MOUNT OLIVE — Through the Campus Ministries programs at Mount Olive College, opportunities abound for students to participate in chapel programs, attend Bible study, volunteer in community service projects, travel and participate in mission work, and the list goes on. From its meager beginnings in 1951 to today, Mount Olive College has focused on a holistic approach to education. Rather than just allowing the academic, spiritual, and social parts of students’ lives to coexist, Mount Olive College strives to teach students how to combine them.
Campus Chaplain Carla Williamson said, “When a community is Christ-centered and works together to minister to the whole person then it is a Christian community and it is vital to the greater community as well.”
Regardless of the faith background that students bring to Mount Olive College, Campus Ministry seeks to meet students where they are and to assist them as they grow into the people that God has created them to be.
“We have much diversity at Mount Olive College and this is a wonderful and exciting place to be because of the diversity,” Williamson said. “My goal is to offer programs and services at different times and in different formats in order to offer ministry to all of our students.”
There are many programs where students can connect. Ignited Devotioners (ID) Connects meets Thursdays at 4:00 PM in the Best Room and at 11:30 AM on Tuesdays in front of Rodgers Chapel for prayer. New Direction, a small group of athletic worshipers, meets on Tuesdays in Rodgers Chapel at 9:00 PM. Reality Check, a residence hall group, meets Wednesdays at 9:00 PM in Hart Lobby. Collide, the College’s newest ministry group, meets Thursday nights at 7:00 PM in Southern Bank Auditorium and the Mount Olive College Praise Ensemble meets on Monday nights in Rodgers Chapel at 7:30PM. Every Tuesday at 11:00 AM the campus community gathers for worship service in Rodgers Chapel.
From vocal and instrumental solos, to poetry and scripture readings, students are invited and encouraged to participate in the weekly worship experiences. “Our students are very talented,” Williamson said. “We hope to offer them the opportunity to share their gifts with the Mount Olive College community. We can, with God’s Spirit, prepare college students to make a long-lasting spiritual impact on our world. We can raise-up leaders who can live and lead effectively in a world where religion matters.”
Campus Ministry is also focused on service. Last year, Mount Olive College Campus Ministry groups contributed items for the OFWB Home Missions and Evangelism-Haitian relief efforts, raised money to help a local family who lost their home in a fire, contributed to the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Shoe Box project, carved and served turkey at the Student thanksgiving Diner, and raised funds to supply blankets and other personal needs for a local clothes closet. Several students traveled to places like Georgia and Kentucky building porches and participating in storm recovery mission work. Other students went on foreign mission trips. Many students put the skills they are learning while students at Mount Olive College to use as they volunteered to be counselors and leaders of various youth camps.
The philosophy of Campus Ministries at Mount Olive College is to encourage students to examine their faith, think deeply about questions, and put their thoughts and beliefs into action. Students who hunger for both academic knowledge and Christian faith are able to bring those two worlds together at Mount Olive College.
President Philip P. Kerstetter said, “When students are able to make connections between the academic, spiritual, and social parts of their lives—to truly integrate them—then their lives take on a new dimension, and that is our goal, our mission, our purpose.”
Mount Olive College is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville. For more information, visit www.moc.edu.