RECAP: Q Union 2018
Last Thursday, Lee University joined 21 other campuses across the nation in hosting the annual Q Union conference which combines nationally broadcasted talks with local student-led talks.
The conference is a national effort to equip students to faithfully engage culture, according the the Q Union website. This year's theme was "The Power of We."
Thursday evening's event began with a livestream of Gabe Lyons, founder of Q Ideas, the organization that coordinates Q Union.
"We want this to be a [safe] space where there's actually room for people to disagree, but to do it respectfully," Lyons said. "We know that's not modeled well in our media. It's not something we often see of the thing that's celebrated the most."
The first speaker on the livestream was three-time author and entrepreneur Jo Saxton.
Saxton is known for founding the Ezer Collective, an initiative that invests and equips women leaders, and for hosting the podcast "Lead Stories: Tales of Leadership in Life."
Saxton's message, titled "The Gift of Hospitality," focused on the virtue of hospitality towards others and emphasized the creation of strengthening friendships beyond one's self.
Following Saxton, senior Spanish education major Audra Chaney took to the Conn Center stage to deliver her talk, titled "No Aprons Required."
Chaney's talk emphasized Christians' need to not restrain themselves from serving others, but rather to display a willingness to serve.
“Hospitality is a lifelong pursuit, not a random act of kindness,” Chaney said. “It’s more like a way of living, discovering our God-given gifts and asking God to show us everyday who around us needs encouragement and reminders of His truth. And then we need to listen and let Him lead us, because Christian hospitality is not always about putting our aprons on and making brownies. It’s what doing life with Jesus should look like.”
Senior elementary education major Tamela Cooley gave the second student-led talk with her speech, titled "Invisible Hands."
The title refers to a moment in Cooley's life during a church service where struggling members of the congregation were asked to raise their hands.
According to Cooley, she was unable to raise her hand because she was undergoing an intense internal struggle resulting in a lack of guidance from the church.
"The first hospitals were often called 'faith houses,'" Cooley said. "There [pilgrims] would pray for the residents…[and] for the people outside…and inside. Isn’t it ironic how the pilgrims used hospitals as churches, but we can’t use our churches as hospitals?"
Following Cooley's talk, Q Union shifted back to the livestream, where Lyons interviewed author and entrepreneur Scott Harrison in a segment titled "Solving Problems Together."
Harrison spoke in depth about his experiences overseas involving philanthropic ventures. Harrison is the founder and CEO of charity: water a non-profit that aims to bring clean drinking water to people across the globe.
The next highly anticipated speaker was popular Christian author Bob Goff, who delivered a presentation titled "Everybody Always."
Goff gave a series of succinct anecdotes regarding the success of a handful of his friends and acquaintances, also mentioning a time where he called upon God for strength in teaching literacy to a group of witch doctors.
Senior communications major Chandler McCosh delivered the final talk of the evening, titled "Recovering a Holistic Faith."
"We make sense of our lives through story, and our beliefs about the world are very much shaped by stories," McCosh said. "If we want to be effective leaders who see people thrive in their calling, we need to offer a better story that says God wants to redeem whole people, whole cultures and the whole creation."
"If we can offer that story as a framework for people, then they will develop a much more holistic faith that isn't primarily concerned with just saving souls for heaven, but with God redeeming all things," McCosh continued.
While no recording of the event is currently available, content similar in nature to Q Union can be found on the Q Ideas website.