News Articles

BP Ledger: Dec. 20 edition

EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger, a new Baptist Press feature launched in mid-December, carries items for reader information each Monday from various Southern Baptist-related entities. The items are published as received.

Today’s BP Ledger includes items from:
LifeWay Christian Resources
Louisiana College
Hardin-Simmons University

Solid foundations laid, lasting
legacy left at BCM centers
By Jennifer Hooks
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (LifeWay)–Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) leaders across the nation realize the importance of having both a functional, committed space in which to meet and a strong foundation for ministry that is focused on Christ.

Bill Collins, a third-generation BCM director, helped move the BCM at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La., into a new building last May. Collins knows the importance of a solid groundwork, as his grandfather set up and laid the foundations for BCM centers all across Tennessee.

Support from Baptist state conventions, alumni and churches plays a vital role in providing for new collegiate ministry buildings. Whether through financial support or volunteer work, individuals and churches make the construction of new centers possible.

Building projects are numerous and each BCM is at a distinctive phase in the building process. The different phases range from the fundraising period at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss., the foundation and start of building at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La., and the BCM at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Ark., which has occupied its building for 10 years.

Fundraising is a major part of any building project. “Currently we are about at the halfway point in the building campaign,” said Michael Ball, BCM director at Mississippi State.

The next stage in the building process is groundbreaking. Louisiana Tech broke ground and began construction on its new BCM building on June 21, 2010. According to BCM director Kevin Inman, “Our new building is in the middle of all the Louisiana Tech housing. God really took care of us.”

BCM buildings on other campuses have been around longer, but they continue to provide for the ministry needs of students. Arkansas State’s BCM building used to be on the edge of the campus, but now the facility is in the center of campus, with about 2,000 students in resident halls on either side of the building.

“We have been in the building for 10 years now and it still feels new to us,” said Arliss Dickerson, BCM director at Arkansas State.

Around the same time the BCM building at Arkansas State was finished up, the university was in the middle of rebuilding its student center and did not have a place to meet. “We allowed the president [of Arkansas State] to host events at our BCM and this opened doors which allowed us to do more with freshmen orientation and greatly increased our partnership with the university,” Dickerson said.

Despite the discouraging economy, new BCM centers continue to thrive. The BCM building at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn., is unique in a few aspects. Not only was it a rebuild, but it also has 19 residents who live in the building. The Tennessee Baptist Convention purchased the building in 1960 and nothing had been done to renovate it in the past 50 years, according to Bob Hall, an alumnus who has served as the BCM director at UTK for 33 years.

“I’m at the endowment stage, and my focus was on how I could best set the ministry up until Jesus comes again,” said Hall. The UTK BCM rebuild was finished a little more than a year ago and the program continues to leave a tremendous legacy. “We have a generous alumni base and had over 300 volunteers, which allowed us to dramatically cut the costs of the building,” said Hall.

Having a ministry in place where students are able to come and “refuel” is important for students like Logan Newton, who has found the BCM to be a great place to worship and hang out with other believers. The BCM has also given him the opportunity to serve in a leadership position – Newton will be contributing to the ministry as he lives in the building as a resident student this year.

“We are in the center of campus geographically and we are also there as a ministry at UTK,” said Bill Choate, collegiate ministries coordinator for the Tennessee Baptist Convention.

Other campuses with new BCM buildings that are complete include Northwestern State and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La. Despite the potential barriers, BCM directors acknowledged that God provided the necessary building funds in a wide variety of forms. “Two huge groups came in from Missouri and from northwest Arkansas to volunteer and work on our building here at LSU,” said Steve Masters, BCM director.

According to Masters, the new building not only increased meeting space, but is much more contemporary and energy efficient than the old building. “You can have ministry without a Baptist center, but having a center allows you to do many more things, such as enabling you to have multiple meetings simultaneously,” Masters said.

For more information and collegiate resources, visit LifeWay.com/Collegiate.
Mary Beth Chapman talks
hope after tragedy
By Polly House

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (LifeWay)–Mary Beth Chapman, wife of singer/songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman, spoke Nov. 3 during the employee chapel at the home office of LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville.

Chapman spoke about the May 21, 2008, death of the couple’s youngest adopted daughter, Maria, and shared about the heartbreak, as well as the support, the family has experienced since the tragedy.

“At Maria’s death, everything I knew about God flew out the window,” she said. “At that point I had to make a decision: Is it all true or is it not? Is God really sufficient for all our needs?”

“I was in a free fall of faith,” Chapman confessed. “But God gave sweetness. We had unimaginable support from thousands of people around the world.”

Maria, who was adopted from China, now has an orphanage bearing her name in the land of her birth. Maria’s Big House of Hope is home to about 130 special needs orphans.

“I believe the enemy came to our house that day to kill and destroy,” Chapman said. “But for some reason, God restrained Himself from intervening. We know we won’t see her again until heaven, but we will see her every day in her orphanage, in her pictures, in the rooms of our home.”

