By Holly Gaskill | Echo
Pastor John F. Ramsey Sr. met with students for the first time on Oct. 4 and 5 as a Taylor University visiting campus pastor.
Ramsey was first introduced under this position at Spiritual Renewal Week this last September. President Lowell Haines, who has known Ramsey for years, announced Ramsey would be serving more frequently at Taylor. For his first time visiting under this position, Ramsey spent his time on campus meeting with students, staff and faculty through lunches, private meetings and sports practices.
Currently, the position is flexible to change as scheduling logistics are figured out. For example, Ramsey will be on campus two days a month, but the exact schedule has not been set yet. Ramsey will also be speaking occasionally in chapel but is not scheduled to speak again this semester at this time.
According to Vice President for Student Development Skip Trudeau, Ramsey will not be taking on a specific faculty title but will be on campus primarily as a mentor.
"It is not really a position, per say, it is more of a presence," Trudeau said.
Ramsey, who is the senior pastor of New Life Worship Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, has worked extensively with urban ministry and athletes over his years of ministry. Ramsey also has also authored and co-authored multiple books covering topics from ministry to marriage.
With this background, Trudeau sees Ramsey as a strong asset to Taylor. Ramsey's connection to urban ministry is helpful to those coming from urban areas and those wishing to do ministry in urban areas. Since Ramsey was also a college athlete at the Miami University of Ohio, he is taking interest in meeting with teams and athletes individually.
In addition to the opportunity to mentor, Ramsey sees this as an avenue to draw prospective students from urban areas.
"We want to do some things to make Taylor more known back here in Indianapolis and some of the programs, some of the things that are available for minority students to be able to take advantage of," Ramsey said. "In the long run, the hope is that that helps with diversity, plus giving young people the opportunity to go to school and helping them get there."
According to Ramsey, minority high school students in Indianapolis often rule out Taylor because of costs. He hopes that he is able to provide a link to Taylor that can testify to the resources and scholarships available. Eventually, Ramsey sees Taylor becoming viewed as a more viable option for Indianapolis area students.
Ramsey plans to visit Taylor again on November 15 and 16. While he said his first visit was successful, Ramsey plans to stay later in the day to meet with more athletic teams. As he becomes more familiar with his routine, Ramsey hopes he can get more connected with students and groups individually.
"Having Pastor John Ramsey come to campus to engage with students creates an opportunity for hard topics to be discussed, and challenges students to step out of their comfort zone and gain new perspectives on these topics," said senior Theresa Doiron. "Students who are dealing with insecurity, doubt or hardship have a safe place where they can be vulnerable and receive spiritual advice and guidance. However, I think that Pastor R. needs to be consistent in visiting Taylor so that relationships can be built and spiritual growth can continue through his godly mentorship."
A time and date for a general lunch have not been set for his November visit, but students wishing to meet one-on-one with Ramsey can schedule an appointment through Administrative Assistant to the Provost Laurie Green. Individual meetings can be held around campus or in Ramsey's office in the Larita Boren Campus Center.
"I think what I like about it is that it is so broad," Ramsey said. "It can be anything from me having a lunch the other day or last week with six or seven of the baseball players and during that lunch, they are talking to me about a lot of things with life, ministry, trying to find God's direction for their life. No day is going to be the same."