Looking Back on 15 Years of Ministry
Becky Walker’s job was never a 9-to-5 and she never saw herself just doing ministry from a desk and chair.
Walker, who for the last 15 years served as Associate Campus Minister for Women’s Ministries at Anderson University, says she found the daytime constraint to be challenging because that’s not when students are available.
“But if you wait until after supper, from supper on… I could meet continuously without any interruption,” Walker said.
Walker’s level of dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed—not by a longshot.
On January 13, Anderson University President, Evans Whitaker, Ph.D., and his wife Diane, joined students, faculty, staff and friends in the Theater of G. Ross Anderson Jr. Student Center to celebrate Walker’s ministry and to share stories of how she’s been there for others in time of need at pretty much any hour of any day. Diane Whitaker shared how Walker quickly responded when she and her husband recently lost their mothers.
“You made a phenomenal difference in the life of this institution, in the lives of our students, faculty and staff, myself and Diane,” said Dr. Evans Whitaker, who has known Walker since they were college students at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina. The Whitakers urged Walker to accept an opportunity at Anderson University for an associate campus minister for women outreach and events, and the rest is history.
During the festive January 13 celebration, students and staff shared stories about how Walker helped them through personal struggles and fondly recalled her driving around campus and the community in the ”Blue Toaster,” a nickname lovingly given to her blue Nissan Cube. That little car became a familiar, welcome sight for students in need of a ride to pick up food or a prescription or just to grab some time for a burger or coffee and conversation.
“We would go get a coffee or something, and just sit and just have somebody to kind of walk through things with you, then let you vent or pray together,” said Walker, who estimates she discipled and met with a dozen or more women daily. She also helped a growing number of camps and events run smoothly.
Walker doesn’t describe what she does so much as a calling; it has simply been about obedience in following Jesus and letting Him take the lead.
“I was a broken 19 year old,” said Kendyl McElrath, who initially got to know Walker when she was a student and more recently as a coworker. “I had no idea how God was going to use Becky Walker in my life. She showed me that through Jesus broken people can be made whole again. Becky encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone. From her I learned that ministry was more than the four walls of the church.”
Grace Ann Vargo, a senior majoring in media communication, said, “From managing events to reaching literally thousands of women, she has touched this campus in a miraculous way. When I first met Becky, I was a freshman desperately seeking community. I wanted someone to mentor me and pour into me because honestly I had no idea what I was doing. COVID had just hit, I was at home just craving to be mentored. I took a chance and messaged her explaining my desire and she took me under her wings.”
Walker described some of the joys and challenges of her job.
“I think the greatest joy is relationships, just connecting with people. I like to live life with people—not just a surface kind of thing but something where we go deep,” Walker said. “We have just a great discipleship relationship where we pour into each other and we work on spiritual priorities. It’s just such a joy many times to sit in the audience and watch God just work in the lives of women that I’ve worked with.”
Walker hasn’t just been there for students. Anderson University’s Vice President for Christian Life, Dr. Tracy Jessup, recalls when Walker came to his rescue.
“The Thursday before commencement, I tested positive for COVID. Becky just showed up with chicken soup and chili. That is the epitome of your witness and your testimony on this campus,” Dr. Jessup said at Walker’s celebration gathering. “I think it’s fitting that the theme for your last semester at AU was ‘just show up,’ because you have shown up for countless students, faculty and staff at Anderson University.”
In addition to her ministry role, Walker also pioneered the College of Christian Studies’ Women’s Ministry concentration. Having learned sign language as a teenager, she has also taught American Sign Language courses for many years and worked with individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. She and her husband Dennis have also been actively involved in church planting and mission work. They served for six years as missionaries in the Gaza Strip
Walker has accompanied Anderson University students on numerous mission trips both domestically and abroad. Many trips have been made to minister to needy individuals and families living in the Kentucky Hills as well as to spring break revelers on the Florida beaches. She’s also gone with students overseas to places like Italy, Guatemala, Haiti and London, England.
Walker, whose own children are now adults, now looks forward to spending more time with family members, including an eight-year-old boy they fostered and recently gained full custody of. She will also continue serving Anderson University as an adjunct professor and is currently helping a deaf child with schoolwork.
At this stage of life, Walker is seeking new ways to serve God, but her philosophy remains the same.
“At the end of the day, Jesus wins. He loves people and he layers the gospel in their life. So that’s kind of comforting to think about.”