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New assistant aids student life

Aside from his work, Burk enjoys playing guitar. Photo: Nathaniel Hendry

“The saying is, ‘the lights never go out at Student Life,’” Aaron Burk, the new assistant men’s director of student life, said. Even though his work keeps him busy, Burk said he is excited for the opportunity to disciple students.

On an average day, Burk rises early for exercise and time with God. He then heads to his office in Student Life, where he communicates with the male day students, updates information on BJU’s website and meets with students through the Student Life office. He also helps plan student activities such as the pep band and hype squad by giving students information on the game schedule and helping with their promotion.

Burk also spends time, often in the evening, in his role as dorm supervisor for the Brokenshire residence hall discipling students and resolving infractions.

Burk said he particularly encourages students to prioritize prayer in their daily lives. “You don’t get credit for thinking about praying or knowing that you would pray if you had time,” Burk said. Part of the problem, he said, is that Christians do not spend enough time praying. “We have a prayer meeting, and we only pray the last three or four minutes often,” he said.

Burk said he focuses on both spiritual and social wellbeing among students. “I am always looking for ways to create enthusiasm amongst the students for building relationships with others,” Burk said. Burk, whose two sons play soccer for the Bruins, encourages students to enthusiastically support the Bruins teams. “I think that the Bruins are a uniter for all of us,” he said.

Burk graduated from BJU with an undergraduate degree in youth ministries in 1995 and completed a master’s degree in divinity three years later. He then served as the youth pastor at Bethany Bible Church in Hendersonville, North Carolina. While at Bethany, he served as head pastor for about 18 months during a pastoral transition. He then became the program director at The Anchorage Christian Camp in Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina, a position he held for nearly 19 years.

In January 2020, Burk received a call from Dr. Alan Benson, BJU’s vice president for Student Development and Discipleship, inviting him to serve in the Student Life department. However, with the pandemic threatening BJU’s plans for fall semester, Burk received another phone call in March explaining that BJU might not have a place for him.

With a board meeting coming up for The Anchorage Christian Camp, Burk and his family had to make a decision. “We were determined that we would give everything to Him and let Him lead us,” Burk said. He and his family relied on Psalm 25:1-2: “Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed.”

For several months, Burk said the continual uncertainty was like walking through knee-deep water at night. “You have no idea where your feet are going to land,” Burk said. In early June, Burk received a call from Jon Daulton, BJU’s director of Student Life. Daulton asked if Burk was willing to serve as a residence hall supervisor in addition to his role with Student Life. Burk and his wife accepted the invitation.

“I think everything that I’ve gone through has prepared me to be here,” Burk said.

Burk’s role at The Anchorage let him work with students mainly during summers, but his position at BJU allows him to connect with students all year. Burk said he is excited at the increased opportunities for discipleship since he loves working with young adults.

“If they gave [a medal] for most excited to be here, I’d be on the podium for sure!” Burk said. “I’m like, ‘you really want me to do this, and you’re going to pay me to do it, too?’”