study curriculum that permits adults to complete their degrees at home.

Liberty’s partnership with Child Evangelism Fellowship teams up the largest evangelical university in the world with the largest children’s ministry in the world. It’s a natural affiliation.

CEF was founded in 1937 and operates in all 50 states and 156 nations. In Sao Paulo, Brazil, the second-largest city in the world, CEF curriculum has been required by the government in the public schools for the past 40 years. CEF’s focus is on children ages 5 to 12.

With 85 percent of all Christians making their decision to accept Christ during this period in their lives, it is evident that this program is more vital than ever.

Mathew D. Staver, the founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel and interim dean of the Liberty University School of Law, commented on this new partnership: “Our future is being shaped today in the minds and hearts of our youth. Based on my work with children over the past several years, youth outreach has become my passion. The lives of many children will be changed through this development.”

As I enter my second half-century of ministry, I continue to be excited about the many new ways in which we can reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Readers interested in learning more about Liberty’s Children’s Ministry degrees should visit our website:

A final invitation

I want to invite all of my readers to join us this Sunday, July 2, for Thomas Road Baptist Church’s 50th anniversary celebration as we conduct the grand opening of the extraordinary new facility on Liberty Mountain from 10:30 a.m.-12 noon.

We will welcome several special guests to help us celebrate our Golden Anniversary. Charles Billingsley and Guy Penrod (of the Gaither Vocal Band) will electrify the audience as they sing praises to our Lord. Guy, a Liberty alumnus, is bringing his seven sons, who will also be singing. I will be bringing a special message at this initial service.

Following this special service, at 2 p.m., Liberty Mountain will come alive for our annual Independence Day celebration. This all-day event in the Arthur L. Williams Football Stadium will include many carnival rides, games, tours of the Liberty campus and new TRBC complex, ice skating (at the LaHaye Ice Center), live music and more food than you can imagine.

Then at 7 p.m., we will kick off our Celebrate America festivities that will include an inspiring patriotic musical extravaganza featuring Charles Billingsley, Guy Penrod and many other guest vocalists and musicians. We will also honor our military during this service. I will conclude the observance with a tribute to our founders and a call to return to the Judeo-Christian values that were at the foundation of this nation. In addition, Sen. George Allen, R-Va., will be joining us on this extraordinary evening.

The 10 p.m. grand finale of the day will be the largest fireworks display in Central Virginia to be launched from atop Liberty Mountain. The thunderous fireworks will rock the mountains.

There are no admission fees or parking fees for any of these events.

This is certain to be one of the most exciting days in TRBC’s history. Our church family is anxiously awaiting this great day as we celebrate 50 years of ministry and miracles in Lynchburg. I invite all of our readers to come and be a part of this historic celebration.

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