News Archives: School of Christian Studies

HPU students recognized by faculty for achievements in Christian studies

student_award_recipients_with_dr_hatch_for_webBROWNWOOD – March 8, 2013 – Four students in Howard Payne University’s School of Christian Studies were honored as Currie-Strickland Scholars in Christian Ethics and Theology during the Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics held recently on the HPU campus.

The students included Jessica Baniewicz, a senior cross-cultural studies and Spanish major from Plano; Colton Curry, a senior practical theology major from Lubbock; EJ Davila, a senior psychology major (with emphasis in psychology and ministry) from Brownwood; and Mary Vasquez, a junior biblical languages and English major from Blanket.

“The faculty of the School of Christian Studies honored these individuals, among our many hard-working and gifted students, based on our evaluation of their achievement in their courses and the ways in which they have excelled in thinking in, and related to, the fields of Christian ethics and theology,” said Dr. Derek Hatch, assistant professor of Christian studies.

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Photo cutline: Four HPU students were honored during a recent event on campus. From left are Mary Vasquez, EJ Davila, Colton Curry, Jessica Baniewicz and Dr. Derek Hatch.

HPU’s Perspectives Conference explores ministering in changing cultures

chuck_gartman_perspectives_for_webBROWNWOOD – March 7, 2013 – Howard Payne University recently hosted its second annual Perspectives Conference, an event which brings together youth ministry professionals to explore the many facets of their field of ministry. Among the participants were HPU undergraduate and graduate students as well as other youth ministers from around the state.

This year’s theme was “Penetrating the Cultures with the Gospel,” and covered ways to minister in a lost culture, a changing community culture, a changing youth culture and more.

Guest speakers included Dr. Mary Carpenter, former missionary and retired professor of cross-cultural ministries at HPU; Danny Dawdy, director and CEO of Highland Lakes Camp and Conference Center in Spicewood; Elias Garcia, youth minister at First Baptist Church of Plainview; Dr. Allen Jackson, professor of youth ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and adjunct faculty member at HPU; Mike Satterfield, lecturer and staff evangelist at Fielder Road Baptist Church in Arlington; and Jane Wilson, youth ministry specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

“We are grateful for good attendance and especially for mutual encouragement and insight gained from sitting around the table with other youth ministers, discussing topics that are so vital to effective ministry,” said Dr. Gary Gramling, professor of Christian studies and director of the youth ministry graduate program. “Our hope is that this conference provided a context in which ‘iron sharpens iron’ as youth ministers learned from our speakers and engaged in dialogue with one another.”

The third annual Perspectives Conference is slated for the spring 2014 semester. For more information, contact HPU’s School of Christian Studies at (325) 649-8403.

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Photo cutline: Chuck Gartman, adjunct faculty member in HPU’s School of Christian Studies, addresses youth ministers gathered for the second annual Perspectives Conference.

HPU’s Currie-Strickland lectures addresses issues of Christian moral discernment

holloway_speaking_for_webBROWNWOOD – March 5, 2013 – Howard Payne University held its sixth annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics, Feb. 28-March 1 on the HPU campus.

Guest lecturer Dr. Jeph Holloway, professor of theology and ethics at East Texas Baptist University, addressed the topic of “The Practice of Christian Moral Discernment.”

“Dr. Holloway’s lectures were both thought- and action-provoking,” said Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, dean of HPU’s School of Christian Studies. “He challenged the audience to carefully and prayerfully consider the way we live out our faith as Christians.”

The Currie-Strickland lecture series is made possible through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Gary Elliston and was established to honor the life of Dr. David R. Currie, retired executive director of Texas Baptists Committed, and the memory of Phil Strickland, who dedicated nearly 40 years of ministry to the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission.currie-strickland_group_shot_for_web

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Photo cutlines: Dr. Jeph Holloway was the guest speaker at the recent Currie-Strickland lectures on the HPU campus.

The Currie-Strickland lecture series is made possible through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Gary Elliston and was established to honor the life of Dr. David R. Currie and the memory of Mr. Phil Strickland. From left are Dr. Bill and Dr. Diana Ellis, Dr. Jeph and Mrs. Joy Holloway, Dr. David and Mrs. Loretta Currie, Mrs. Carolyn and Mr. Danny Slaughter (sister and brother-in-law of Mr. Currie).

