New Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics

During the past year and a half, I have carefully evaluated the future leadership needs for the Student Affairs arena of the College.  In this interim without a Vice President overseeing this department, I’ve enjoyed having the Student Affairs team report directly to me, and this time has also helped me better understand the needs, challenges, demands, and opportunities of student affairs, and craft a structure which best supports our students.

The focus of the student affairs department is multi-fold, but the overarching mission is the retention of students – to enable them to grow, connect, and persevere through their college experience. Across the gamut of this area, everything must be building patterns that support retention – from residential life, to career development, to intramural sports, to student activities, to student discipline, to campus morale, to student leadership – everything should be helping students understand and use their gifts to see God’s calling in their life at Belhaven and beyond graduation.

Through the years, the point of difficulty in best fulfilling this mission has been the abrupt separation between student affairs and athletics, which makes some portions of our work redundant, and in other cases, leaves significant gaps.  Nearly a third of our students are participating in intercollegiate athletics, and often the most complex issues of scheduling, programming, and other student affairs related issues cross over into the heart of athletics.  On many campuses athletics comes under the banner of the same person responsible for student affairs.

For Belhaven, I believe it is important that the person responsible for student affairs reports directly to me. And I also see the merit of the NCAA model that requires athletics to report directly to the president.  Additionally, because both of these areas require complex solutions to issues, it is helpful to have them represented in the Administrative Team discussion.

With these objectives in mind, I have been praying and thinking for an extended time about the right administrative model for our future at Belhaven.  Effective immediately, I am pleased to appoint Scott Little, as our new Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics.

Scott served for many years as our Director of Student Leadership, and for the past three semesters, has done a remarkable job as our Athletic Director.  As Vice President, Scott will use the crossover of both arenas to create new synergies, making us more effective as we provide the best environment possible for our students.  Scott is a rock solid administrator, has proven judgment, and his background of experience in both student affairs and athletics makes him uniquely qualified to serve the campus in this new responsibility. He will continue to serve as Athletic Director, and will continue to work with me in providing leadership for chapel. He will report directly to me, and serve on the Administrative Team.  Scott’s office will remain where it is in Fitzhugh Hall.

Ron Pirtle will continue in his recently appointed new role of Dean of Student Development, providing daily leadership for the Student Life department.  We will be asking some of our coaches to accept some additional administrative responsibilities in athletics.  We have such a wonderful staff in student affairs and strong coaches, so I’m expecting a rapid and smooth transition.  Athletics has been under the responsibility of Kevin Russell, who has done a marvelous job providing supervisory leadership, but this change will free Kevin from that oversight, as we need more of his energy in fund raising, along with the leadership he provides in so many other areas of the college.

I trust you’ll join with me in welcoming Scott to this new challenge, and support him in prayer as he provides strategic leadership for our campus in the years ahead as Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics.

Men’s Soccer Rankings and Homecoming Spirit

Our men’s soccer team has had only had one loss all season, and we dropped from 6th to 22nd in the national rankings that came out today following our loss to University of Mobile last week.  Doesn’t feel too fair since many teams above us have had several losses. I guess this will give us a better opportunity to surprise the competition in the national playoffs.  Interestingly, there are only four teams in our conference that play soccer and three of them are nationally ranked.

At homecoming I had some students offer to face paint me.  Not going to ever happen, but do like the school spirit.  To bribe them from not wanting to face paint me, I promised to put their picture on my blog. But then ran into another student who offered to “knuckle paint” me…..that’s not going to happen either, but where else but Belhaven would you get someone who paints on their hands “I love World View Curriculum”  That’s one for the yearbook.

Send Billy Graham a Greeting for His 90th Birthday

I received this email from a friend who is VP of the Billy Graham association.  If you’ve been influenced by Dr. Graham’s ministry through the years, you might enjoy the opportunity to thank him as he celebrates his 90th birthday.

I’ve had the joy of being connected with Dr. Graham through my work with the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization.  I was with him in his library one day and he told me he’s never finished a book all the way through . . . that made me feel lots less guity about all the books I’ve read for the main ideas, but never finished.

Dear Roger,

How we praise God for the ministry of Belhaven College and His guiding through your leadership.  Thank you also for your support of Mr. Graham through the years.  As you may know, Mr. Graham turns 90 on November 7th. What a milestone for him!  Franklin Graham has asked us to connect with the leaders that we know and encourage them to invite their friends and constituents to send a birthday greeting or personal message about how God may have used his father to influence their life and work for Christ.

We have set up a special website,, where anyone can submit a birthday message or personal story for Mr. Graham.  We are looking for testimonies from around the world to share with him to encourage him in his later years.  Hopefully, we will see several of these read to him over the rest of his life.

