With a smile stretched ear-to-ear and hands raised, Darris Sneed made his presence known on the John Brown University campus. Returning for the third time, Sneed’s joy effervesced from the stage in the Cathedral of the Ozarks as the student body worshipped together.
Sneed’s message was a call to action for the University and for today’s generation.
He commented on the importance of being the hands and feet of Christ and how Christians need to care for the needs of their communities.
“A lot of times you won’t know what your community needs until you go. Find out! So that means you have to force yourself to come outside yourself. If Jesus were here today he would come outside of his nice car and four-people, two-bath house and go out and find out what people need,” Sneed said.
Sneed added that God calls us to reach out and stretch ourselves in new ways to meet the needs of our neighbors, brothers and sisters.
“I don’t care if you live in the suburbs or the ghetto; there is always a need. I believe wherever there is a need, God will fill it,” Sneed said.
Sneed said that he believes that today’s generation often gets caught behind a screen and puts on a false face towards the world.
In 2014 Sneed lost everything. His bank account was empty and even his car was repossessed.
“In the midst of the struggle I was still trying to worship and lead people, but people see this life on Twitter and Facebook and thought I was okay, but behind the scenes I was dying,” he said.
Sneed said he learned what it was like to hold on to God alone because He was the only one he could lean on.
“I was literally in a corner in the fetal position one day and then only 3 months later, God brought a car and opportunities and I was ministering to thousands of people. The process is necessary. You have to go through the lows to be a good steward of the highs.”
Meghan Hardwick remembered his singing talent and had her calendar marked for Sneed’s return to the University.
Hardwick said, “Out of all the chapels, that’s one I didn’t want to miss. I looked forward to his evident love for the Lord and his ability to get JBU students out of their shells and actually have fun worshiping.”
Hardwick described his energy and presence as refreshing and agreed with Sneed’s point that our generation is social media obsessed.
“Although I think we recognize that Facebook posts aren’t going to solve anything, it was a good reminder to actually love people instead of just complaining about what is or isn’t being done,” Hardwick said.
Jessah Taber, sophomore music major, said she appreciated Sneed’s honesty and passion about Christian’s impact on the world.
“It’s neat hearing life experience and advice from a younger adult who has first hand experience with racism, prejudice and just growing up as a Christian in this world,” Taber said.
She said she hopes that his words press on people’s hearts and minds. “I hope we begin to see change concerning these issues, starting right here on our campus.”
Both Taber and and Hardwick said they loved hearing him sing at the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration and Hardwick said it was clear that Sneed was attuned to what God wanted him to say.
“One encouraging thing for me was that he acknowledged that racism still exists, but he didn’t dwell on blame. This was encouraging because even as he speaks, he is living out what he believes: acknowledging the problem and then finding ways to take action,” Hardwick said.
Sneed is currently living in Florida in an area with a mixed population and said he loves to dive in and spend time in a new culture. He believes it makes him a person of more influence.
“Most people just need attention and love and they just need an hour of your time. Eventually you develop trust and love and take on the heart of God,” Sneed said.