During my senior year of high school, I struggled with a calling into ministry. Years earlier, I was confident concerning the direction but lacked the specifics. I knew I wanted to serve Jesus with my life but just unsure how. The ebb and flow of high school seemed to be challenging that leading. Years removed from the initial prodding, I was struggling with which direction to go, and everyone in my life had an outspoken opinion.
I had almost confirmed my college choice but lacked peace. Our new pastor, Jeff Lethco, had just moved into town and asked if he could take me on a prospect trip to North Greenville. Eager to get to know him, I accepted the invitation unaware of how my life was about to be turned upside down.
After one visit to Tigerville, I was confident that I wanted to spend the next four years of my life at North Greenville.
- The admissions staff had a different level of focus and enthusiasm because they were revealing a different type of school.
- The students had a type of spiritual authenticity and vibrancy that I had yet to experience.
- The faculty and staff possessed a Kingdom-type of commitment to what they were doing.
- The administration presented such a humble and approachable demeanor as they welcomed visitors and interacted with one another.
I felt as if I had stepped on holy ground. Rest assured, I’m not talking about the type of holy ground like Moses (Ex. 3:5) or Joshua (Josh. 4:15) stood upon. It wasn’t to that level of course, but it was holy in the truest sense of the term. “Holy” means “set apart.” It is an adjective to use when speaking of something that is designated for something “other than.” As I walked through the hills of the campus, I felt as if the very site had been consecrated for a unique and special purpose.
I remember reading that North Greenville’s motto was “Where Christ Makes the Difference,” and upon my first visit, I truly believed that about the institution.
It is hard to believe how many years ago that was now, but I still believe that about the school today. I believe in this university because what God did in me during my time there.
My Time at North Greenville
Where do I begin?
I can honestly say that there was never a more intense period of discipleship in my life than what I experienced during my four years on campus.
Looking for spiritual water to satisfy me, my time at North Greenville was like drinking from a fire hose.
At North Greenville, I:
- Developed a God-centered approach to applying myself wholeheartedly to education (Col. 3:23; Rom. 12:2)
- Worked on skills that prepared me for work and adulthood in a way that impacted those around me (Matt. 5:16; 1 Pet. 2:12)
- Was given responsibility that caused me to grow up and mature in my vocational path (Eph. 4:15-16)
- Developed a passion for reading and memorizing God’s Word (Josh. 1:8)
- Learned how to interpret and teach Scriptures correctly (2 Tim. 2:15; Ezra 7:10)
- Inherited a cross-bearing love (Luke 9:23) for the nations (Is. 49:6)
- Grew in my understanding and application of biblical discipleship (Col. 1:28-29)
- Established principles for spiritual growth and the lost art of accountability (Prov. 27:17; Heb. 10:24-25)
- Matured into a biblical framework for purity and marriage (2 Tim. 2:22; Eph. 5:3; 1 Cor. 7:35)
- Decided that I was going to spend my life for the sake of the gospel (Acts 20:24; Gal. 2:20)
I promised myself I would stop at 10, but I could go on! I cannot think about one aspect of my life today that was not significantly impacted from my time at North Greenville. It truly was a place where Christ made the difference in me.
Trusted as Trustee
Since graduation, I married, received a couple more degrees, worked at a great church, been blessed with great children, and stayed connected to the school. Whether it has been preaching in chapel, doing some training events, supporting the school in different ways, or sending students that direction, I have stayed fairly connected as an alum.
With each incident, I have seen Christ make a difference in lives through this institution.
It has been a little over 12 years since I graduated, and I am still grateful for the impact that the university is making. This month, my connection with the school significantly changed as I started a tenure with the board of trustees. When I was first approached about serving in this capacity, to say I was humbled would be an understatement.
To be asked by the school’s leadership to serve and then to be affirmed by the South Carolina Baptist Convention is a trust that I take seriously. Someone mentioned to me how this type of position is a great résumé builder. Honestly, that thought hasn’t and will not cross my mind.
I could care less about building my kingdom when I can be a part of building God’s Kingdom.
I took a long time before committing to this position because when I jump into something, I jump in with both feet and wade in as deep as Jesus will take me. After the first few meetings, I am wading in and never been so expectant about the school’s future.
And if you have followed recent events with the school, that’s saying a lot. My timing to join the board has come at a very pivotal time of transition in the school’s history. Any time that leadership is transitioning, there is a lot to do and a lot to consider. That is especially true at this time for North Greenville.
This school has had its fair share of trying times over the years. It is no stranger to setbacks or opposition.
If I look back over the school’s history, God has shown himself strong (Ps. 68:28) time and time again and has loved to show his power especially in times of apparent weakness (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
As I am now becoming inundated with the school’s specifics, I am excited. The school is striving for excellence at a greater level than I have ever witnessed. God is on the move. Lives are being changed. The Kingdom is advancing and North Greenville is playing a part in that.
In the midst of challenges, you might wonder, “how can this be?” That is a simple answer for me.
North Greenville is a place not where man makes the difference but where Christ makes the difference.
- As we continue on with an incredible history, we remember that it is Christ who makes the difference.
- As we move forward into new opportunities of education, we remember that it is Christ who will make the difference.
- As we pray and select a new president, we will not put our trust in man but hold fast to the consistent truth that it is Christ who has, who is, and who will make the difference in our leadership.
- As we make forward progress to fulfill the institution’s role regarding the Great Commission, it is Christ who makes the difference.
My family would not put anything else on our plate unless we believed wholeheartedly in it. I believe that God is doing something great with the university. I are humbled to play my small role in it. Why?
I believe that North Greenville is where Christ [still] makes the difference.