In the midst of busy schedules, BJU students still make time to serve in local churches.
As President Pettit referenced in a recent chapel message, getting involved in a local church is a key part of student’s experience at BJU.
“I would be very concerned that you come to Bob Jones and get so wrapped up in what you’re doing that you forget the main thing, and that is staying involved in ministry,” Pettit said.
Students attend dozens of different local churches and participate in a wide variety of ministries. Several leaders of those ministries shared their experience of serving alongside BJU students.
Sandia Swartz, who is a member of Palmetto Baptist Church in Easley, has worked with 3- to 4-year-olds in Frontline, a discipleship program for young children, for three years.
Alexis Shoemaker, a junior early childhood education major, and Hannah Deal, a senior graphic design major, are two university students who assist in the ministry.
Swartz said the students help with activities like making crafts, acting out Bible stories, and listening to the children recite Bible verses.
Swartz said the students are a constant help to the ministry and good examples of Christ’s love to the children.
“I have seen the faithfulness of my two helpers show the children that they care for them. Their tenderness and enthusiasm let the children know they are free to be who they are,” Swartz said.
Deal shared what makes her most excited to help with the children’s ministry.
“One of my favorite parts of helping with the kids is hearing how sincere and honest they are when they pray— something you don’t see even in many adults,” Deal said.
“I also enjoy watching them be excited to grow and learn more about God and His Word,” she said.
Elizabeth Calvino, a 2015 BJU graduate, has led a teen club at Mount Calvary Baptist Church for the past four years.
Calvino said that around 20 university students assist with the program each week by helping with things like games, verse memorization, and even eating dinner with the teen group.
“We try to have as close to a one-on-one ratio as possible,” Calvino said. “All the leaders take turns teaching the lesson so everyone teaches once or twice a year.
Calvino said the verse memorization time can be particularly beneficial.
It gives the leaders and teens a chance to connect individually to discuss Bible verses and to apply them to the teens’ lives.
The faithful service of the BJU students has reaped much spiritual fruit, but one particular example involved a teen girl who made a profession of faith as a result of attending the teen club.
The young girl became curious about why the student helpers willingly put up with the teens’ occasional rebellion or disrespectful attitudes.
She questioned one student helper, Rebecca Talbert a graduate student at the University, about how the students could be so patient.
By quoting Ephesians 4:32, Talbert used the opportunity to direct the teen’s attention to Jesus Christ.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).
It was a moment of great realization for the teen. She is now eager to be discipled and has a regular Bible study with Talbert outside of the church teen group.