Group from HPU recalls trip to Israel

auvenshine_at_israel_lecture_for_webBROWNWOOD – March 5, 2013 – Several faculty, staff and students from Howard Payne University gathered recently to share with peers their reflections from a trip to Israel. The group returned from the Holy Land in January with more than just suitcases full of souvenirs – they brought back memories to last a lifetime.

Seven of the 23 who journeyed to Israel spoke at the semester’s first installment of the University Colloquium Series, events designed to provide a forum for interdisciplinary conversations among faculty, staff and students with a wide-ranging scope of topics in focus.

“These colloquia, or conversations, allow a broad sense of learning as well as fascinating engagement with other fields of study within the context of a community of scholars and teachers,” said Dr. Danny Brunette-López, chair of the modern languages department and associate professor of Spanish.

Dr. Brunette-López organizes the University Colloquium Series with Dr. Derek Hatch, assistant professor of Christian studies.

Speaking about their trip to Israel were Nancy Anderson, dean of libraries and professor of library science; Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, dean of the School of Christian Studies and professor of Christian studies; Dr. Bill Fowler, assistant professor of Christian studies; Dr. Gary Gramling, director of the youth ministry graduate program and professor of Christian studies; Coby Kestner, director of media relations; Dr. Mitzi Lehrer, assistant professor of education; and Clarissa Toler, a sophomore Bible major from Duncanville.

Dr. Auvenshine and Dr. Gramling have led many HPU trips to Israel.

“We enjoyed the opportunity to share some of the interesting experiences we had during our trip,” Dr. Auvenshine said of the Colloquium event. “I am always fascinated by the different things that impress each one of us. Dr. Gramling and I love to take people to Israel and expose them to biblical history and geography, as well as the contemporary cultures and political circumstances of modern Israel.”

The group toured the country for 11 days, tracing the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Among many other notable sites, the HPU group visited the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, thought to be built over the location where Jesus was born; the Garden of Gethsemane where, according to the Gospels, Jesus and His disciples prayed before He was arrested and crucified; and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Garden Tomb, each thought to be the place where the body of Jesus was placed and where He subsequently was resurrected.israel_group_in_qumran_for_web

The group also visited sites crucial to Jesus’ ministry including the Sea of Galilee, the Mount of the Beatitudes, Capernaum and Sepphoris.
“This trip has made the Bible more real for me,” said Dr. Fowler. “As I read the Gospels, I go back and visit Jerusalem, Galilee – I get to go back and visit it over and over again. Now when I show pictures in class, I show my own pictures.”

Others on the trip included Allison Auvenshine and Sande Auvenshine of Brownwood; Phillip Bertrand, a December 2012 graduate from Early; Hannah Gramling, a May 2012 graduate from Brownwood; PJ Gramling, director of admission; Dustin MacTavish and Jo Beth MacTavish, alumni from Houston; Cooper Morelock and Scott Morelock of Brownwood; Dr. Frankie Rainey, a former HPU faculty member; David Taylor and Zac Taylor of Corsicana; Amy Fowler-Tennison and Thane Tennison of Round Rock; Edmond Wheeless of Brownwood; and Brandi Wright, senior youth ministry major from Farmington, N.M.

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Photo cutlines: While in Israel, the HPU group and their tour guide paused to take a photo at Qumran, the discovery place of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, dean of the School of Christian Studies at HPU, discusses a recent trip he led to Israel during the semester’s first installment of the University Colloquium Series.

 

HPU to host sixth annual Currie-Strickland lectures

jeph_holloway_for_webBROWNWOOD – February 5, 2013 – Howard Payne University will host the sixth annual Currie-Strickland Distinguished Lectures in Christian Ethics on Thursday, February 28, and Friday, March 1. Anyone interested in theology and Christian issues is encouraged to attend this free lecture series. Reservations are requested.

Dr. Jeph Holloway, professor of theology and ethics at East Texas Baptist University, will present discussions on “The Practice of Christian Moral Discernment.”

