KNOXVILLE – Johnson University Tennessee’s 2016 Homecoming officially began last night at 7 p.m. with the first session of “A Calling: Re-Imagined.”
Alumni Association President Adam Grant, ’11, began the session by welcoming attendees, and stating, “The motto of Johnson university is: ‘Faith, prayer, work.'”
This motto comes from founder Ashley Johnson, who said, “We believe as if everything depends upon faith. We pray as if everything depends upon prayer. We work as if everything depends upon work.”
Grant said, “The work part of this phrase will be our focus this week.” He explained that Johnson desires for work ethic to drive ministry, and that Christians’ work finds value in God’s work.
“Sometimes God’s call leads us in unexpected or even unwanted directions. Sometimes we can sense God’s call clearly and powerfully, and other times we might wonder if it’s all in our heads,” Grant said.
Questions on God’s calling will be addressed throughout the Homecoming 2016 sessions.
Following Grant’s welcome was the Parade of Flags for international students.
Students represented Brazil, China, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Madagascar, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Korea, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. The procession finished with a prayer by Simba Nyamutora.
The stage was then brought to life by the tour choir, later joined by the worship band for songs.
For the message, Mark Nelson, ’87, introduced Hugh Halter, Author and Founder of Missio and U.S. Director of Forge America.
He retold many anecdotes on the topic of his personal calling as he began to touch on topics regarding Christians’ calling.
Two main points were attached to the subject of calling: it will be doable and it will be healthy for the soul.
“He doesn’t call us to job descriptions that aren’t doable,” Halter said. He added, “God wants you to be healthy. He doesn’t want your soul to rot.”
The possibilities of ministry are not only found in a church, but in any strategic vocation.
“Look up. Dream. Imagine,” said Halter of the possibilities of ministry.
After another song, Johnson University President Gary Weedman took to the stage to present a Distinguished Service Award.
The award was presented to Dr. Raymond Williams, who graduated Magna Cum Laude from Johnson in 1957. He then continued his education at Phillips University and the University of Chicago.
He joined the faculty at Wabash College in 1965 and spent his entire career there. At Wabash College, he served in many roles: Professor of Religion, Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion, and Director of Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program, among more.
His list of accomplishments, teaching and service awards, professional activities, and publications runs 16 pages long. Dr. Williams also aided Johnson University on obtaining a Lily Endowment Grant, which proved successful.
The session concluded with refreshments for a reception in honor of Distinguished Service Award recipients.
Homecoming sessions can be live streamed or reviewed here.