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Staff Feature: Katherine Barnhart

KISSIMMEE — Katherine Barnhart works at Johnson University Florida as the Administrative Assistant of the School of Education and the Assistant Coach of the girl’s basketball team.

Katherine’s husband, Jay Barnhart, accepted the position as Florida’s first-ever women’s basketball coach in June 2018. Katherine joined Johnson staff in August 2018. She said it has been a joy for them to work together.

This is not their first time coaching together, however, as they both coached teams through Camps for Christ. Camps for Christ is a summer camp program that teaches students aged 7-18 about basketball and Christ. Jay Barnhart started this program at age 19 while still attending Messiah College. These years of experience shape how they now teach the girl’s basketball team.

Katherine calls herself the coach mom. It is not just basketball for them, it is a discipleship opportunity.

“I see myself in a position of just being there for the girls,” Barnhart said. “Whatever their needs are, whether they are personal or basketball related.”

Katherine believes the Lord prepared her for this type of position. She grew up in a small rural town in Amherst, Va. She is the fourth born child out of 14. Growing up, she had to be very independent and hard-working. She was required to grow up quickly and took on a motherly role among her siblings. She was very prepared for life once she left her home.

“It was really a blessing because it was training me to be a leader and an example in my own household,” Barnhart said.

When it was time to have her own kids, Katherine decided to be a stay-at-home mother like her mom. She home-schooled all three of her children.

“I really enjoyed being home with the children to nurture, care and guide them,” Barnhart said.

Katherine enjoys spending her time praying and fasting. From a young age, her parents taught her to prioritize prayer in her relationship with God. It was often her practice to spend time outdoors in reflection and prayer.

She also enjoys writing short stories, poems, parables, and plays. She published her first book, Where are you? Am I dead?: Words of Wisdom with Westbow publishers in April 2018. This book is a result of extensive reflection on the story of Adam and Eve found in Genesis. She hopes to one day direct plays for the benefit of the body of Christ.

When asked what was the highlight of working at Johnson, she said it was the opportunity to work with the girl’s basketball team. Nothing compares to the joy of discipling future leaders. She wants students to know she cares for them and that her door is always open if any student wants prayer.

HomeMissions/CultureNewsTennessee

Ignite Prayer Night to be held Feb. 2

Knoxville — The Harvesters group at Johnson University is hosting a night of prayer from 9 p.m. to midnight, Saturday in the PW gym.

Brielle Smith, the President of Harvesters, said that the theme of the night is based on Psalm 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Students will participate in different styles of creative prayer to understand this scripture.

“We all get stressed out and like overwhelmed with school and so sometimes it’s good to just like take time to be still and be with God,” Smith said.

Smith said that the night is meant to be a night of refreshing for students to come together and connect with God through a long period of prayer.

There is no need to sign up for the event and there will be snacks and coffee for those who choose to attend.

StellieMay Whitesides is the prayer coordinator and will be helping to lead the event.

Many different styles of creative prayer will take place throughout the night. There will be corporate prayer, individual prayer and prayer stations.

HomeNewsTeachersTennessee

Meal discounts offered for non-traditional, commuter students

Knoxville — In the busyness of the day, sometimes dinner preparations get put on the back burner. Pioneer Dining Services is introducing new specials and advertising old ones to make non-traditional and commuter students’ lives easier.

Every Tuesdays in the River Grill, all meals are $4 for non-traditional and commuter students. Every Thursdays, dinner costs $5 for adults and $2.50 for their children in the Gally.

The special in the Gally has been running for years, but the new discount in the River Grill will hopefully attract more students.

“It will benefit [non-traditional students] because they will have an even more affordable option for lunch or dinners on campus that fit into their class schedule,” Jordan Durant, director of Pioneer Food Services said.

He said only a handful of non-traditional and commuter students take advantage of the discount in the Gally.

On Thursdays, the Gally has a variety of rotating dinner options, including fried chicken, spaghetti, and usual options like pizza and subs.

The River Grill has more specialized options like quesadillas, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches and salads.

Jan. 22 was the first day of the special at the River Grill and Durant said the response was positive.

“We doubled our sales [in the River Grill] from last week,” Durant said.

In addition to the meal discounts for some students, Durant said his crew is preparing for a new cookie delivery service.

“It will be open to all campus residents alike, nontraditionals, and faculty and staff,” he said. “The start date will be next Wednesday.”