“We are looking forward to Dr. Holloway’s lectures,” said Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, dean of HPU’s School of Christian Studies. “I believe that he will provoke us to think carefully about living out our commitment to Christ.”

Dr. Holloway holds Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, focusing in the field of Christian ethics. He has also done additional graduate study at Duke University and Columbia Theological Seminary. Since 1990, he has served Baptist institutions of higher learning at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Since 1978, his ministry experiences have included serving in the positions of youth minister, assistant pastor, interim pastor and pastor.

Dr. Holloway’s academic contributions include 17 publications and presentations. He has been featured in publications such as Christian Ethics Today, Southwestern Journal of Theology and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Thursday’s lecture, “Deciding Against Decisionism: There’s Just More to It than That” will begin at 7:30 p.m. The following day at 10 a.m., Dr. Holloway will present “The Juncture of Mind and Spirit: Moral Discernment in the Letters of Paul.” Each lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

The Currie-Strickland lecture series is made possible through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Gary Elliston and was established to honor the life of Dr. David R. Currie, retired executive director of Texas Baptists Committed, and the memory of Phil Strickland, who dedicated nearly 40 years of ministry to the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission.

Both lectures will take place in the Richard and Wanda Jackson Conference Room of the university’s Paul and Jane Meyer Faith and Life Leadership Center. To reserve a seat at the lectures, please contact HPU’s Office of University Marketing and Communications by e-mail at currie-strickland@hputx.edu or by phone at 325-649-8009.

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Photo cutline: Dr. Jeph Holloway, professor of theology and ethics at ETBU, will speak at Howard Payne University’s sixth annual Currie-Strickland lectures.

HPU hosts 15th Annual CASL Conference

mike_jorgensen_at_hpu_for_webBROWNWOOD – January 31, 2013 – More than 250 Christian student leaders from nine Baptist universities participated in the 15th Annual Christian Association of Student Leaders (CASL) Conference hosted by Howard Payne University last weekend.

Mike Jorgensen, executive director of I am Second, a ministry of e3 Partners Ministry, spoke at the event. I am Second seeks to inspire a revolution of “second” by helping people learn how to put Jesus first in their lives. In addition to his role with the I am Second project, Jorgensen has served e3 Partners in a variety of capacities including director of operations, vice president of church planting, international vice president and executive vice president. He and his wife of 37 years, Woodlyn, have three children, two of whom graduated from HPU – Alycia (Jorgensen) Darilek ’03, Joanna (Jorgensen) Medlock and Philip Jorgensen ’12.

The theme for this year’s conference was “Do as I Have Done,” which references John 13:15 in which Jesus tells his disciples, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” During one of his lectures on HPU’s campus, Jorgensen took the opportunity to remind students why they were in attendance.

“This conference is not for you,” he said. “It’s for the benefit of the people who God wants to bless through you.”

After the lecture, Jorgensen shared his enthusiasm about the caliber of students with whom he was interacting.

“I’m excited about the potential all of these students have already shown,” he said. “They were chosen to attend this conference because of their leadership skills. As they reflect and interact with other leaders, their potential will flower.”

Social media played a large role in this year’s event. Attendees were encouraged to share photos and thoughts throughout the conference on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Prizes were awarded to the students who interacted the most.

“Looking forward to challenging student leaders @caslconference,” posted Jorgensen on Twitter.
An attendee followed up that he “Had an awesome time at #CASL2013 with some awesome people.”

CASL was chartered in 1998 by the eight Baptist universities in Texas (HPU, Baylor University, Dallas Baptist University, East Texas Baptist University, Hardin-Simmons University, Houston Baptist University, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and Wayland Baptist University) and is under the sponsorship of the Congregational Leadership Team of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The conference provides students with the opportunity to network with fellow students from different universities through a variety of activities including seminars, workshops and roundtable discussions. Topics covered this year included “How to Develop New Leaders” and “How to Have the Prayer Life of a Leader.”

