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Truett-McConnell students available to serve through Ministerial Association


CLEVELAND — It’s after lunch on Wednesday afternoon when the phone rings at the Baptist Collegiate Ministries office at Truett-McConnell College. Someone needs help.


Matt Caporale, a student at Truett-McConnell College, spends time at a respite care center as part of the LoveLoud emphasis during the Georgia Baptist Convention annual meeting in Woodstock. Caporale is a part of TMC’s Ministerial Association, which places students in short-term leadership positions at local churches.

“Their youth minister had a death in the family and had to leave,” said campus minister David Kirkland. “When they get in a bind like this, churches can call us to see if we have someone available. They needed a student to lead a Bible study in place of the youth minister.

“We had someone for them in 30 minutes.”

For years Truett-McConnell had the Ministerial Association, a collection of students called to ministry and available to serve local churches for the short-term or on short notice. Disbanded two years ago, it was started back up last spring under Kirkland.

Of those in the group, 95 percent are on the ministerial scholarship, a $500 scholarship awarded by the Georgia Baptist Convention each semester, said Kirkland. It’s required for those on the scholarship to be a part of the Ministerial Association. The remainder of the group are students planning on going into vocational ministry.

“The Ministerial Association helps equip students for whatever God has called them to do, whether that’s preaching, missions, singing, or leading music,” said President Chris Barnard, a junior Biblical and Theological Studies major from Warner Robins. “It keeps students updated on ministry events in our community and those outside of Cleveland.

“Students serving now are better equipped for whatever capacity God has called them to [later].”

Last fall, 41 students were part of the Association. An annual training conference helps them prepare for opportunities to lead Bible studies, Disciple Now weekends, or public speaking. Other opportunities come through the Georgia Mountain Resort Ministry and Gold Rush Festival in Dahlonega as well as similar festivals in Helen and the north Georgia area.

“My time in the ministerial association has allowed me to gain invaluable experience through preaching and teaching in local churches,” said Jase Brown, the group’s vice president. “We also regularly have experienced ministers who come to teach us.

“Involvement in the Association will hone a student’s ability to serve. They will gain spiritual principles to apply through a life of ministry.”

“These students have a desire to serve and are looking for opportunities to do so,” said Kirkland. “I can’t even ballpark how many times they’ve gone out to help. It’s in their heart to be involved in local churches.”