Unite, don't divide for individual means, Mueller stresses in first Chapel service

GCU President Brian Mueller stresses unity during the first Chapel of the fall semester.

Photos by Ralph Freso / Slideshow

Come together, right now.

That was President Brian Mueller’s message Monday to nearly 7,000 students at the first Chapel of the fall semester at Grand Canyon University Arena.

Mueller used the Beatles as one example of a group that achieved musical fame, only to not sustain it longer because of their inability to rally around the sum of the parts that was greater that their individual achievements following their breakup.

“They couldn’t come around a great cause that could keep them going,” said Mueller, recalling the Beatles’ instant popularity in the United States in the mid-1960s following their arrival from England.

Students stand in a line on Monday that extended from GCU Arena past Prescott Field as they wait to enter the Arena for the first Chapel of the school year.

An engaged crowd listened to Mueller recalling a message from a wise man who told him, “There are really no great men or women. Only ordinary men and women who are able to come together as one for a great cause.”

That stuck with me for a long time.”

Mueller stressed unity throughout his 30-minute message infused with timely segments of Scripture. Mueller’s delivery started with his praise for the construction workers and officials, led by Product Superintendent Randy Blackwell, Assistant Superintendent Vince “Vinny” Florian and Head of Labor Brad DeRossett, whom each coped with persistent scalding temperatures to complete many campus projects, such as the Copper and Santa Cruz apartments, several restaurants and a 17,000-square foot seminary in time for the fall semester.

“The body of Christ has so many important components, and they’re a big part of it,” Mueller said.

Mueller shakes hands with (from left) Randy Blackwell, Vince Florian and Brad DeRossett as he recognizes their work on campus during Chapel.

They performed “in a very unifying way around a great cause,” Mueller said. “And when they come around a great cause, great things tend to happen. The world moves forward. People are taken care of. The Gospel message is preached.

“You can watch it in your own life.”

Mueller cited sports team, music groups, cities, states, countries and civilizations as those who fell apart or could not maintain their efficiency by not rallying around a great cause.

Mueller recalled a Phoenix Suns basketball team about 15 years ago that had the right blend of talent and coaching for sustained success in the National Basketball Association.

GCU President Brian Mueller speaks during Chapel.

“(But) internal jealously and fractions within their team took place,” Mueller recalled. “Companies that are formed by three or four owners, 80% end up fractured. They can’t stay together.”

Mueller painted a daunting challenge for the students because of the divide in the country that he believes has not been this wide since the Civil War, adding that this will be a great challenge for them as future leaders of the church and the country.

“But it’s also a great opportunity,” Mueller said. “And there is no cause greater than the Kingdom of God and the building of the Church. You have the greatest cause on what it is we can do with that to heal this divide. The Bible talks more about unity.”

Students fill GCU Arena to listen to Mueller's message.

Mueller emphasized that GCU students can help fortify unity even as the University continues to grow at a remarkable pace, from an enrollment of 900 14 years ago to nearly 26,000 on-campus students this fall.

And the student body is comprised of 28% of students with a Hispanic heritage and 7% Black, as well as every ethnic and socioeconomic background.

“Those things should be celebrated,” Mueller said. “We’re all proud of where we came from, the culture that we came from. We like to talk about it and we’re proud of it.

The Worship team’s Isabella Gomes sings in praise during Chapel.

“Diversity is important, but it is not nearly as important as the unity. It’s the oneness in Jesus that doesn’t separate us, that brings us together, that creates the power.”

Furthermore, Mueller said everyone should be politically involved. “It’s your background, your experiences.”

“But they’re so secondary,” Mueller said. “The church should be leading the way and keeping the focus on helping people.”

Students give praise as the Worship team performs.

Mueller referenced the 60 to 70 days after Jesus died and rose again (Acts 2:42-47), in which believers sold property and possessions to anyone in need, met in homes to pray and eat together and acknowledge the love for each other in their groups and win over the world in the face of obstacles.

“The lack of conflict, the lack of ego, the lack of pride, and what happens when people come together like that,” Mueller said. “So interesting. People got taken care of.”

University Pastor Dr. Tim Griffin reads the announcements.

The GCU Worship team opened the Chapel service with a few songs, led by “All I Want.”

Between songs, Pastor Tim Griffin announced a change in the Chapel program, stating that the announcements will be displayed on video before the service starts.

Before returning the stage to the Worship team, Griffin asked attendees to high-five the person next to him or her.

All together.

GCU Senior Writer Mark Gonzales can be reached at [email protected]

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Bible Verse

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

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