News Archives: Student Life

HPU Chapel speaker urges Christians to show Christ-like hospitality

Nell Green HPU Chapel for webBROWNWOOD – September 28, 2017 – Howard Payne University held its weekly Chapel service Wednesday morning with Nell Green, missionary with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Internationals, delivering the address to students, faculty and staff.

Green encouraged her fellow Christians to show Christ-like hospitality to others, regardless of their religious or political beliefs.

“You are in a position right now to be used by God as a blessing to the nations,” she said.

Green and her husband, Butch, are based in Houston. They work extensively with international refugees and immigrants.

The overall theme for HPU Chapel this semester is “Love God, Love Others.” To see the full slate of Chapel speakers, visit


Cutline: Nell Green, missionary with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Internationals, spoke at HPU’s Chapel service on September 27.

HPU hosts Encounter Week fall revival

Zack Randles at HPU for webBROWNWOOD – September 27, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Encounter Week fall revival event was held last week with a concluding discussion on the importance of maintaining momentum in the pursuit of Christ-like living.

Zack Randles, founder and lead pastor of Waterfront Church in Washington, D.C., was the guest speaker for each of the five Encounter Week services. Leading worship was The Nick Gainey Band. Gainey, a 2008 HPU graduate, serves as worship leader at Crosspoint Community Church in Rockwall.

Nick Gainey Band at HPU for web“The whole reason for revival services is to move forward in our faith,” Randles said.

He urged the audience to steer clear of things that can halt the Christian’s momentum, including gossip, negativity, slander, pride and fear.

Corey Ash, associate professor of music and director of bands, serves as Chapel coordinator.

“Zack and the members of The Nick Gainey Band were a huge blessing to our campus community,” he said. “Several of our students professed faith in Christ for the first time during the week, while many others rededicated their lives to Him. There’s a great feeling of spiritual renewal on campus.”

The overall theme for HPU Chapel this semester is “Love God, Love Others.” To see the full slate of Chapel speakers, visit


Cutline: Zack Randles was the guest speaker for HPU’s Encounter Week fall revival services.

The Nick Gainey Band led worship for the week.

HPU to host Family Weekend

Familyweekend draft4BROWNWOOD – September 20, 2017 – Howard Payne University will host its annual Family Weekend event on Friday and Saturday, October 6-7. Family members of current HPU students who have not yet registered for this event are encouraged to do so by visiting as soon as possible.

Family Weekend is an opportunity for parents and other family members to visit campus and share in the student’s college experience. Registration is $20 per person and includes breakfast and dinner, bowling, a ticket to HPU’s football game versus East Texas Baptist University, and an information session on HPU’s Study Abroad program. HPU students do not need to purchase tickets. A complete schedule of events is located on the registration webpage.

“The beginning of the academic year can be an emotional time for families and students,” said Joshua Snow, director of student activities. “Family Weekend is a great way for families to feel more connected to their children at HPU by joining them for fun events on campus and around Brownwood.”

For more information about Family Weekend, visit


Angela Groves ’03 speaks at HPU Chapel service

Angela GrovesBROWNWOOD – September 14, 2017 – Angela Groves, a 2003 Howard Payne University graduate, was the guest speaker during HPU’s Chapel service on Wednesday, September 13. Titling her presentation “When Life Throws You a Curveball,” Groves spoke candidly about her previous struggles with infertility and her current battle with cancer.

Groves, who works at New Hope Christian Academy in Plano, chronicled how her family, friends, co-workers and church family have rallied together to support her through her cancer treatments.

“While this journey is not something I would choose, it’s so amazing to see how it’s brought people together,” she said. “We just have to say, ‘God what are You going to do? How are You going to heal relationships? How are You going to work within us?’”

Groves has kept a positive attitude throughout her treatment, wearing superhero capes to chemotherapy appointments and asking her family and friends who accompany her to participate in what she calls “Chemo Karaoke.”

She encouraged audience members to trust God with all of the trials in their lives.

“Cancer is serious – don’t get me wrong,” she said. “I don’t take it lightheartedly. But I serve a God Who is bigger.”

She and her husband, Tim Groves, a 2004 HPU graduate, have two sons, Titus and Judah.

The overall theme for HPU Chapel this semester is “Love God, Love Others.” To see the full slate of Chapel speakers, visit


Cutline: Angela Groves, a 2003 HPU graduate, spoke at HPU’s Chapel service on September 13.

HPU to host Encounter Week fall revival services

Zack RandlesBROWNWOOD – September 13, 2017 – Howard Payne University will host Encounter Week fall revival services next Monday, September 18, through Wednesday, September 20. This year’s guest speaker is Zack Randles and worship will be led by the Nick Gainey Band.

Randles is founder and lead pastor of Waterfront Church in Washington, D.C. A native Texan, he graduated from Oklahoma State University. Additionally, Randles is pursuing a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Autumn, have three children and one on the way.

Nick GaineyGainey is a 2008 HPU graduate and has fronted The Nick Gainey Band in leading worship for almost eight years. Gainey additionally serves as worship leader at Crosspoint Community Church in Rockwall. The band members and all of their families live in the DFW area.

