BMS department classes are a ‘journey’

For one biblical and ministry major, discovering what he wanted to do with the rest of his life was not an easy task, but there is one description he would want people to know him as.

“If I could be known as one thing, it would be a son who is loved by his Heavenly Father, the creator of the universe. That’s amazing,” said Andrew Brunette, a senior biblical and ministry studies major with a focus on children and youth.

Initially, when Brunette came to Waynesburg as an Electronic Media major, he couldn’t see himself doing it for the rest of his life. After a whole month in prayer, asking God for guidance in discovering his passion, Brunette felt God’s pull.

“I was walking to my car in the middle of January, and I was walking from Thayer to Dominos, and it just hit me. ‘Hey, youth ministry you should look into this,’” Brunette said. “I love Jesus.  I love students and kids. Ministry would be a viable option.”

Brunette is one of 19 biblical and ministry majors enrolled in Waynesburg University, making the department one of the smallest on campus. Despite its size, the department offers multiple branches of ministry, including a minor, for students to pursue children and youth, Christian missions, international studies, music ministry, religion and philosophy and media ministry.

“[Biblical and ministry studies] is designed to assist students who have a calling for ministry and prepare them ,both mentally and spiritually, to work with the church or with nonprofits or some other ministry organization,” said Josh Sumpter, assistant chaplain and department instructor.

This exact mindset is what pushes students like sophomore music ministry major Thomas Faye to break out of their shells and take on a new role.

“All the tools they’re teaching us,” Faye said, “It has made me become a better leader. Overall, it boosted by confidence.”

Often classes required for the BMS major overlap with psychology and communication courses.

“We’re working with people,” Sumpter said. “The church is a messy place. We equip our leaders to listen, to care for people, to counsel when necessary and to be aware of the variety of things that impact how humans live.”

Although its size is small, the department truly thrived this school year. They placed third overall in the Day of Giving and raised $5,000, which provided the program what it needed to make an extra push for its students including scheduling monthly events with guest speakers, visiting religious organizations and even getting a trip to Greece during spring break, where the students will follow a “Footsteps of Paul” tour.

That level of dedication and loyalty is reflected not only among the BMS students, but the faculty as well.

“I have a heart to invest in people,” Sumpter said. “I realized that there is a great opportunity to journey with students… I teach in the classroom, but I want to assist them on their journey.”

The idea of embarking on a journey resonates with many of those enrolled in the program.  In fact, Brunette sees most of his courses as a journey.

“We had a class where we would get case studies of real life experiences in ministry,” Brunette said. “And [Sumpter] would ask how we would have responded to this. It’s just very practical.”

Practical advice and continual practice help the students grow in their own faith as well as in their ministry pathways. Practicum and internship requirements force students to go out and involve themselves with the real life ministry field they study.

“I definitely feel prepared,” Brunette said. “I guess I should say my time at Waynesburg overall has prepared me for life in the future. The things that I’ve learned in all my classes I can say, ‘wow I’m going to use this someday.’”

Both Faye and Brunette admit to being unsure where their paths will take them. However, neither seems too worried.

“As long as I’m involved in ministry in some way, I know I’ll be okay,” said Brunette.