Returning students outside of Day Dorm at JumpStart 2021

At this Time, In this Place, For His Purpose | JumpStart 2021

Friday, August 27, dawned with the promise of rain. But the grey skies, humidity, and following rain could not and did not dampen the air of excitement and anticipation on the campus of Maranatha Baptist University. The Class of 2025 would be home by one o’clock that afternoon.  

Returning students greeted the cars as they drove onto campus for JumpStart 2021. New students and their families were lined up outside the gym 30 minutes before the doors opened for registration. When the doors did open, they were greeted by smiling faces and the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls.  

The gym was a hub of activity as students received their registration packets, got their ID card photos taken, signed up for music extracurriculars, and had coffee with cinnamon rolls. 

At the dorms, student-athletes and dorm leadership eagerly helped new students move in a matter of moments. At the women’s dorms, chalk art welcomed the new residents while at the men’s dorms, footballs were thrown and bacon was eaten.  

After registration, each new student had the opportunity to gather with the other students in their department, hear from Maranatha’s administration, and meet their faculty.  

At This Time 

It’s no secret that the world around believers is hurting from the effects of sin and searching for something greater. Maranatha’s mission is to “develop leaders for ministry in the local church and the world ‘to the praise of His glory.’” And now more than ever, the world needs leaders who are God-focused and grounded in biblical theology. 

“We don’t have to look very far for examples of institutions that are effective at destroying and crushing the faith,” Dr. Matt Davis, CEO of Maranatha reminded the new students and their families. “Maranatha exists to build upon the godly foundation of parents, youth pastors, Christian school teachers; to come alongside those faithful servants in building the next level into the lives of our students.” 

“Over the next few years,” Davis continued, “in this very short window of time, we will see [students] choose for themselves moral values and biblical principles that will become the foundation of their lives. And I hope in four years, we’ll see them graduate as champions for Christ, committed to go out and faithfully serve for the rest of their lives.” 

In This Place 

Maranatha’s administration, faculty, and staff are not blind to the state of our world today. Christianity is under attack in various parts of the world and Maranatha’s faculty are dedicated to training students to be grounded in biblical doctrine, principles, and practices. But the faculty desire students to not only be grounded, they also desire to personally mentor their students and see them grow.

“You are here, hopefully, to grow,” Dr. Tracy Foster, Dean of the School of Business stated Friday afternoon. “That’s our goal for you is to see growth whether you’re here for one year, two years, or four years, we trust there’s gonna be visible growth in your life. You are going to go through a lot of challenging times. There will be academic challenges and you’ll be stretched. That’s what we as faculty, staff, student life, and your church involvement – all of those are opportunities to grow and we encourage you in your growth.” 

“We are here for you; the faculty are here to help,” Mrs. Angela Morris, Chair of the Humanities Department shared. “The mission of the Humanities department partners with the mission of the school. It’s not about us; it’s never about us. It’s about God.” 

For His Purpose 

It’s all about God. I was only able to catch a few minutes in 4 out of the 8 department meetings Friday afternoon, but I saw a recurring theme: stay in God’s Word. Don’t be consumed with your academics, with your extracurriculars, with your life that you let your relationship with God slide.   

Dr. Foster concluded his encouragement about growth by saying that the area the faculty want to see growth in the most is the student’s relationship with the Lord. 

“It’s all connected,” he admonished the new Business students. “If you’re struggling in your class, why does that mean your time in the Word is sacrificed? I know it’s hard. You’re going to have a lot of things on your plate.” 

Mrs. Susan Rasmussen, Director of the Nursing Department had three parting thoughts for the incoming Nursing students. Focus on the goal of the Nursing degree and don’t forget it; enjoy college and all it has to offer; take time to grow spiritually. And in this last thought, she demonstrated her heart to personally mentor each of her new students. 

“If you have trouble with your daily devotions, guess what? We do too.” Rasmussen continued, “but we’re here to help you. We’re here to hold you accountable, give you ideas of how to be successful with that. We can help you stay in God’s Word on a regular basis. You might be struggling with so many things going on that you say, ‘I just don’t even have time to do my devotions.’ Do you know what I’m going to tell you to do? Get rid of all of those other things. There is nothing more important than you spending time alone with God and His Word every single day.” 

I can guarantee that it is a desire in every department for their students to know God. Because at Maranatha, it’s not just about developing leaders for the church and world right here, right now; it’s about developing godly leaders for churches, for businesses, for hospitals and clinics, for schools, for law practice, for the arts, for the sciences, for His purpose in their lives.