Services will be held in HPU’s Mims Auditorium at 10:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday at 10:00am. All Encounter Week services are open to the public.

Corey Ash, chapel coordinator, associate professor of music and director of bands, said he eagerly anticipates Encounter Week.

“I’ve been planning Chapel events for more than 10 years here at HPU, and I know from experience that God has amazing plans to meet us and challenge us when we come together to worship Him, look into His Word and grow together,” he said. “Every single year there are students who come to Christ for the first time as Savior. There are also students and personnel who make commitments to walk more faithfully with the Lord. As a result, the anticipation is great.”



Zack Randles, lead pastor at Waterfront Church in Washington, D.C., will be the guest speaker for HPU’s Encounter Week services.

Nick Gainey ’08, lead singer of The Nick Gainey Band, will lead worship during HPU’s Encounter Week services.

HPU BSM leaders encourage student involvement

Haylee Maddox for webBROWNWOOD – September 7, 2017 – Keith Platte, director of Howard Payne University’s Baptist Student Ministry, and several BSM student leaders spoke during the university’s Chapel program Wednesday morning. The leaders described to students the various ways in which they can become involved with BSM ministries.

Platte introduced the student leaders, saying that serving through the BSM is one way in which they live out the BSM’s motto of “Love. Serve. Share.”

“Our student leaders have a passion for their peers to know Christ, they have a passion for our community to know Christ and they have a passion to serve other people,” he said.

Students were encouraged to become involved with one of the BSM ministries including tutoring young students at a local apartment complex, mentoring youth at Brownwood’s Texas Juvenile Justice Department facility, fellowshipping with residents at local nursing facilities and partnering with churches across the state to provide youth activities including Disciple Now Weekend and 5th Quarter. Additional ministries are geared specifically toward mentoring and fellowship with other HPU students. These include Community Groups, Pray & Do, Student-Athlete Ministry, Campus Outreach, Student-Led Worship, Freshmen Council and weekly free lunches provided by area churches.

Sophomore Haylee Maddox of Bellville, leader of one of the BSM Community Groups, reminded students they will get back what they invest during their four years at HPU.

“If you go to social events and start being nice to people and introducing yourself, you’ll start to build relationships,” she said. “Jesus truly changes people and that’s exactly what the BSM is all about.”


Cutline: HPU sophomore Haylee Maddox, a member of the Baptist Student Ministry leadership team, encouraged her peers to get involved on campus through the BSM. She was one of several BSM leaders to speak during HPU’s Chapel service on Wednesday.

HPU graduate spends summer working with refugees through Go Now Missions

Shaefer Church 2017BROWNWOOD – September 7, 2017 – Shaefer Church, a 2016 Howard Payne University graduate, spent the summer in Greece volunteering with refugees who have fled the Middle East and northern Africa. He was one of three students from HPU and hundreds from the state of Texas serving around the globe this summer through Texas Baptists’ Go Now Missions.

Church served alongside seven other Americans at a refugee camp on the island of Lesvos. They provided the individuals with food, clothing, stability and safety, an opportunity, he said, that strengthened his own walk with Christ.

“As Christians, we are called to serve others and, when we do this, we draw closer to Jesus,” he said. “I really got to see God’s love for the oppressed and how He is at work with refugees. I was blessed in that I got to meet some great human beings within the camp.”

As a student at HPU, Church was involved on campus, particularly with the Baptist Student Ministry.

“I helped out with a few BSM ministries over the years, but the two in which I invested the most time were Student Led Worship and Campus Outreach,” Church said. “Being a part of the BSM was very formational for me, and it really helped shape how I view missions, community and serving others.”

Keith Platte serves as HPU’s BSM director.

“Shaefer served as our BSM student worker for two years,” said Platte. “During that time, I had the joy of seeing God grow a wonderful servant and leader. There’s no doubt that Shaefer was gifted by God with the gift of leadership and that shows in everything he does. People naturally want to join along in what Shaefer is doing, and Shaefer keeps following after the heart of God, so he keeps bringing people closer to God. That’s what discipleship is about. Shaefer gets that.”

In addition to Greece, Church served at other times with Go Now Missions in the Philippines and in Oregon.

“All of these experiences impacted me in ways that I can’t even fathom,” he said. “I am who I am today because of what I saw God do while I was on those trips.”

Church said his long-term ministry goal is to serve Christ and help others overseas. He currently serves as youth director at First United Methodist Church in Brownwood.

“I get to work with some truly amazing youth and serve the Lord right here in my own community,” he said. “I love working with the students, and the fact that I get to be their youth leader is an amazing blessing.”

Church graduated Magna Cum Laude from HPU in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible.

“In every way that I can imagine, HPU prepared me for what I’m doing now,” he said. “The Christian studies department was a great place for me to learn more about God’s Word, the Church and how to do ministry. I really loved my time at HPU.”


Cutline: Shaefer Church, a 2016 HPU graduate, spent his summer working with refugees on the Greek island of Lesvos. He is pictured on the HPU campus.