HPU students planned the conference under the direction of Dr. Brent Marsh, vice president for student life and dean of students, and Tyler Sellers, associate dean of students and director of student activities. The student planning committee included Kathryn Barrackman, a senior from Houston; Jeremy Bartley, a junior from Brownwood; Shannon Bundy, a junior from Port Aransas; Jacee Cunningham, a senior from Crane; Rick Henderson, a junior from Plainview; Lara Hernandez, a junior from Brownwood; Becky Lamar, a senior from Ovilla; Robin Scofield, a junior from Naples, Fla.; David Stippick, a junior from Brownwood; Ashley Wellborn, a senior from Paradise; and Brandi Wright, a senior from Farmington, N.M.

The worship band included HPU students Alex Caro, a senior from Howe; Dustin Campbell, a senior from Paradise; Taylor Castleberry, a senior from Paradise; and Zacchaeus Miguel Steidel-Santiago, a sophomore from San Antonio.

“We are thrilled to have hosted the 15th annual CASL conference at Howard Payne,” said Dr. Marsh. “The event was a huge success, and our student planning committee did a fantastic job pulling it all together. Conference attendees were challenged and encouraged along their journeys to be Christ-like servant leaders.”

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Photo cutline: Mike Jorgensen, executive director of the I am Second ministry, spoke at the 15th Annual CASL Conference at HPU.

Give yourself the gift of an HPU graduate education this holiday season

BROWNWOOD – December 10, 2012 – This Christmas, Howard Payne University is encouraging people from Brownwood and beyond to give themselves the gift of a master’s education from HPU. The university offers four master’s degree programs, with a new semester beginning January 15.

The newest graduate program at HPU, the Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry, will provide preparation for those who will minister to people through the local church and other related ministries, as well as provide a foundation for further graduate theological education. The 42-hour, non-thesis program is designed to be accessible to ministry students who are currently serving in locations away from the Brownwood area, and relocation is not required.

The second master’s option from HPU’s School of Christian Studies is the Master of Arts in Youth Ministry. This program provides preparation for those who will minister to teenagers and their families through the local church and other related ministries. The curriculum contains a combination of courses that emphasize biblical, theological and practical application. Like the Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry degree, the 42-hour, non-thesis program is designed to work with the schedules of those serving away from the Brownwood area.

Those who are interested in becoming a school principal in the State of Texas are encouraged to apply to HPU’s Master of Education in Instructional Leadership program. With a 100 percent online delivery, this 30-hour, non-thesis degree allows students to attain their professional goals and advance their careers on their own schedule.

HPU’s Master of Business Administration degree is also designed to work around busy schedules. All courses are offered at night and on weekends and the 30-hour, non-thesis program can be completed in as few as 12 months. HPU’s MBA program concentrates on equipping students for future leadership roles, while also aiding them in their current careers.

For more information about HPU’s master’s programs, or any of the more than 100 undergraduate majors, minors and pre-professional programs, visit www.hputx.edu or call the university’s Office of Admission at 1-800-880-4478 or 325-649-8020.

HPU’s Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry program to begin January 2013

BROWNWOOD – November 14, 2012 – In response to requests from current students and alumni, Howard Payne University will offer a Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry (MATM) degree beginning in January 2013.

The MATM will provide preparation for those who minister to people through the local church and other related ministries, as well as provide a foundation for further graduate theological education. The 42-hour, non-thesis program is designed to be accessible to ministry students who are currently serving in locations away from the Brownwood area, and relocation is not required.

Similar to the university’s Master of Arts in Youth Ministry degree, the MATM will be offered in a two-year rotation in a “modular” format. The modular format is a blended delivery system in which the equivalent of two-thirds of the instruction time is accomplished face-to-face in an intensive 8-hour per day, 4-day per week format. The remaining instruction is fulfilled through the combination of assigned readings and electronic interactions.

“We believe that complementing our current Master of Arts in Youth Ministry degree with the Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry degree is a logical and healthy step forward for the School of Christian Studies at Howard Payne University,” said Dr. Donnie Auvenshine, dean of the School of Christian Studies.

HPU has diversified and expanded its graduate and undergraduate degree offerings in recent years under the charge of Dr. Bill Ellis, university president.

