People Do Amazing Things: My Students

I have been fortunate to spend my life working with people. In the last two weeks I have highlighted two of those people.

You can read about Mandy Rapson, a young women dedicating her life to at-risk youth in South Africa, or Dr. Jorge Ponce, a pastor and physician helping those in need in Honduras through serving as a pastor, physician, and entrepreneur. They will inspire you.

Today, I want to tell you about just a few of the amazing young men and women I have the privilege to work with in one corner of my life. More and more, I am convinced they are the missing pieces of the puzzle of our future.

As the dean for the School of Religion at Belmont University, I meet young men and women when they are in high school, work with them through their college years, and then enjoy watching them move out into their lives after college.

It is a great life and I feel fortunate to be able to learn with so many talented and creative young men and women. In the eight and half years that I have been at Belmont, we have graduated about 170 students.

Each of them have a great story to tell, but space obviously doesn’t allow me to talk about all of them. Today, I will list just six them with some way for you to learn more about them. They are all bright, passionate, and committed to helping others. My life is enriched by knowing them. Follow their links so you can get to know them better. They will inspire you.

Kathleen Murphry (2005) After teaching for several years following graduation and being involved in short term missions, Kathleen had a dream of doing missions work. In May 2010, she left her full time teaching career to do local missions and founded a ministry called My Own Backyard. Check out the life-changing work she is doing with children in Nashville.

Barrett Owen (2007) He is a graduate of McAfee School of Theology (M.Div.) and he recently completed a Th.M. degree in Preaching from Chandler School of Theology. He works in the Admissions Office of McAfee School of Theology  and currently serves as the pastor of National Heights Baptist Church, Fayetteville, GA.  You will find him writing regularly on his blog Liminality.

Joel Finley (2008) For several years after graduation, Joel served in an Orthodox Church preparing for ministry. Like many young people he has been sensitive to the changing call on his life and he is now preparing to enter medical school. The fact that he also has great band he has put together called Lulu Mae highlights how creative these students are.

Laura Amstutz Weibezahn (2008) Laura is a Ministry graduate and serves as a full time artist. She does amazingly work connecting her faith and her creative abilities. Discover her great sense for color and her work here.

Allie Peden Levanway (2009) Allie is a singer/songwriter currently living in London while her husband pursues a Ph.D. in theology. Among her accomplishments is having one of her original songs on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy and another song used by Pandora jewelry for a television commercial. You can explore her music and read her blog here.

Terrell Crudup (2010) Terrell is a third year divinity student at the Perkins School of Theology. Terrell serves actively in his church and is preparing for the pastoral ministry. You can learn more about him here.

I could write an entire article about each one of these fine young men and women. There are dozens more who are just like them. They inspire me. They encourage and energize me. They challenge me.

Take heart and know there are creative, passionate, and dedicated young men and women who are taking their place in the world. They will change it for good and make it a better place.

Do you know any amazing and creative young men and women? How do they inspire you?