Blue Mountain College hosted its annual Christian-Related Vocation (CRV) Banquet on September 16th. Held in the Ray Dining Hall, the banquet featured delicious food prepared by the MMI Dining Services team. Various representatives from the Mississippi Baptist Convention (MBC) were in attendance, including Executive Director-Treasurer Dr. Shawn Parker. Every student at Blue Mountain who has surrendered to the ministry and currently receives the CRV scholarship, an excellent opportunity available through the college, was also invited. The evening thus doubled as a social event, with the students snatching the opportunity to dress in their finest.
The evening began with a statement from BMC’s president, Dr. Barbara McMillin. She thanked the Convention representatives for coming, and she praised BMC’s Biblical Studies faculty for their superior work in their field of education. Next, Jakob Harris delivered a word of appreciation for the ministerial aid which the MBC provides to all students who are preparing for ministry in a Southern Baptist Church. The use of these funds is entirely at the recipient’s discretion.
Following this expression of gratitude, two students received scholarships. Dr. Thomas Magers presented the R. Hardy Scholarship to Zack Ainsworth, a senior majoring in Christian Ministries. The second scholarship was the William Washburn Scholarship, which Dr. Tim Mims awarded to Margaret McCain, a senior Worship Leadership major. “It was very much a surprise,” McCain shared. “I did not think they would be calling my name. […] This scholarship will greatly help me pay for the rest of my tuition for the year.”
After an introduction by Dr. John Pace, head of the Leadership Department in the MBC, Dr. Parker gave an address to the ministerial students. His message came from 2 Timothy 4:5, which states, “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (ESV). Dr. Parker applied the concepts in this verse to all those in ministry, instructing them to keep their minds on their ministry and to not allow themselves to become distracted by anything in their lives. He warned them that suffering would come, as those in ministry are especial targets of the evil one. He encouraged them to stand strong in the midst of that suffering, always remembering that the Almighty God Who has called them to service will never forsake them.
Finally, Dr. Parker explained that the primary task of anyone in ministry is to share the Gospel of God, telling everyone that Jesus Christ died for the sins of all people so that each and every person can repent of their sin and place their faith in the resurrected Christ, thereby entering into a personal, eternal relationship with God. These three things, Dr. Parker insisted, are central to every ministry.
The opportunity to gather with other like-minded individuals, all chasing after the same goal of vocational ministry, is one which the students greatly appreciated. Dr. Parker’s message was a timely reminder of what it means to serve God, giving everyone the encouragement they needed to continue giving their all to the work to which God has called them.