He said more details about this upcoming service will be released to the campus body soon.

HomeStaffStudentsTennessee

JU Students and Professor Attend Leadership Conference

This past week, two JU students and a professor had the opportunity to attend the United States Naval Academy Leadership Conference in Annapolis, Md.

The theme of this year’s conference, “Inside Out Leadership”, was primarily focused on helping leaders know themselves first so that they could better lead those they’re in  charge of. There were a multitude of speakers and panels covering the various facets of leadership.

Some of this year’s speakers were former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, the 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Peter Pace, and President of Operations at NPR Loren Mayor.

“(The speakers) were excellent,” sophomore Elijah Muller said. “They gave me a lot to think about when it comes to my leadership abilities.”

This was the largest attendance the conference has ever had with over 400 delegates coming from over 120 institutions around the world. The delegates were allowed to discuss the information they were learning at the conference as well as get leadership tips from one another in discussion groups that were moderated by midshipmen at the academy.

“One of the most enjoyable parts of the conference was getting to interact with the other delegates,” Dr. Daniel Overdorf said. “Getting to meet with students from other universities and military academies and also seeing the caliber of the students at the Naval Academy was amazing.”

Throughout the week, the delegates from JU got to explore the grounds of the Naval Academy, tour a patrol boat, and explore downtown Annapolis.

Dr. Gerald Mattingly, who helps coordinate the trip for the JU delegation every year hopes that the students and professors that go will return and use what they learned at the conference to better JU.

CultureHomeNewsStudentsTennessee

Students encouraged to participate in upcoming faith, sexuality conversations

Knoxville — Johnson University’s Counseling Center is hosting round table discussions for students who are interested in diving deeper into the topic of faith and sexuality.

These discussion groups are an opportunity for students to debrief following the Faith and Sexuality lectures presented by Mark Yarhouse, here Thursday.

These discussions will be held at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, in the private dining hall. They are an open-ended conversation between students and faculty, touching on the information given by Yarhouse.

Emily Eisenhart, Director of Clinical Services, said that the conversation will mainly be “focused on what was heard from the lectures” and “continuing the idea of being hospitable to those that are different from us.”

She also said that the format of the conversations will be informal.

The format is intended to allow students to discuss their questions, comments and concerns in a safe environment. The conversation will be facilitated and guided by a faculty or staff member.

“We know that there are students that are struggling with issues of sexual identity or may be in a different place than the majority on campus,”  Eisenhart said. “And we want those students to feel welcome.. to feel hope.”

Eisenhart said that support for students thinking through sexual identity issues is available beyond the meeting Tuesday.

“If sexual identity topics are personal to them and they find themselves in that minority here at Johnson, they can receive support here at the counseling center,” she said. “We can’t stress enough how confidential their sessions are.”

All students at JU are encouraged to attend this round table discussion and become more educated on the topic of sexual identity.

“This is a topic we really need to consider and engage,” Eisenhart said.

“How can we move toward people, rather than disregard where they’re at?”

She said this is an opportunity to meet people where they are and walk with them through differences.

FloridaHomeStudents

Fall Senior Recitals

KISSIMMEE — Two seniors at the Johnson University Florida campus performed recitals to cap off their education.

Audrey Olsheske, a Musical Arts student, was first to perform her recital entitled “More Than A Conqueror” October 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the gym.

Brent Glover, a Worship Ministry student, followed with his recital entitled “Hold Us Together” on November 9.

Each recital lasted approximately one hour and consisted of vocal and piano pieces. During vocal pieces, both students were accompanied by Tony Cason on piano.

The senior recital is required for music majors and serves as a class.  It is a “…time for us music students to use what we have learned,” stated Olsheske. “It is a time for people to gather around and support you.”

Students prepare for this moment every year of their studies.  “It is an opportunity to show our professors, family, and friends what we have learned and how we have grown as musicians/worship leaders during our time at Johnson,” Glover said.

Additionally, Glover saw his recital as a personal confirmation that he obtained the skills necessary for his calling.

“I went from someone who could sing a little bit and play guitar to someone who can sing a lot better and lead worship from multiple instruments, along with being able to responsibly and biblically structure services,” Glover said.

Olsheske experienced difficulty when planning her recital. She was nervous and uncertain if she should perform. But, her nerves turned to joy after her recital.

