Find Your Program


trojan watermark.jpg


trojan watermark.jpg

AU News

Nurturing Spiritual Growth and a Sense of Community

February 24, 2023
newsmedia 18131.jpg
Students worship at Eternal Tribe, a new multicultural ministry on campus at Anderson University. For more than a century, Anderson University has remained intentionally Christ-Centered, because for anyone, following the path God laid out for them is a big deal.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.


There are many ways Anderson University equips students for their spiritual journey.

In addition to providing “knowledge for your journey,” Anderson University offers a community of faith where students can grow spiritually; and with that growth choose from among many opportunities to live out their faith. 

We’re excited to tell this story more in detail in the months to come about different ways God is at work at Anderson University.

Dr. Tracy Jessup, vice president for Christian Life and senior minister to Anderson University, commented, “’Great Faith’ is one of the pillars of Anderson University. Christ is central to the education experience we offer our students, both inside and outside the classroom.”

That faith is lived out through many ministry organizations on Anderson’s campus, as well as in the classroom, student housing, in intercollegiate athletics, on the intramural field, in the community, and around the world. 

Director of Campus Ministries James Hanson describes spiritual development at Anderson University as being kind of like a greenhouse where seeds of faith are planted and take root. While in the greenhouse, plants take nourishment needed for growth and ultimately so they can thrive outside the greenhouse and bear fruit. Some, he adds, are being planted for the first time, while others are like young plants needing nourishment to grow stronger.

“We’re providing them with the right conditions here to really develop those things, so that when they are planted wherever that is in the world and whatever field they are in, they thrive and produce fruit—fruit being gospel impact wherever they are,” Hanson said.

Assistant Campus Minister Kaitlyn Jenkins commented, “Getting to have a front row seat to what God is doing, we have phenomenal students eager and hungry to continue growing.” 

Coming Together

Anderson University’s lead student ministry is Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM), with weekly worship gatherings of approximately 800 students. Although it is the largest BCM in South Carolina, much of the ministry takes place in smaller community groups that meet across campus, and all students are welcome. In addition to providing funding and staff for BCM, Anderson University also supports a thriving women’s ministry which connects female students through community and discipleship.

Of course there are various campus ministry partners which invest spiritually in the lives of Anderson University students. These include Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), Cru (known in the past as Campus Crusade for Christ), Eternal Tribe (a multicultural ministry), and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).

Serving the Community

While there are so many ways to gather and enjoy fellowship on campus, there are plenty of opportunities to go out into the community to serve, whether to worship and serve at area churches or help organizations like the LOT Project or Anderson Interfaith Ministries (AIM) reach out to individuals and families in need. At the start of each year, Anderson University invites area churches, ministries and organizations to Expo, an event that connects students with all sorts of volunteer and ministry opportunities.

Doing Life Together

Residence Halls are essentially where many of Anderson University’s students do life together. Spiritual formation happens in many ways here. Sharing happens face-to-face and by social media. Resident Directors (RD’s) and Resident Assistants (RA’s) minister to, pray with and provide encouragement to students wherever they are in their academic and spiritual journeys. Regardless of the method or platform used, the main idea is to cultivate community and a sense of belonging. 

Of course, there are Bible studies, but also informal chats where students informally discuss topics around faith, learning, worldview and other things that come to mind. Cassie Webber, Boulevard Living Area RD, says she and the RA’s post devotionals on their Instagram page and have opportunities throughout the year for serving and encouraging each other. Luke Springer, RD at Lawton and Rouse, says their motto is “good conversation, better community, stronger worldview.”

Where two or more are gathered…

Campus worship takes place Wednesdays and Fridays in the Henderson Auditorium of the Rainey Fine Arts Center. Students are involved in many ways, whether leading worship or working behind the scenes mixing audio or producing the video streams. 

In addition to weekly campus worship, there are also opportunities to guide worship by involvement in the Gospel Ensemble and other teams, musical and otherwise.

