Nine students have been selected as next year’s Student Campus Pastors, a new position in the Spiritual Formation Department with a more rabbinical role in leading chapel both onstage and behind the scenes.
“Under the umbrella of student empowerment, we really want to have more students in leadership capacities,” Campus Pastor Vince Beresford said.
There was not a certain number of students Beresford hoped to secure in this role, but he was impressed with the quality of the students who applied and wanted to get each of them involved in the ministry.
“All of the students that were coming [to apply] had such pastors’ hearts,” Beresford said.
The idea for this newly developed position came when Beresford and others within the department recognized the ministerial quality within their three current interns, such as senior Chelsea Richardson.
As a Religion major and future pastor, Richardson used her internship not only working behind the scenes, but also getting her feet wet in preaching and other pastoral duties.
“Why not have more students who have that calling, who have that direction, who really want to minister and pour out in our student body?” Beresford said.
Another clue to the merit of student leadership has been the all-student run Shine service on Wednesday nights, of which SFD had heard the most enthusiasm.
“I know there are leaders out there who are capable and Spirit-led and I’m excited to see the potentials,” said Megan McDanel, Coordinator of Community Integration. “We are going to see complete ownership.”
SFD also plans to restructure certain chapels in a more community-oriented fashion, such as the chapel on Wednesday, April 21 when students invited faculty to be prayed over. The Student Campus Pastors would oversee those services that are meant to engage the campus in a new kind of unity and integration with one another.
Beresford believes the reason for such passion and excitement over student-led services such as Shine comes with the tendency to more easily rely on peers rather than those in authority.
“There is a more relaxed approach to student leadership versus when I’m doing something there’s a little bit more of an element of needing to earn some trust,” he said. “I would think just because of all the transitions that have happened within the last few years.”
The nine students will also have opportunities to accompany Beresford on pastoral duties such as visiting the sick and praying for others off-campus. He hopes to be able to empower these students by giving them activities in which they will be able to learn how to take that ministry calling and make it applicable.