February 23, 2024

Bob Goff, speaker, lawyer, self-proclaimed chief balloon-inflator and best-selling author of “Love Does” and “Everybody Always,” stuck out his shaking left hand in the Van Dyne Gymnasium Sept. 12 at the first Campus Nite of the semester.

After being diagnosed with malaria, Goff said something disconnected in his hand and now it suffers from tremors.

He stuck his hands back in his pockets and said he used to refuse to pray holding hands because he never wanted anyone to think he was weak. But this is exactly what Goff encouraged California Baptist University students to try to be: weak.

“Want to go deep in your relationships?” Goff asked the crowd. “Reach out with your weak, vulnerable hand. What love does is it’s vulnerable. Love reaches out with its weak hand.”

Goff encouraged students to start the new semester with the intention of building real, vulnerable relationships and having honest conversations with each other.

“Don’t just ask what someone’s name and major is,” Goff said. “Ask the third question.”

Through various quirky anecdotes and his booming laugh, Goff shared with CBU students different ways in which allowing himself to be vulnerable sometimes worked out but not always.

“I want to fail trying,” Goff said. “I don’t want to fail watching.”

Goff challenged students to try to really get to know other people around them, regardless of if he or she would be successful.

Jacob Ravenscraft, director of university ministries for the Office of Spiritual Life, said the purpose of Campus Nite is to connect students to each other but also to provide them with an example of someone who was following Christ outside of CBU.

“We want to bring people from the outside in who are really gifted in what they do, who love doing, and who love Jesus,” Ravenscraft said. “Bob (Goff) represents those things. He loves Jesus, loves what he does, and he’s really good at it. We wanted someone who has a large sphere of influence to point our campus in the right direction of having authentic relationships.”

Bob Goff prays with students at Campus Nite. Elijah Hickman | CBU Banner

Maddie Martin, junior nursing major, said she related to the stories Goff shared and it changed her perspective on starting the new semester.

“Bob Goff talked all about love and how we need to love people,” Martin said. “Often times that’s what Christians forget; it’s all about love and that’s what Jesus wanted. I really want to love those around me and get to know people that I don’t know.”

Other students, such as Kaycee Binder, freshman exercise science major, said she had never heard of Goff before the event but now she had a clearer idea of how she wanted to continue her first semester of college.

“I knew I should be trying to make more genuine friendships and relationships but this message just confirmed that for me,” Binder said. “I really want to start my freshman year off with real friendships and learn how to be more honest with my friends.”

Goff ended his message by asking the audience to stand up to pray. He then jumped down from the stage, stood on an empty chair and stretched his hands out to pray for a semester full of real, honest conversations for the campus.

The next Campus Nite date has not been announced yet.

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