“My favorite part would be the standing ovation I received at the end,” Olsheske said. “I’m an introvert and definitely NOT an attention seeker, but it felt great to know people really enjoyed what I had done.”

Glover’s favorite part was being able to minister to his family members through his recital. He encouraged all by witnessing to Christ in both song and word. He led the audience in an extended time of worship featuring songs “Is He Worthy?” and “Hold Us Together.”

Both Glover and Olsheske extended special thanks to their professors without whom their success would have been impossible.

“I have grown exponentially in my singing ability and my musicianship,” Glover said.

“Dr. Reyes, Dirk Donahue, and Tony Cason have all done such a great job at helping me get to where I am today, musically and more,” Olsheske said.

Glover accepted a job as the campus worship pastor for Tomoka Christian Church’s Palm Bay campus and will be joining them full-time after he graduates.

Olsheske is unsure what she will do after graduation. She said she is certain, however, that things will all work out.

 

 

 

 

FloridaHomeMissions/CultureStaffStudents

JUFL Cycling Event Raises over $30,000 for Missions

Over Spring Break (March 17-21) faculty and students from JUFL participated in the Key West Bike Ride 2018 (#KWBR2018), a cycling tour created by Ends of the Earth Cycling (a division of New Mission Systems International).

In 2016 Ends Cycling hosted the Tennessee Bike Ride in conjunction with JU—a 300-mile trek from JUTN to VA and back. After experiencing near-freezing temperatures in the Cherokee National Forest in March 2016, Ends made a decision to host this year’s JU-partnered tour in Florida.  

The KWBR2018 took more than 30 cyclists, and support staff from NMSI headquarters in Ft. Myers to the southernmost point of the U.S. in Key West. Cyclists included students Christian Arnold, Jessica Hammock, Rodrigo Monteroso, Leah Hardin, and Dr. Les Hardin (Professor of NT). Seth McManus (student, SGA President) and Elisabeth Arnold (alumnus) provided support staff for the tour.

Ends Cycling hosts tours specifically to raise money and awareness of worldwide mission work. This year’s KWBR2018 sought to raise money for Africa Hope’s School of Youth Ministry Training. The median age on the continent of Africa is currently 18 years old, making youth ministry key for the growth of the Kingdom there.

Justin Hanneken, Executive Director of Ends Cycling, had the following to say about Ends Cycling’s partnership with JU:

“Following a successful Tennessee Bike Ride in March 2016, we at Ends Cycling were so excited to partner with Johnson University again. We knew the only way this would work for the Key West Bike Ride 2017 was to have the tour over JU’s Spring Break. We also knew that God would have to provide a staff member on campus to help us out. He did exactly that through our ‘bro’ and friend, Dr. Les Hardin. Les organized an incredible group of students and JU alumni who were an absolute blessing to the team! Over the course of 5 days, we became family and God was glorified as we had the opportunity to #PrayPedalRepeat for the youth of Africa.”  

Each Ends Cycling participant is asked to commit to raise funds for the designated mission. The KWBR2018 group raised an excess of $30,000 to promote and facilitate youth work in Africa.

Participants in Key West Bike Ride had the following to say about their experiences:

“The KWBR was an awesome way to spend my spring break. Even though I’m not a cyclist, I found a way to plug-in and help serve the riders by moving equipment, helping with worship, and preaching at one of the stops.” —Seth McManus, SGA President

“Intentional discipleship occurs at every part in the team: praising one another for daily accomplishments, pushing one another to work harder, and supporting one another when trouble arises.” —Christian Arnold, JUFL Alumnus and M.A. Student

“KWBR was an awesome opportunity that trained my body and exercised my faith. Carving out specific time to train 6 days a week helped me prioritize my day and even helped me do better in my classes because I was forced to stick to a strict schedule. On the ride I was constantly praying for YouthHOPE in Africa because being on the bike for 8 or so hours a day provides a great opportunity for focusing on prayer.” —Jessica Hammock, JUFL student

“The past two years (2017 & 2018), I have served as a support staff member caring for the needs of cyclists. It is such a rewarding experience as I grow close to people from different faith backgrounds all coming together to use their love of cycling for the cause of global youth outreach.” —Elisabeth Arnold, JUFL Alumnus

JUFL students will once again have the opportunity to participate in the KWBR this upcoming Spring Break (Mar. 16-21, 2019). KWBR19 will raise funds for youth work in Thailand. Anyone interested in cycling or helping as a support staff member is encouraged to speak with Dr. Les Hardin for more information.

