2021 Baccalaureate Service

Excited soon-to-be graduates entered Maranatha Baptist University’s gymnasium on the evening of May 6, for a special celebration: the Baccalaureate service. The Baccalaureate service is a time to recognize the achievements of the graduates and spiritually encourage them in preparation for the commencement exercises, and life afterward. 

Dr. Matthew Davis, Chief Executive Officer of Maranatha Baptist University, welcomed the graduates’ family members, local ministers, alumni, MBU board members, and faculty to the baccalaureate service. 

After Dr. Davis’s formal welcome, Dr. Larry Oats, a long-standing faculty member of Maranatha Baptist Seminary, opened the service with prayer, thanking the Lord for the graduates who were committed to and had finished their education. He asked the Lord to bless their future endeavors and thanked Him for their desire to serve God.  

A highlight of the Baccalaureate ceremony is the announcement of awards, which came after the Praisemen ensemble sang “Am I a Soldier of the Cross.” The chair members announced the individual awards for their schools and colleges. 

Award Winners 

  • Bible Institute: Amber Brungard 
  • College of Bible and Church Ministries: Joshua Bunger 
  • Department of Applied Science: Ashley Towberman 
  • Department of Humanities: Samantha Nupson 
  • Department of Music: Lorraine Yant 
  • School of Business: Kyle Nankey 
  • School of Education: Sarah Milam 
  • School of Nursing: Kevin Burns 
  • Online and Distance Learning: Susanna Chediak 
  • Seminary – Theology: Matthew Zajac 

After the announcement of awards, graduating senior Lorraine Yant, winner of the Outstanding Musician Award, played “God Leads Us Along” for the offertory.

After the offertory, Dr. Steven Love, Professor in the Department of Bible and Church Ministries, read from Ephesians 1:3-14, a passage of scripture detailing how believers are beloved and chosen by God to be “to the praise of His glory.” 

The Praisemen ensemble came back on stage and sang “Wings as Eagles,” reminding those in attendance that our faithful God enables the believer to be strong amidst trial and discouragement.  

Baccalaureate Message 

Dr. Milton Jones, Program Director of Maranatha Baptist Bible Institute and a faculty member for Maranatha Baptist Seminary, delivered the sermon for the baccalaureate service. His text was 1 Samuel 30, and he focused on David’s discouragement when he found his home burned to the ground.  

Jones recognized that the graduates are going into a world that is very different from the world their professors entered when they graduated college.  

“The greatest tool Satan uses to undermine God’s people is internal discouragement,” Jones stated. “How shall we respond?” 

Jones stated that encouragement must be personal. David encouraged himself in the Lord. But it’s not just personal encouragement, it was encouragement in a Person. Jones encouraged the graduates to turn their gaze from the problem to the Problem Solver. “You can’t look to yourself or to others. You must have your eyes on your God.”  

“Circumstances might change, but your relationship with God does not,” Jones stated. 

Secondly, Jones encouraged the graduates to seek God in the face of discouragement. He challenged the graduates to pray in the good times and the bad times.  

“With His help, you will succeed ‘to the praise of His glory.’”  


In conclusion, Mr. Mark Herbster, Dean of the College of Bible and Church Ministries and Maranatha Baptist Seminary, offered the benediction, praising God for our salvation and each graduating student.  

To view the Baccalaureate service, click here.  

To view photos, click here.