Student Life

What Happened at Carry the Love?

Carry the Love is a national grassroots ministry that seeks to “…reach the lost generation and to activate a generation to love and evangelism” by holding multi-day outreach events on college campuses. A little over a week ago (February 15-16), Carry the Love held one of these gatherings on Gordon’s campus. The Gordon Review editorial team does not have an official stance on CTL. However, we realize the event the other week has been the subject of much discussion and controversy. This article is one of three posted (read here and here) centered around the opinions and experiences of those who attended. Our hope is for these pieces to serve as a launchpad for healthy and productive conversation. May we not only seek to understand each other better, but also cultivate a deeper love for Christ and the things He has for us. 

A little over a week ago, I attended the first Carry the Love (CTL) event thinking, “I hope this is not another group that raves about revival and leaves with no follow-up. Organizations like that are not helpful or trustworthy.” But as the night went on and I analyzed everything around me, I let my guard down to receive what I felt God was doing there that night. I was very thankful that I did. 

As Christians today, we must be careful about who we trust and what we believe in. 1 John 4:1-6 cautions us to not believe every spirit we hear, but to test whether they are from God. That is why CTL is so controversial. The organization is not associated with Gordon; many people heard of them only a few days before the event (including myself). They come to our campus preaching the Gospel, and word of revival at this event is spread around campus, only for them to leave two days later. It all sounds very suspicious. 

As someone who attended all three events hosted at Gordon, I would like to share my opinion on why CTL (at least the individuals that came to our campus) are trustworthy and doing the work of God. 

CTL was intentional during their two days at Gordon. On the first night, they made a point to talk about how they wanted to come to Gordon for two days in order to have time on the second day to debrief with students. Wednesday, February 15 was the night of the first event. It included worship, a sermon, prayer, more worship, and a spontaneous baptism. The following day, there was an evangelism workshop, where we learned how to share the love of Christ with others in practical ways and received helpful tools for remembering the Gospel during one-on-one conversations. The third event, later that same night, consisted of separate gatherings for men and women. 

Did they follow up with students? CTL offered multiple resources on how to stay connected with the organization as well as other Christians on campus. They provided the phone numbers of numerous students for any attendee who desired to continue living boldly for Christ to contact. On February 21st, they held a Zoom meeting to follow up with those who felt called to pursue evangelism where they live. They also referred us to resources to stay connected in the future. 

How did they present themselves? As someone who is typically very skeptical, the first thing I always take note of is body language and overall presence. I was greeted with smiles and warm welcomes that felt genuine and intentional. Before the event began, the individuals walked around introducing themselves to Gordon students and were very excited to meet new people. They were genuinely interested in speaking with students and made efforts to remember our names. It was evident from the beginning that these people love Jesus and wanted to testify to that love. 

In comparison to other worship events I have been to, CTL did nothing out of the ordinary. By that, I mean they did not seek to embellish or manipulate the simple and true Gospel with their own ideas. They truly believed in the power of God to save, heal, and move. Most importantly, they believed that the message of the Cross was powerful enough to radically change lives. We began with worship, followed by a sermon and more worship. CTL didn’t call for a supernatural experience with God; they had a message about the Gospel. It wasn’t just a call to live for God boldly; there was a sermon talking about the Love of Christ and how and why it has been transformative in their own lives and the lives of others. It focused on how to love boldly for others and how to be wise as you do. 

What about the baptism? The group made it clear that they felt led by the Holy Spirit to ask if anyone wanted to be baptized that night. As far as I am aware, nothing was forced. One student talked about how he felt called to be baptized for weeks, and when he heard the call, said, “it was a no-brainer; of course, I raised my hand.” After the event, CTL talked about how “crazy” the baptism was even for them, as they had not felt led to ask about baptism for over three weeks. 

I do not know where I stand on the baptism event, but I do know that CTL demonstrated evidence of high scriptural knowledge from a place of love. They were not going to stop a baptism if they felt that the Spirit prompted one. 

How did CTL approach the topic of revival? After the first set of worship songs, it was directly stated they did not come to Gordon to start a revival, but to share the radical love of Christ. Their lives have been transformed by it, and they hoped for the same at Gordon. 

CTL made it clear that only God could bring a revival. They believed that God would work through those impacted through their ministry and that this work was not dependent on their physical presence. 

Jesus also did short-term missions. While this fact should not eliminate all suspicion surrounding CTL, it does go to show that short-term missions are not inherently wrong. There is a way to go about them well. There is also a purpose for long-term missions. Both approaches can be meaningful.

Lastly, revival isn’t revival unless something is done about what was heard—unless there is a call to action. So many students, including myself, were transformed for the better that night and were inspired to live boldly for Christ. I know many students inspired by CTL who are working to further the kingdom of God and spread the Gospel right now.

Regardless of your stance on CTL, I hope students around campus are reminded to live for Christ boldly. Let us love others courageously. May we come together as a community to support each other in Christ and further the Gospel throughout Gordon and beyond. If anyone would like to know more about the CTL event at Gordon, do not hesitate to contact me or ask questions in the comment section below. 

Categories: Student Life

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

[…] has been the subject of much discussion and controversy. This article is one of three posted (read here and here) centered around the opinions and experiences of those who attended. Our hope is for these […]

[…] has been the subject of much discussion and controversy. This article is one of three posted (read here and here) centered around the opinions and experiences of those who attended. Our hope is for these […]