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 Batterson Inspires/Challenges AU Students, Area Leaders

Best selling author and founding pastor of The National Community Church in Washington, D.C., Mark Batterson spent time at Anderson University on Wednesday, January 13th, spreading his passion for church planting, evangelism, and worship to audiences of students and the newly formed Young Leaders Network. The YLN is an Anderson University sponsored forum for young ministers from protestant and non-denominational churches to promote relationships, communication and sharing of ideas in ministry.


Batterson, one of the nation’s more popular authors and preachers, founded the National Community Church in Washington in a movie theatre in Union Station in 1996 with a congregation of 19. The church has spread to locations (mostly movie theatres) throughout D.C. and owns the largest coffee house in the city. Many of the nation’s top leaders, including former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, are regular attenders. His book on living outside the bondage of fear, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, was a best seller, followed by the popular Wild Goose Chase, and the just released, Primal.

Batterson challenged students attending chapel at AU to pursue “God-sized” dreams and purposes in their lives. Citing his book, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, whose title comes from the Story of Beniaiah (2 Sam. 23: 20-11), Batterson urged students to embrace God’s calling in their lives and defeat the fear that would keep them from being effective in The Kingdom.


“The cure for the fear of failure is not success,” he told students. “It is failure, in small enough doses that you become immune to it.”


Batterson concluded his sermon to students by giving them what he called The Lion Chaser’s Manifesto:

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Accumulate experiences. Consider the lilies. Criticize by creating. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshiping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away.



An hour-long question and answer session with the Young Leaders Network followed the chapel services in which pastors from all over the Upstate were able to peek inside the formation of National Community Church and inquire about Batterson's own spiritual formation. The group then attended a luncheon at the Vandiver Gallery of the Thrift Library at AU to engage in a discussion with newly elected SCBC president, Dr. Fred Stone. Stone spoke about the importance of passionate young leaders in taking the convention in a God-inspired new direction and his own passion for finding newer and creative ways to grow churches and build The Kingdom in South Carolina.


Attendees were also introduced to the new Master of Ministry program at Anderson University and given an opportunity to ask questions about how to pursue the new degree either on campus or online.




Anderson University is a comprehensive university affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention offering bachelors and masters degrees. Anderson is ranked in the Top Tier (top 25) of colleges and universities in the South, and one of “77 Schools to Watch in America, by U. S. News & World Report.  Anderson has also been named one of “Americas 100 Best College Buys,” Located in The Upstate region of South Carolina near the foothills of the Appalachians, Anderson University features a rigorous education in a supportive Christian environment.


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