Just Add Missions!
by Hailey Bryant, Journalist Intern
At Lipscomb University, the Admissions Office and the Missions program have a unique partnership; much deeper than just answering each other’s misdirected phone calls! One of the first things a prospective student will see on the initial campus tour is the McCaleb Missions Center. While admissions counselors and tour guides could just focus on showcasing the state of the art learning facilities and beautiful landscaping, they choose to incorporate what many know is at the heart of Lipscomb: missions and service.
Senior Director of Admissions Rick Holaway realizes the necessity of representing Lipscomb as more than your average college experience. “It is important for the prospective students to understand who we are,” he explains, “We are first, servants for His purpose, then we are faculty, staff and students at Lipscomb.” The people and places on campus may not be the main selling points for some students as they search for something more. “It’s not always about what happens at Lipscomb, but what happens beyond our campus,” Holaway says.
Recruiter Dolly Stang has been a mission team leader in the past and also greatly believes in the importance of sharing the mission aspect of the university. “I think it's imperative for prospective students to know about the mission of Lipscomb early on because it communicates to them that our University not only has the mission of preparing students to achieve great academic credentials, but they are also aiming towards a deeper mission for God’s Kingdom on a daily basis,” she continues to explain; “Missions, in a way, is helping them get out of their comfort zones to see what is going on in the community and the world around them and to see how they can apply themselves in service to not just be leaders academically, but to really learn how to love and care spiritually.”
Having first hand experience with mission work at Lipscomb, Johnathan Akin, Associate Director of Admissions, holds the program close to his heart as he assists prospective students with their college decisions. “I think Lipscomb Missions is a key component in helping students see a tangible way to connect to their faith while here on campus,” Akin explains, “So often students visit Lipscomb knowing they want to attend a Christian university for the environment, but they do not always realize all the many opportunities available to them. Missions is one of the easier ways to help connect the dots for the students because they are able to hear testimonies, see pictures, and meet students that have had these experiences.” Being able to see even a small part of what makes Lipscomb special on that initial visit can really impact a student’s decision.
Josh Link, also a recruiter, has spent the last eleven years visiting the City of Children, an orphanage in Mexico. His initial visit occurred during his time spent as a student here, something he is happy to share with the hopefuls with whom he gets to interact. “Missions was a huge part of my experience at Lipscomb, and now it's my job to help high school students get here in hopes that they too will share in not only the missions program, but a multitude of great opportunities and amazing experiences.”
Someone else responsible for sharing what an amazing experience Lipscomb can be is student tour guide Andrew Hunt. Having also devoted time to missions, Hunt can give hopefuls a good idea of just how life altering service experience can be. “The trips have helped me grow a lot, shown me how big the world is, and how large of a role Christians can play in bringing about change all over the planet,” he says.
The close relationship between Admissions and Missions is one that continues to be a blessing as prospective students flood campus each year. Missions Coordinator Paul Stevens recognizes how essential a close-knit relationship truly is and appreciates the ways in which missions has become a vital part of many lives within the office. “What I love about our partnership and interaction with Admissions is that Missions is not just a recruiting tool - it's something the staff and student workers are involved in themselves, as one of the most actively involved offices on campus.” Stevens continues to explain the honor it is to be such a key component of the recruiting process and how it affects his job, saying, “It serves as a reminder and a challenge for us to continue to develop and grow our program in a manner that will not only provide opportunities for students that fit within their interests and passions, but that above all glorifies God and falls in line with His mission to the world.”
Lipscomb can offer experiences unlike any other university and Admissions ensures that prospective students get a look at the opportunities. Akin sums up the reason for the relationship between the two offices when he shares his desire for hopefuls, saying, “I want students to know that they are a trip away from a life changing, faith changing experience.”