This past week, AU had the honor of welcoming Bob Goff to campus to speak to and spend time with students, faculty, staff and the greater Anderson community.
Goff is best known for his New York Times Bestselling book “Love Does.” Since it was published in 2012, “Love Does” has sold over one million copies and has been translated into 10 languages. People all over the world are being called to action and inspired by Goff’s message of passionately loving our neighbors, our enemies and everyone in between.
Goff is also the founder of Restore International, a non-profit human rights organization. Goff uses 100% of the profits from “Love Does” to promote human rights and education in Uganda, India, Somalia, Iraq and Nepal.
Recently, Goff started a school for witch doctors in Uganda. According to Goff, child sacrifice is a common practice amongst Ugandan witch doctors. Last year alone, 862 children were killed by witch doctors in Uganda. Until two years ago, none had been tried in a court. That changed when Charlie, a young boy, was abducted and maimed by the head of the Ugandan witch doctors, Kabe. Charlie was rescued, and Goff became his legal guardian.
As a result, Charlie was not only able to meet the President of the United States Barack Obama—he was able to get Kabe tried and convicted for his crimes.
Since then, Goff said, Kabe has come to know Christ. He has preached the Gospel to the 3,000 men who live with him in prison.
Because of the life-changing work he has done through Restore International, Goff was asked to serve as the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Uganda to the United States. He is known worldwide for the radical ways in which he demonstrates the love and care of Christ.
As if his list of titles and accomplishments was not long enough already, Goff is also an attorney at a law firm in Washington D.C., and an adjunct professor at Pepperdine Law School and Point Loma Nazarene University. He lives in San Diego with his wife, who he affectionately nicknamed “Sweet Maria.” He also has three sons and a daughter.
Goff travels all around the world to speak at churches, schools and events. He came to AU with the primary purpose of speaking at two different chapel sessions, one the night of March 28 and one the morning of March 29. Through that, he also built relationships with students and faculty, signing books, sharing stories and taking hundreds of selfies.
Sophomore Abbie Moyer was excited for Goff’s message to find its way to our campus. “I think we get so caught up in doing things that we think make us look Christian, but it all comes down to loving others,” Moyer said. She hopes that “people will see heaven in me by how I love them, not based on how many Bible verses I can quote.”
“It was important to have Bob Goff speak to the AU community to remind us what our purpose is. He reminded us to go out and do, to love everyone we meet, and not to be afraid of places that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable,” Moyer reflected.
On Monday night, Goff spoke about humbling ourselves in order to love more like Jesus. “We don’t have to try to win arguments for Jesus,” Goff said. “Humble peoples’ voices carry further in this world.”
The audience was encouraged by his words of wisdom regarding how hard we are on ourselves sometimes. “You’re not a winner if it works and you’re not a loser if it doesn’t work,” he said, “you’re a follower of God if you tried.”
He also gave a message many of us needed to hear on building each other up with our words instead of tearing each other down. “Quit talking about who people are or who they used to be,” Goff said. “Talk about who they’re becoming, because we’re all becoming love.”
Many students reflected upon Tuesday’s chapel as the best chapel of their entire AU experience. Goff described how powerful Christ’s love is for us, saying “on your worst day, Jesus calls you beloved.” He also explained how being filled with Christ’s love should lead us to love others extravagantly. Not just our friends and family, but the people who “creep us out,” as Goff would say.
“If following Jesus doesn’t lead you to lonely, hurting people, you’re not following Jesus,” Goff said.
Goff called attention to how hard it can be for us to trust God, but at the same time how crazy it is when we don’t, because “Jesus literally jumped out of heaven to be with us.” If we have a God we can trust, we do not need to worry about the path we are on. Goff’s simple but compelling advice is to “let love lead.”
One of Goff’s first speaking engagements was at Anderson ten years ago. “Returning felt like a homecoming,” he reflected on his visit. “It felt more like a living room than an auditorium.” He described his hope for our community at AU, urging us “not to wait for permission to give [our] love away. Do it extravagantly.”