CEDARVILLE — A Virginia pastor encouraged Cedarville University students to be “difference makers” on the day that celebrates the life of one particularly great difference maker — Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. Allen McFarland, senior pastor of Calvary Evangelical Baptist Church in Portsmouth, Va., spoke about the civil rights leader during chapel Jan. 21 at the university.
“Consider when he lived and the things that he did,” McFarland said. “When you leave here today, leave thinking: You can be a difference maker.”
In 2012, the Black Christian News Network named McFarland one of the nation’s 70 most influential black Christian history-makers living today. He founded Angelos Bible College in Portsmouth in 1984, and is currently its chancellor. McFarland also has a radio ministry, “The Joyous Sound,” broadcast on a Portsmouth radio station. In 1995, he established the Joyous Sound Education and Enrichment Center, which currently enrolls children, pre-K through third grade.
During chapel, the pastor encouraged students to rejoice in their youth, remove sorrowful things from their lives, and to remember God.
“Walk in the ways of your heart and in the sight of your eyes,” McFarland said. “You should celebrate in everything that you do. Life should be for you a matter of celebrating. You are young. Be excited. Go places and make a difference with people. Let your heart cheer you, celebrate, walk in the ways of your heart. If your heart says I want it, go for it. If your eyes see it, go for it. Don’t hold back.”
Cedarville University President Thomas White told the Gazette that the speaker provided a good opportunity for students to start good conversations, and urged them to get to know someone different than themselves.
McFarland also spoke about diversity.
“The world is much larger than you. We shouldn’t be self-centered. We need to be actively involved with others all the time,” he continued.
McFarland briefly referred to the time he participated in the civil rights movement and went to jail for demonstrating.
“You make a difference today by sitting at the table,” he said. “You may have been brought up a certain way. You may have been put in certain positions or categories. Man, you have to have a mind change.”
Before closing in prayer, he continued, “It is not because of the pigmentation of your skin or the texture of your hair that makes you better than anybody else … Don’t just hang with people who look like you, talk like you. This world is such that God created us with color. God made everything with color. Be colorful in your mindset. Be a difference maker.”