Chapman has written a book that follows the family’s journey from devastation to healing. “Choosing to See: A Journey of Struggle and Hope” is available at all LifeWay Christian Stores.
Louisiana College receives
$1 million donation

PINEVILLE, La. (Louisiana College)–The Louisiana College Board of Trustees received a donation check for $1 million on Tuesday, December 14th during the regular December Board of Trustee’s meeting. The funds were given by an anonymous foundation that supports the mission of the college. The foundation designated that the money be used to create a School of Divinity at Louisiana College. The name of the school is The Caskey School of Divinity, after a Southern Baptist minister who tirelessly worked and evangelized in Louisiana.

“We are humbled by this incredible donation to Louisiana College,” said Dr. Joe Aguillard, President of Louisiana College. “Having a School of Divinity fits perfectly into the mission of LC, and will compliment the strong Christian Studies undergraduate program we currently have.” The founding Dean for the Caskey School of Divinity is Dr. Charles Quarles, who is currently the Vice President of Integration of Faith and Learning and Professor of New Testament and Greek at Louisiana College.

Quarles explained the purpose of the Divinity School, “Louisiana College will establish a Divinity School that will train coming generations of Christian leaders:

1) to correctly handle the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15)

2) to preach the word (2 Tim 4:2)

3) to emphasize the great truths of the Christian faith in their preaching and teaching

(1 Tim 4:16)

4) to share the gospel passionately with the lost (2 Tim 4:5) 5) to model outstanding Christian character (1 Tim 3).

“The task before us is to prepare, organize and build a program for students who love the Lord and the ministry and want to continue in their education,” Aguillard said. “We are designing a program that will be unique, in that, it will focus on the different needs of students. Many pastors are bi-vocational and require classes offered in the evenings, weekends, over holidays and also many desire an on-line component.”

The next step is for LC to submit information to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) for approval. Louisiana College currently has a level three academic standing. This allows an institution of higher education to confer graduate degrees. The Masters of Arts in Teaching, the first Master’s program at LC, began in the summer of 2008. The tentative start date to accept students into the Master of Arts program in the Caskey School of Divinity is August 2011.
Hardin-Simmons University registrar’s last
commencement; Kiser has overseen 80 graduations

ABILENE, Texas (Hardin-Simmons University)–Dorothy Kiser has been overseeing graduations at Hardin-Simmons University since she was named Registrar in 1988. After 30 years at HSU, Kiser is retiring.

Kiser was recognized this weekend during the December graduation exercises at HSU for her valued service as associate vice president for student records and registration. The 2,000 seat Behrens Auditorium was filled for both the morning and afternoon commencements. She was clearly moved when the entire audience rose to applaud during both services.

That moment took her totally by surprise, says Kiser. “That’s the first standing ovation I’ve ever received. I was surprised by the recognition and very humbled by the support of everyone.”

Kiser graduated from HSU with two degrees, a Bachelor of Science in 1965 and a Master of Business Administration in 1992.

Before coming to HSU in 1980, she worked for the Abilene Independent School District as a teachers’ aid and a secretary. Before being named assistant registrar in 1985, she was administrative secretary to the late Dr. Lawrence Clayton, then dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

It was during that first job here that Kiser says she made so many lifelong friends. “The first person Dr. Clayton wanted me to meet when I came to work for him was Juanita Reeder, who at that time was working as the receptionist in Admissions. We have been lifelong friends, and through her, I have become friends with all of her family.”

Another HSU family special to Kiser is what she calls the birthday group. Kiser says it initially centered on beloved dorm director Miss Aileen Culpepper and included former HSU faculty members Dr. Delores Washburn, Carlene Spicer, Frances Renfroe, and Associate Vice President Gracie Carroll. “Of course, all of my girls—the ladies and student assistants that I have hired—are all special friends.”

Kiser says another group of friends important to her is from the registrar organizations in which she has served (WTACRAO, TACRAO, SACRAO, and AACRAO.) “I’m thankful to the administration for allowing me to participate in these organizations.”

Kiser is a past president of the Texas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. She is also a former recipient of the Staff Member of the Year Award at HSU.

During Kiser’s tenure as registrar, vast changes have taken place from no computers to total dependency on computers, she says. Technical advances she has supervised include computerized transcripts; decentralized registration; automated degree plans; and student’s ability to access grades, degree plans, transcripts, catalogs, and schedules online.

Additionally, she has overseen the graduation of some 7,000 HSU students.

She is a graduate of Fort Sumner High School in New Mexico. She and her husband, Allen, have two sons, Mark and Keith. Mark and his wife, Toi Kiser, are both graduates of HSU and have a daughter, Kristina.

Kiser says she plans to spend more time with family, attending HSU sporting events, and hobbies like photography and quilting.

She is a member of Pioneer Drive Baptist Church.

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