For more on the work of Ends of the Earth Cycling, visit www.endscycling.com and follow them at #PrayPedalRepeat.

FeaturesHomeStaffTennessee

Preparing for a New President

When it came time to find the seventh President of Johnson University, the Board of Trustees knew they were looking for someone who was a Johnson University alumnus, knew how to raise funds, and whose character is above reproach. They found their prime candidate in Dr Thomas Smith.

“We spent two to three hours in the interview,” Smith said. “(The Board of Trustees) had a long list of questions that they went through that were very tough questions. None of them were surprises to me which led me to feel like I had been well prepared.”

Smith has a long history with Johnson University. He graduated from Johnson Bible College with his B.A. in 1978. He then was in located ministry for six years. After receiving his M.A.R. from Emmanuel School of Religion in 1986 and his PhD from the University of Tennessee in 1990, he came back and began teaching at JU in 1989. After serving as a professor of history and theology, he served as the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences from 2012 to 2014 and as the Provost from 2014 to 2017 before beginning his tenure as President.

However, Smith is more than his academic and career accomplishments. The Chairman of the Board of Trustees L.D. Campbell says that Smith is personable, enjoys people,  is approachable, enjoys a good laugh and is an excellent preacher.

Professor Gerald Mattingly, who has known Smith for almost 30 years, described him as “a good person with a sound analytical mind and a disarming down-to-earth quality,” which he went on to say is good for someone who is assuming the role of the presidency.

Smith has some big goals for his presidency. Among them are recommitting the university to the mission of the university, improving math and science classes, and improving college athletics.

One of the key aspects he wants to refocus on is being faithful to the great commision. He feels the “Third Way”, which is a blend of a bible college approach and liberal arts college approach, can accomplish this goal by rounding out students’ education experiences.

The university has also begun studying how it can improve its math and science classes, which Smith feels will go a long way in benefiting Teacher Education and Health and Human Services majors among many others.

Smith also wants university athletics to recruit students based on what he called the “Johnson Triad”: people who are missionary committed, academically prepared, and competitive athletes. “There is all kind of benefits both for athletics and for the student body,” Smith said. “It boosts student morale, gives you stuff to do, and creates relationships. It’s kind of an overstatement, but in the past we’ve done athletics because we ‘had to’. I want to do it because we want to. 

This will be Johnson’s fifth inauguration in its history. He hopes students will come to the ceremony, but he also hopes to see them at the student event later in the evening as well. He asks that all students help make the campus look nice and that they themselves look nice as well.

“It’s important to me that students feel welcomed and included at this event,” Smith said.

Smith wants people to know that his inauguration is not a celebration of him or the office, but rather a celebration of the university. The ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. and will be followed by a reception on the White House lawn at 4:30. The student event will take place at 6:30 on the Gally Plaza and will offer games, food and a Cruze Farm ice cream truck, which Smith said, “ain’t bad to entice students with.” 

FeaturesStudentsTennessee

Freshman enters into new college experience with hopeful anticipation

KNOXVILLE — Alyssa Bode is excited as she begins her freshman year of college. She is pursuing a business degree at Johnson University.

On Aug. 17, 2018, Bode moves into her college dorm room. She traveled from her home in Dandridge.

Bode grew up with two twin brothers, Levi Bode and Dakota Bode. Alyssa began homeschooling in the seventh grade alongside her brothers. The rest of her middle and high school experience was spent getting her education at home.

After visiting JU the summer before her 12th-grade year, Alyssa knew JU was where she wanted to be.

“I loved being homeschooled but, the atmosphere here was really cool. I love getting to meet people from different places,” Alyssa said. “I would compare every school to Johnson. They had my major, and the people were really friendly.”

Alyssa said she fell in love with the scenic views of the campus. She said she admired the communal atmosphere of the people on campus.

“I love how much everyone here loves Jesus and each other,” she said. “I knew I wanted to play a part in that.”

Since her arrival, she has found people to grow in community with. Alyssa said she has participated in all of the activities from Genesis Weekend, the university’s freshmen welcome experience.

“Saturday night was my favorite,” she said. “I was able to get to know people. The worship was really cool too.”

Alyssa said she is looking forward to pursuing her business major at JU and hopes to continue to meet new people.