I had lunch Wednesday with a former student from my campus ministry days – Davy Nugent from Dewitt. He’s been serving in the Navy for the past five years, having traveled the world while serving my family and our country. I’m grateful. Truly.
For those of you who know Davy, he is the same fun-loving, animated Davy I remembered. While he was only at UAM for a year, he and his Dewitt friends made a lasting contribution to our campus ministry through their enthusiasm and participation. I laughed out loud as Davy described being on ABC News with his arm around Diane Sawyer who was in southeast Asia covering the tsunami relief effort, which the Navy was a part of.
The strange and surreal thing about lunch today is that the current campus minister, Tracy Reed, was there with his wife Candy. Tracy was my assistant the semester before Davy arrived at school. Also there was Jeremy Woodall who was in junior high at the time, I guess but is now Tracy’s assistant at the BCM. Tracy and Candy are some of our best friends, and we are so blessed to have them ministering on the UAM campus now.
As we talked about memories and current happenings, I kept getting confused about what students Davy would know and which ones he wouldn’t. He asked about Jill Parrack, and he remembered Jody Smotherman, as well as Ryan Morgan, but he didn’t remember others that I mentioned – mainly because they came after he had left.
After more than 20 years in ministry, eight of them at UAM, I get my ministry generations mixed up. That’s an especially significant factor for guys who do youth and college ministry, as students come and go so much. It’s sometimes hard to remember who “fits” where in the generations of students that we’ve had the privilege and blessing of ministering alongside.
As students graduate, transfer and move on, you don’t realize the significance of their dispersion until much later. However, today as I listened to Davey’s stories and realized the impact he’s been making on the world and his continued love for Christ, I was humbled to have been allowed to serve him during his freshman year at college.
These days, more often than not, the college students I worked with are married and most even have children. They’re serving all over the world, in churches, in the armed forces, in business and government. If you haven’t stopped to pray for youth and collegiate ministry today, I encourage you to do so. They are strategic opportunities to encourage, inspire, and set young people on a life direction that is beneficial and glorifying to God.
Suggested link: Arkansas College Ministries