Dinner enables students to meet ministry leaders

Waynesburg University will be hosting its third annual Ministry Leader’s Appreciation Dinner  Feb. 10 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Joshua Sumpter, the university chaplain, said the event is intended to give students knowledge about ministry today. 

“The ministry leaders appreciation dinner is geared towards giving our students an opportunity to interact with people in ministry,” Sumpter said. “It is also an opportunity for us to say thank you to our local ministry leaders for the work they do for our students and community.”

Sumpter hopes that students are able to build relationships at the dinner. 

“I want students to have the opportunity to build relationships with churches and community leaders,” Sumpter said. “I also want students to think about their calling and what their ministry can look like for them.”

According to Sarah Mendes, a junior biblical and ministry studies major with a focus in youth and children’s ministry, that goal was met in the two years that she has been in attendance.

“It had always been a really good time of guided conversation and networking,” Mendes said. “Josh always assigns tables to us, so we are always put with pastors or other students who we may not know too well, which is a really good opportunity to build relationships.”

Sumpter said that he also wants students to think about what ministry could look like for them. 

“I also want students to think about their calling and what their ministry can look like for them. I really do hope that our students think critically about ministry calling and who God is calling them to be.”

Multiple denominations from across the county will be represented at the dinner. 

“It’s an ecumenical experience,” Sumpter said. “I invite pastors and people from nearly every church in Greene County.”

Sumpter hopes that the attendance is just as successful as last year. 

“Last year, we had about 55 total participants, 25 of them were local ministry leaders and about 30 were our students and people on campus,” Sumpter said. “This year, our hope is to have in that same ballpark: between 50 and 60 people gathered.” 

Dr. Tak Suyama, an assistant professor of chemistry at Waynesburg University, will be speaking at the dinner. He plans to give his testimony about his journey from atheism to Christianity, thanks in part to his Christian friends. 

“I had a few Christian friends who tirelessly witnessed to me without success for a couple of years,” Dr. Suyama said. “Their efforts were ultimately not in vain as I did come to know the Lord in the last year of college.”

Dr. Suyama hopes that students are encouraged by his testimony. 

“I hope and pray that my testimony will be an encouragement to those who have been praying for or witnessing unsaved friends without apparent success for a while,” Suyama said. “Yet to others, I pray that God’s work in me will be an encouragement that the scripture is indeed powerful.”