This is kind of a big deal!
Ravi Zacharias is coming to Chapel Hill!
That’s right, the RZ of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries will be joining us for worship on Sunday, June 10. This is kind of a big deal. Actually, Ravi coming to our church and our town is a really big deal. If you are not familiar with Ravi Zacharias, you might ask the question, “Why is this guy such a big deal?” I could tell you about the many books he’s written (The Grand Weaver is my personal favorite). Or I could talk about his reputation as the leading apologist of Christianity in our time. I could talk about the internationally renowned ministry with his name attached to it, and the many speakers, events, publications tied to that organization. I would be remiss to mention the multiple events we have hosted through RZIM here at Chapel Hill, or the Go Teams we have sent alongside RZIM to college campuses around the country. These things all make this guy a big deal. He comes with an extensive resume and many accolades. Ravi Zacharias is a big deal in his own right, and he does not need an endorsement or introduction from someone like me. But I do have an endorsement for this great man of our faith that comes from personal experience.
My first semester at LeTourneau University, Ravi spoke at our campus Chapel. The school was abuzz with excitement leading up to his arrival, and I was too. I had never heard of him prior to this week, but I had heard that he was a fierce defender of the Gospel. As a young person, my method of apologetics was argumentative and offensive. I liked getting into debates with people about creation versus evolution, Christianity versus Hindu, me versus them. I felt confident in my rightness, and even a bit excited to point out another person’s wrongness. I was a real delight to debate with. In Ravi Zacharias, I hoped to find a person who would help me argue better. I thought he might give me some more zingers to add to my apologetics arsenal. When he approached the podium, it felt like the entire student body was on the edge of their seat.
He opened his message with this verse, “In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15). I had heard and read that verse hundreds of times. But hearing it from Ravi Zacharias, who has a career in defending the Gospel, I was convicted with my lack of gentleness and humility. He then proceeded to talk about how it is not our goal to win an argument, but to win souls for Jesus. Therefore, our greatest aim should be to meet people with the truth and to do so with the overwhelming love that we have been shown by God. He reminded us that we pursue intellect and knowledge so that we might better know the mind and heart of God. And he challenged us to be relentless in our pursuit of knowledge of God, and kind in our interactions with others. That message changed the way I talked to people about my faith.
I’ll always remember the end of his talk. He said that at the end of the day, he wanted to be known as a man who loved the Lord, had a heart for the unreached and a heart for the nations. When I look at the many things that Ravi Zacharias International Ministries has accomplished in the 15 years since I first heard him, I can see how the heart of the ministry is to pursue those things.
So, yes, Ravi Zacharias is a big deal. I can’t wait to have him here at Chapel Hill!
Director of Missions