NGU News

Vision 2020 to Inform, Prepare, Inspire

Posted on: March 12, 2021
By LaVerne Howell,

Tigerville, SC (October 16, 2019) North Greenville University (NGU) will host Vision 2020, a half-day seminar focusing on election-year issues impacting the church and culture, on Thursday, Oct. 17 from 8:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church North Spartanburg located at 8740 Asheville Highway in Spartanburg. Featured presenters will be Chad Connelly, Jim Demint, Tonya Shellnut, and Lisa Van Riper.

The seminar is designed to give the right foundation for successful engagement in the marketplace of ideas. From the media to town hall meetings, from political speeches to backyard conversations with family or coffee machine conversations and breakroom banter with co-workers. Christians should know how God’s Word addresses major issues of the day and be confident in our ability to speak the truth in light and love.

“The Presidential Election of 2020 will be a watershed event for our country.  Critical issues now being debated will continue to be debated throughout the 2020 election cycle,” said NGU’s Director of Church and Community Engagement for the Tim Brashier Campus and Host of “Christian Worldview with Tony and Hannah” on His Radio Talk 91.9FM and 92.9FM. “As followers of Jesus Christ, we need to be informed, prepared, and inspired to step into these debates in a way that reflects our commitment to Christ and our concern for our country.”

Chad Connelly

Connelly, well known in political and religious circles around the nation as an effective speaker, relationship builder, and prolific fundraiser, has experienced a wide array of life experiences that contribute to his effectiveness as a highly sought speaker on a variety of topics. He earned an engineering degree at Clemson University, served as an armor officer in the U.S. Army, led a national engineering firm in sales and revenue, and ran a multi-million-dollar business of coaching, mentoring, and leading others into entrepreneurship. He also served as the SC GOP chairman appearing on every national television network as a featured commentator and was the Republican National Convention’s first national director of faith engagement, speaking in 43 states to over 85,000 pastors and faith leaders. Connelly’s book “Freedom Tide” has sold 60,000 copies and allowed him to speak on Christian involvement, free-market principles, attitude, and motivation all across America and in four foreign nations. He formed a 501c(3) organization called Faith Wins to continue to inspire, inform and mobilize pastors and faith leaders across America to fully engage the culture and leverage their influence for a biblical worldview in the political arena.

Jim Demint

Demint represented South Carolina in the U.S. House from 1999-2005 and U.S. Senate from 2005-2013. Known for policy entrepreneurship, he authored leading conservative reforms to health care, education, taxes, and entitlements. He garnered national acclaim from conservatives for leading efforts to ban congressional earmarks, which had been the source of billions of dollars of wasteful spending for decades and led to corruption and widespread abuse. He also successfully led the fight to stop the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill in 2007. He is the founder of the Senate Conservatives Fund, which played a major role in the election of many of the Senate’s leading conservatives like Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson, Pat Toomey, Ben Sasse, and Tom Cotton. He also served as the president of The Heritage Foundation for four years, taking the organization to new heights of influence. He authored several books; his latest, “Falling in Love with America Againdebuted at No. 1 on “The Washington Post” bestseller list.

Tonya Shellnut

Shellnutt serves as regional alliance director at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the largest religious liberty advocacy organization in the world. ADF exists to keep the legal doors open for the Gospel. Since joining ADF in 2017, Shellnutt has been working to engage, empower, and protect churches, ministries, and religious institutions across the country. She is committed to safeguarding their religious liberty legal protections. Before joining ADF, Shellnutt was a small business owner for 15 years and served as state director for Concerned Women for America in both Montana and in South Carolina where she focused on faith and family public policy issues. 

Lisa Van Riper

Van Riper, director of public affairs at NGU, is the president of South Carolina Citizens for Life. She has five decades of experience and activity in public policymaking, either through teaching or public service. She is a former State Board of Education member, appointed by served 12 years for then-SC Governor Mark Sanford’s First Steps Program for School Readiness, recognized with the distinguished service award by the National Governor’s Association for The Putting Families First Welfare Initiative, and awarded the highest civilian honor in South Carolina, the Order of the Palmetto.

“Our society is being reshaped by those in our culture who want to eliminate all vestiges of the Judeo-Christian ethic. At the end of the day, it’s all about the courts,” Van Riper said. “For progressives, winning on social issues is just the beginning; the end goal is to completely undo our current social contract.”

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