Running the Race

The goal of Anderson University’s Athletic Department is to field teams that compete successfully against other institutions while exemplifying the Christian principles, which guide Anderson University. Coaches lead and mentor student-athletes not only in helping them become their best self athletically but also provide spiritual leadership. 

Dr. Bert Epting, Vice President for Athletics, said, “I’ve always been a big believer that culture doesn’t happen by default, it happens by design, so we’re specifically trying to design an experience for our student-athletes. We started partnering with the chapel program and now once a month we have a chapel credit for FCA here in Abney.” Dr. Epting noted that the Office of Athletics also started a chaplaincy program and student-athletes from all sports serve in a Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC). 

Growing in Wisdom

Dr. Ryan Neal, Provost, said, “When we interview faculty candidates, a key element of the conversations relates to the importance of our desire to provide rigorous academics and faith integration. It’s not either/or; it’s both/and.” 

The Center for Teaching Excellence holds a Christian Worldview and Faith and Learning Integration Seminar for new professors at the start of each semester. According to Nathan Cox, who serves as Assistant Provost and directs the center, the seminar focuses not only on the AU culture, but also on the wider Southern Baptist tradition. New faculty also hear from seasoned faculty in various disciplines who provide practical advice on how issues of faith often manifest during classes taught at AU.

Also, three classes in the Gold Core Curriculum (AU’s general education program) include courses on the Bible, Philosophical Foundations and Moral Reasoning, and Christian Worldview and Contemporary Application. Throughout the year, the center offers sessions on a variety of topics that include current issues students are thinking about, essentials of our faith and other timely, important subjects. 

Dr. Bryan Cribb, who co-leads the seminars, says that the classroom offers numerous opportunities for ministry.

“Our faculty will often serve our students almost in a pastoral role. The faculty at AU do not only teach, but they also shepherd students—helping them to navigate college life and just being there for the students through often difficult life circumstances,” Cribb said.

Going Forth

As our world opens up post-pandemic, students are again finding opportunities for service—around the state, around the country and around the world. Students can lead backyard Bible Clubs, help with disaster relief, do one-on-one evangelism and so much more.

Each year, AU BCMGO Teams are assisting churches across South Carolina in their worship or student ministry. Individual students and student teams also go on mission trips across the country or around the world. During the Spring 2023 Semester, a group is heading to Los Angeles to help church planters there, along with the North American Mission Board. Other students will be involved in Beach Reach, ministering to students traveling to Panama City, Florida, for spring break. 

Finding Space

Sometimes you’ve just got to kick back and enjoy God’s creation. That said, there’s something special about Anderson University’s beautiful wooded campus. One recent addition to the campus is Brashier Glade, which offers flexible, ample indoor and outdoor spaces for prayer groups, Bible studies and other activities or just to find a quiet spot to be alone with God. Improvements are constantly being made to enhance spiritual growth opportunities at Brashier Glade, including enhancements to the Prayer Chapel, which is a 2023 A Day cause.

Where It All Leads

With all of these things in mind, Anderson University can’t help but celebrate God’s many blessings and the many students, faculty and staff He has called to serve in these many areas. Hanson recalls a student from Europe who traveled 3,000 miles to attend Anderson University. Before long, he discovered what Christian community is all about. Daily, students learn about forming lifelong friendships, community and impacting their world.

Student Government Association (SGA) President Cooper Reynolds commented, “AU brings a constant reminder that we serve someone larger than ourselves, larger than AU, and larger than the impact we have on this campus as students. The time I’ve had at AU showed me that it takes time to grow in Jesus, but when you take the time, the impact on the Kingdom of God can be larger than you would have ever been able to do on your own. Fellow students, faculty, and staff have shown me that they are dedicated to helping me grow in my faith, no matter what season of life I am in.”

Stay tuned for future articles about God at work in the Anderson University community.

News Release Contact

Executive Director for Public Relations