‘I feel better prepared to love a diverse world’
One of the biggest decisions someone can make is what university to attend after high school. Thankfully, I never had to wrestle with that question; I knew for quite some time.
During my sophomore year in high school, I preached a sermon at my home church, Inola UMC, and was surprised by a visit from my district superintendent, Rev. Emery Mason, that Sunday.
After the service, he told me about Oklahoma City University and the Bishop’s Scholarship that is geared toward students like myself, who feel called into the ministry and to preach God’s word.
I knew, in that moment, that God was leading me to OCU, and now I’m getting ready to enter my second year there in August.
Something we as the Church, the Body of Christ, cannot forget is that we are to make disciples of Jesus Christ. That’s in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) and in our mission statement as United Methodists.
As seen in Jesus’ interactions with his disciples, and in the early Methodist societies and small groups, discipleship often thrives in the presence of discussion, passion, and compassion. At OCU, and especially in the Wimberly School of Religion, we are able to go deep in the matters of faith, life, theology — and just about anything else.
In addition to the deep discussions, we are surrounded by other students and professors who are excited about the work of God. I often say my favorite part of my religion classes are each professor’s enthusiasm and zeal! Even more, love and grace are present at OCU, where all people are welcomed and cared for.
So how has OCU prepared me for the world, particularly the exciting world of ministry?
Well, I would like to quote the apostle Paul, who said, "I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the Gospel."
Church, we live in a diverse world, with many different people in it. If we want to reach a diverse world, make disciples, and truly love our neighbors, then I think we need to know about the world and those within it.
At OCU, I have learned more about what other people — Christian and non-Christian — believe. I’ve encountered people of different faiths or theological backgrounds. My understanding of what others believe has been greatly enriched.
I feel as though I am better prepared to minister to and love a diverse world.
Church, God is moving at OCU, doing great things there in every school, in every ministry, and in every student. I praise God for the opportunity to attend such a world-changing, impactful university.
(John Vick of Inola spoke during the OCU report May 30 at the 2017 Oklahoma Annual Conference.)