HPU’s Dr. Gary Gramling speaks at Wednesday morning Chapel service

Gary Gramling ChapelBROWNWOOD – August 31, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s Dr. Gary Gramling, 1981 HPU graduate, professor of Christian studies and director of the graduate programs in Christian studies, spoke at HPU’s Chapel service Wednesday morning.

“I can tell you that once you’ve had a personal encounter with Jesus, you’ll never be the same,” Dr. Gramling told audiences. “The Father wants nothing more than for every one of us, the people He made, to have a relationship with Him.”

The overall theme for HPU Chapel this semester is “Love God, Love Others.” To see the full slate of Chapel speakers, visit


Cutline: Dr. Gary Gramling speaks at HPU’s Chapel service Wednesday morning.

HPU baseball partners with Weakley-Watson for hurricane relief

BROWNWOOD – August 30, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s baseball team is partnering with Weakley-Watson Ace Hardware of Brownwood to provide relief amidst the ongoing devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey along Texas’ Gulf Coast. The team’s efforts are bolstered by a variety of other campus groups and individuals.

HPU will host a donation drive this Saturday, September 2, from 9 a.m. to noon at the former Hastings’ parking lot, 600 N. Center Ave. in Brownwood. The following weekend, the baseball team and other campus volunteers will travel to southeast Texas to distribute items and money collected to those in need. There, the group’s efforts will be facilitated by Joseph Jones, HPU alumnus and pastor of First Baptist Church of Port Lavaca.

Donations most needed include personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, non-perishable foods, and new and used tools including crowbars, rakes, saws, shovels and other tools that can assist in cleanup efforts.

In addition to the donation drive at the former Hastings’ parking lot, Weakley-Watson Ace Hardware, 1414 Austin Ave. in Brownwood, will discount by 25 percent purchases listed as hurricane relief items. Once purchased, the items may be left at the store and HPU’s baseball team will collect them for distribution. Weakley-Watson will also serve as a donation drop-off location.

“HPU is blessed to be in Brown County, a place where businesses and individuals step up to help those in need,” said Stephen Lynn, head baseball coach. “We look forward to seeing the turnout at Saturday’s donation drive and we thank you in advance for your contributions.”

Those who prefer to offer financial support may mail a check, designated “Hurricane Relief,” to HPU’s Office of Institutional Advancement, P.O. Box 2369, Brownwood, TX 76804 by Tuesday, September 5. As financial donations will go directly to those in need, they will not be considered tax-deductible gifts to the university and receipts will not be mailed.

Anyone unable to attend the drive may coordinate with the baseball team to have donation items collected. For more information, or to schedule a collection time, contact Robert Anders, assistant baseball coach, at 972-322-4116 or

Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president, said the university is deeply saddened by the devastation along the Gulf Coast and in the other areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“We’re thankful that, through the leadership efforts of our baseball team and with support from other campus groups and the community, we can share resources with those in need,” he said. “Most of all, we pray for God’s comfort and protection over our friends, loved ones and all others impacted by this tragedy.”

HPU has created a Facebook group to host requests for hurricane relief assistance and offers for donations and volunteer hours. To join the group visit


HPU cheer team ready for 2017-2018 activities

HPU cheer team August 2017 for webBROWNWOOD – August 28, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s cheer team recently held the group’s first practice of the 2017-2018 academic year. The students are eager to lead the campus community in showing HPU spirit at a variety of athletic events and other activities.

The team is led by Bethany Covington in her first year as cheer team coach. Providing support as cheer team coordinator is Gretchen Campbell, executive assistant to the vice president for student life & dean of students.

“We have a great, high-energy group of cheerleaders on our team,” said Bethany Covington. “I know their HPU enthusiasm will be contagious.”

HPU’s cheer team is comprised of Maddie Bicknell, sophomore from Cleburne; Madelyn Deviney, junior from Bulverde; Fallon Ferguson (captain), senior from Milano; Klaye Georges, sophomore from Hamlin; Chanda King, sophomore from Childress; Holly Leatherman, senior from Tolar; Lindsey McKinney (captain), senior from Brownwood; Madison Miller, sophomore from Granbury; Krystin Mullins, freshman from Crowley; Marley Murray, sophomore from Brownwood; Brittany Rideau, sophomore from Beaumont; Keylee Sinderud, sophomore from Clifton; Connor Vara, senior from Brownwood; and Chelsea Walker, freshman from Anson.

The group’s first public appearance is scheduled for the football game on September 23 at 1:00 p.m., when the HPU Yellow Jackets face the Hardin-Simmons University Cowboys at Gordon Wood Stadium.


Cutline: Members of HPU’s cheer team are eager to lend enthusiastic support to the university at athletic events and other activities throughout the new academic year. Pictured are (far left) Chelsea Walker; (bottom from left to right) Brittany Rideau, Lindsey McKinney, Krystin Mullins, Klaye Georges and Madelyn Deviney; and (top from left to right) Holly Leatherman, Fallon Ferguson, Chanda King, Madison Miller, Keylee Sinderud, Maddie Bicknell and Marley Murray. Not pictured is Connor Vara.