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NAMB's Courts Redford Award presented to UGA, Mercer for student missionary work


ALPHARETTA — The University of Georgia and Mercer University are two of only eight colleges and universities in the United States being honored with the Courts Redford Award for Excellence in Student Missionary Deployment by the North American Mission Board.

UGA and Mercer are being recognized for their “strong commitment of excellence” in deploying student missionaries during 2006.

UGA senior campus minister Franklin Scott credits a meeting three years ago with his peers across the state for the increase in students on mission.


Aaron Kinard, left, and Sarah Holik, Baptist Campus Ministries missions coordinators at Mercer University, recently received the Courts Redford Award for Excellence in Student Missionary Deployment from Amy Signaigo, right, student missionary specialist for the North American Mission Board in Alpharetta. Mercer and the University of Georgia were only two colleges out of eight nationwide to receive the distinction.

“We were having a retreat at Red Top Mountain State Park where Joe Graham challenged each of us to rewrite our strategies in evangelism, worship, discipleship, reaching international students, and building vital relationships with the community,” he said.

He remembered how Graham, GBC specialist in Collegiate Ministries, also said he’d be surprised if the campus ministers didn’t see a noticeable difference in three years.

“We’re seeing the results of those changes,” added Scott. “Students have taken a great deal of leadership in promoting and taking part in missions. Students are the driving force in leading others to catch the vision.”

“This award says students are growing in their faith,” agreed Nathan Byrd, UGA campus minister. “The goal of every minister, pastor, and Sunday School teacher is to get your people to grow.

“Franklin and I are fortunate to get some great students and see them grow. We’re able to be there and take them to the next level. It’s really a fun process.”

Responding via email while in Spain on a BCM mission trip, Mercer campus minister Chris Fuller pointed to the importance of missions education.

“Students are encouraged to participate in missions by educating and challenging them,” he stated. “As students go and serve, they return full of excitement about how God used them.

“Missions is not just something people do in other countries; it’s a way of life! Anyone can do missions anywhere, but when you travel away from your comfort zone you place complete trust in God to provide and guide you.”

Last year, under NAMB, colleges and universities mobilized more than 1,600 student missionaries in the United States, Canada, and their territories. Student mission opportunities are promoted via Baptist Collegiate Ministries, Baptist colleges, and local Baptist churches. Baptist Collegiate Ministries in Georgia sent 208 students to serve last summer.

Assigned to sites such as college campuses, beaches, national parks, inner cities, and rural communities, Baptist student missionaries obtain hands-on mission experience while supporting the evangelism and church planting strategies of local Southern Baptist churches and associations.

NAMB’s award is named in honor of Courts Redford who, in the summer of 1944, mobilized more than 70 students to serve across the country through the Southern Baptist Convention’s Home Mission Board birthing the student missionary strategy.

Redford (1898-1977) served the Home Mission Board for 21 years (1943-1964), the last 10 years as chief executive officer.

More than 2,000 college students are needed in 2007 to share Christ in exciting and creative ways. The deadline to apply is April 20. For additional information on service opportunities through NAMB, visit or call a mobilization specialist at NAMB, (800) 462-8657, ext. 6476.

In addition to UGA and Mercer, other colleges and universities honored for 2006 are Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, Okla.; North Greenville University, Tigerville, S.C.; Blue Mountain College, Blue Mountain, Miss.; Southwest Baptist University, Bolivar, Mo.; Carson-Newman College, Jefferson City, Tenn.; and Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C.