1600 Students Attend Annual Christian Conference

Last weekend, the Jubilee Conference took place in Pittsburgh, PA. to equip college students with practical application of faith to the world. Close to 1,800 students and other participants came to listen to talks with high profile Christians on how to live and think in the world through the context of faith.

The Jubilee conference was begun in 1978 by the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO) "in order to help college students figure out how to connect their Christian faith with every area of their lives, particularly to their callings as students and their future vocational areas of interest," Amy Maczuzak, Senior Editor of CCO, told The Christian Post.

"It is about what we are called to do as Christians. It's designed for college students but lots of people come too," wrote Shimmer Strauss, a student in attendance on her online blog.

On another blog, Christie Gustafson, a staff member of the CCO stated, "What is the Jubilee vision? In a nutshell, it is a vision that brings us back to God--where we find our salvation and rest in Him and commit to living out His ways. Jubilee is about submitting, embracing, and laboring for the Kingdom of God."

The conference covered questions that related to the students and their future. "The aim is to help students connect how they live their lives to what they say they believe about Jesus. It's not really a black and white answer," said Maczuzak.

"The idea is that God created us to glorify Him, and each of us has unique gifts and abilities. So it's up to students to figure out how that's going to work out in their own lives as they pursue their particular vocations."

Matt Ackerman, a college student who attended the conference, wrote, "The Saturday afternoon seminars are chosen by area of academic interest, so you can learn about teaching as a Christian, business as a Christian, politics as a Christian, etc."

The plenary speakers included Saleem Ghubril, John Perkins, Elaine Storkey, and Terry Thomas. Ghubril is from The Pittsburgh Project, which rejuvenated a community through housing projects, and his talk inspired the students to get involved in ministry. John Perkins is an international speaker on issues of racial reconciliation, leadership and community development. Storkey works with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, and she spoke on issues of world hunger and global warming and our responsibility as Christians.

"[Terry Thomas] spoke about, well, living a Christian life, and how it's not just thought, or action, or words, but everything combined," wrote Shimmer Strauss.

Besides the plenary speakers, there were fourteen speakers leading seminars in two different tracks: "The Christian in the University" and "Making a Difference."

The conference was named after the biblical year of Jubilee, to be held every fiftieth year (Leviticus 25), which "was to be the sabbath year of sabbath years" (CCO). During this special year, prisoners would be released, and the people who lost hope in their own ability would have hope in God's mercy.

Jubilee was to "be a signpost of the coming Kingdom of God...a taste of what heaven will be like."

Though Jubilee has failed to be kept by the world, according to CCO, which would have acted as a "visible demonstration" of the "coming Kingdom," as Christians today "rely on their own strength instead of their Lord for the day-to-day activities of life," the CCO has tried to bring this biblical ideal to fruition through the Jubilee conference by teaching students how to live as a Christian in the world.

The Coalition for Christian Outreach is "committed to helping students understand the message of the Kingdom of God in all of its fullness" by "boldly proclaim[ing] the salvation that is found only in Jesus Christ" and to "help students see that God has called us all to live under a new set of assumptions - Kingdom assumptions."

Students should "strive to live out the principles embodied in the year of Jubilee because, in a very real sense, the great and forever year of Jubilee has begun with the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ," states the CCO website.