“The university continually strives to meet the needs of our student body,” said Dr. Ellis. “The Master of Theology and Ministry degree is highly requested at HPU, and we are confident it will be a beneficial program for many years to come.”

HPU alumnus Randy Johnson to retire from youth ministry after 38 years

BROWNWOOD – Sept. 6, 2012 – Randy Johnson, youth minister at First Baptist Church of Richardson, does not attribute his longevity with the church to his skills as a minister. In fact, Johnson, who will retire in January after 28 years at FBC Richardson and 38 total years as a youth minister, says just the opposite.

johnson_laughs_with_student_for_web“My long tenure in the ministry is what made me good at my job,” he said.

This summer, Johnson gathered 225 youth and staff from FBC Richardson, FBC Killeen and NorthHaven Church from Norman, Okla., for the last summer camp of his career. The camp was the 15th held at his alma mater, Howard Payne University.

“I love having camps on a Baptist campus and being able to expose kids to HPU,” he said. “And HPU has a great staff that takes care of us.”

Johnson, a 1971 graduate, serves on HPU’s President Development Council (PDC) and the Youth Ministry Graduate Program Advisory Council. He was also one of five youth ministry professionals and HPU alumni to begin the process of bringing the Bachelor of Arts in Youth Ministry program to HPU in the late 1980s. Johnson, along with Chuck Gartman, Chris Liebrum, the late Wayne McAfee and Jerome Smith, spoke to then-president Dr. Don Newbury about beginning an undergraduate program in youth ministry at HPU.

“We hoped it would boost our school,” Johnson said. “At the time, there were very few training opportunities for youth ministers at the university level.”

In 1990, Dr. Newbury hired Dr. Gary Gramling, professor of Christian studies, to design and start a youth ministry degree. HPU began offering the degree in 1991 and a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry in 2006. Gramling serves as the director of the graduate program.

“I actually got my job because of Randy and the others,” Gramling said. “I have enjoyed the continuing blessing of Randy’s friendship and support ever since coming to teach here. I have been able to point many students to him as one who ministers effectively and who genuinely lives his faith.”

According to Gramling, Johnson is one of the best-known and -loved youth ministers to be found anywhere in the state.

“Many youth ministers started out as interns for Randy, and he has a love for investing in young ministers as they get started,” Gramling said.

Johnson also speaks about the investment he makes in the youth. He refers to a quote from author and theologian Elton Trueblood who wrote, “Man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.”

Said Johnson, “Youth ministry is the business of investing in people. I’ve been lucky to see the result of my investment as well as the investment of others.”

He began his career at Monterey Baptist Church in Lubbock in 1975 after earning a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.summer_camp_group_photo_for_web

“I thought God was calling me to be a pastor,” he said. “But I was unmarried at the time and no church was looking to hire a single pastor. I accepted a job as a youth minister, planning to stay for three years. I stayed for five. Obviously my interpretation of God’s call changed.”

He then served for five years at First Baptist Church Bryan. Johnson noted that the average tenure for a youth minister at a church was about 18 months in those days.

“I then went to FBC Richardson where I noticed they had several staff members who were long-tenured,” he said. “I’ve served with three different pastors in the time I’ve been here. I’m very fortunate to have stayed for so long.”

Johnson has worked to keep his ministry fresh and creative and shares ownership of his youth ministry with three groups – students, parents and volunteers.
“And I’ve taken care of myself spiritually,” he added. “People ask me, ‘How old is too old to do youth ministry?’ I don’t know the answer. But I know you can do it until you’re at least 62.”

Johnson is unsure of his plans after his retirement, but he hopes to stay involved with youth ministry in some way. FBC Richardson plans to name him as the church’s first youth minister emeritus.

In his 38-year career, Johnson estimates that he’s worked with approximately 6,000 students through his ministry.

“The most exciting thing is seeing the way people’s lives change and it’s gratifying to see them grow spiritually and become involved in a local church,” he said. “How can you beat that?”

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Photo cutline: Randy Johnson brought about 225 students and staff to summer camp at his alma mater, Howard Payne University.

Randy Johnson laughs with Ryan Reynolds, student at Wylie High School, while on HPU’s campus for summer camp.