Samford’s School of the Arts has started classes for its new Christian ministry major. Fall 2018 marks its first semester of classes, starting with courses like disciple-making and Old Testament survey for freshmen.
The new program was first announced during the summer of 2017, when Scott Guffin was chosen as the executive director of the program. The Samford alumnus started in ministry as a youth pastor during his time as a college student. His 32-year career has taken him through churches in Alabama, Kentucky and Indiana as a youth minister, minister of music, associate pastor and senior pastor.
J.D. Payne, pastor of multiplication at The Church at Brook Hills, also started as a faculty member this fall.
“I am both humbled and excited about this opportunity to teach missions and evangelism with the amazing faculty of Samford University,” Payne said in a Samford press release. “It is a delight to see the grace of God upon this school.”
Additionally, Galen Jones of Oklahoma Baptist University will join the program in January 2019.
“I am overjoyed by what God is doing through the new Christian Ministry program at Samford University,” Jones said in a Samford press release. “Our team will be teaching, training and equipping a new generation of young people who will take the Gospel around the world, thereby setting a platform for revival, renewal and for a modern renaissance in Christian living and serving.”
The program is Baptist connected, as Samford was first founded as a Baptist college, but all denominations are welcome. Career opportunities vary from Christian non-profit work to career missions to chaplaincy and more.
Sophomore Brooke Robyck changed from pre-pharmacy to the Christian ministry major after a mission trip her freshman year.
“I thought that I was supposed to use pharmacy for missions, but during this summer the Lord completely changed my mind about my career and calling, and I decided to take a step of faith and change my major to Christian ministry,” Robyck said.
However, this major transition did not come without hesitation.
“I probably spent three weeks after deciding to go into ministry before I actually changed my major,” she said.
While a part of this uncertainty laid in post-grad plans, Robyck continued to have a change in heart.
“I came to the obvious conclusion that in my own human strength and understanding, I would always have fear, so again I had to put my trust in the Lord and realize that he always knows what is best for my life,” she said.
While the degree is a part of the School of the Arts, alongside the worship programs, Beeson Divinity School Dean Timothy George strongly supports the new degree.
“I wholeheartedly support the development of a well-designed undergraduate Christian Ministry Program on our campus,” George said in a Samford press release. “An academically sound program, one based on the authority of Scripture and an explicit Christian worldview, will help a new generation of students to face the difficult cultural and moral challenges of our world.”
Kathryn Jordan, Features Editor
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons