August 11, 2021
East Texas Baptist University faculty and staff gathered on Monday, August 9, for Fall Summit to spend time in prayer over the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year. Following the special Summit service, the University prayed blessings over the ground of the building site of the Great Commission Center.
“Over the last year and a half, we have faced many highs and many lows in life together as a University Family,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn said. “We faced separation and sickness with a longing to be together again, we rejoiced in our reunification, we acclaimed record-breaking enrollment, we overcame a historic winter storm and the challenging loss of water service, we mourned the losses of cherished ETBU Family members, and we celebrated sending off the largest class of Tiger graduates. And through it all, we prayed! To lead and influence people, to effectively serve and minister to our students, we must connect with God—the Lord moves people in response to the prayers of His saints. Prayer moves others through God’s influence on them. It is not our prayer that moves people, but the God to whom we pray.”
East Texas Baptist University’s legacy, beginning with the establishment of the College of Marshall 109 years ago, remains committed to Christ by meeting students where they are and propelling them to where God has called them to be. One of the ways in which the University accomplishes this is through organized times of intentional prayer for students.
“By prayer, we can tap into the power of God to ignite, to illuminate, and to invigorate our spiritual leadership, our spiritual service for God’s purposes and His glory,” Dr. Blackburn added. “There is no doubt in my mind that prayer not only produces perseverance in our Christian walks, gives direction and discernment in our decision-making, but it also harvests a profound and harmonious connection with our Father through the time we spend with Him.”
After the Summit service, attendees walked from the Rogers Spiritual Life Center to the site where the Great Commission Center will be constructed. During this time, ETBU Provost and Vice President Thomas Sanders lead the group in prayer over the future of the University and the Great Commission Center.
“Father, we gather in this place recognizing that this building will not accomplish the Great Commission,” Dr. Sanders prayed. “We pray that this building ties our university in a way that cannot be untied to the Great Commission. To making disciples, and to growing individuals in their faith. We pray for the generations of students to come who will be in this building for all the endeavors across our campus for mission trips, for careers, for all of the things that become a part of this call, we pray for clarification for each person. Today, we are raising the level of our responsibility in our calling to equip students in every department.”
Construction begins with site development this month, August 2021. The projected completion date for the Great Commission Center is Spring of 2023.