We do want to make a presentation to Mr. Graham.  Thank you for sharing this with your team and constituents. If you have time to let me know what you have done, I would very much appreciate that as well.

Yours in Christ,

Tom Phillips
VP, Crusade Ministries
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Dr. Billy Kim – Day of Learning – Thurs. Oct 30th

Thursday we will bring together the entire campus for a “day of learning” from 8:30 to noon to focus on the remarkable working of God in Korea through the past several decades.

Dr. Billy Jang Hwan Kim, President of the Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC), will speak about God’s exciting work in South Korea, and the FEBC Korea Children’s Choir will continue their international tour with a special musical appearance here at Belhaven.

Dr. Kim has been in evangelical ministry for over fifty years, and he has accomplished many remarkable things throughout his life. Though his early years included extreme hardships, including the Korean War, God’s hand was on Billy’s life from a young age.

Billy was able to get work as a house boy for the U.S military, where he met Sgt. Carl Powers, who helped him go to America to complete his education. Sgt. Powers enrolled Billy at Bob Jones Academy in Greenville, South Carolina.  In August 1958, Billy married Trudy, whom he met at Bob Jones Academy. The fearful 17 year old boy who left Korea in 1951 returned with an education, a beautiful wife, and a passion and vision for ministry.

Dr. Kim’s ministry in Korea began small, but it grew exponentially with each passing decade. One instance of his passion for the gospel was the Billy Graham Crusade of 1973, where Dr. Kim translated Dr. Graham’s nightly messages. His interpretive skill was marked by speed, accuracy, and enthusiasm. Each night the crown grew to a maximum attendance of 1.1 million.

In 1973, Dr. Kim was installed as Director of the Far East Broadcasting Company in Korea, where he has been for over 3 decades.  In 2000, he became the first Asian to be elected as President of the Baptist World Alliance. Continuing an active and broad international ministry, he has been invited to many large Christian rallies all over the world and has become a famous speaker.

The Korea Children’s Choir will be arriving with Dr. Kim from Birmingham and will continue on to Atlanta after their stay in Jackson. We are privileged to have such young and talented voices at the Campus Day of Learning, especially since these young singers have traveled across the world in order to spread the gospel with their voices.

Dr. Kim’s experience in ministry and his role as an international evangelical leader make this Day of Learning a special treat for our campus.

What Prospective Students Are Saying – Discover Days

We hosted a Discover Day last Friday, bringing prospective students and their families to campus for a day to “kick the tires” as they make their college choice.  We had a large group attend last week, and Suzanne Sullivan and Amanda Slaughter, along with our admissions team do a marvelous job enabling these families to get the most out of their visit.

The dates of up coming Discover Days are:  October 24, November 14, February 13, March 6, March 27, an April 17.  Following each of these visit days, we ask the prospective students and parents for their comments, and below are some of the remarks from last week:

I was extremely impressed with the emphasis in worldview. The mindset of the teachers is the same in all departments. That is one of the most important aspects. The level of commitment of this school to the students’ knowledge beyond what we would normally learn in our studies is eyeopening. I could go on for hours. Belhaven is my #1 choice thus far.

The amount of time the dance department head (Mrs. Newland) spent speaking with us helped us get a feel for the type of character and quality of those who will direct our daughter’s college career. We thank her for that. She seems to be very caring and involved. It is hard to get a feel for someone’s character from a picture on the school’s website. We appreciate the planning that went into the Discovery Day schedule. Having a full schedule allowed us to get a good overall assessment of Belhaven without wasting our time.

My visit sealed the deal with regards to which college I most want to attend. Tuition is the only thing keeping me from going at this point. I’m only a junior, so were going to work on lots of scholarships. 🙂

I loved it. Everyone was so nice. The campus is so beautiful. It was so much fun, and I am so glad I went.

How to Talk to Your Doctor About Prayer

We have several people on campus who are facing very serious health issues right now.  I pray for them – but when any of us is facing a tough physical battle we need to let our doctor know we are counting on prayer and the healing hand of the Lord to guide the doctor.

It is wonderful when we work with a doctor who prays as well.

When my dad was dying last year, we worked with a wonderful Christian doctor from the Mayo Clinic, and I’ll always treasure the moment of the doctor’s caring prayer when he sent Dad home from the hospital for the last time telling us there was nothing more they could do medically.

This recent article from CNN about this topic may be helpful (and isn’t it interesting that CNN would run a major story on prayer.)

How to talk to your doctor about God
By Elizabeth Cohen
CNN Medical Correspondent

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — The doctors, nurses, pharmacists and technicians gathered around her son’s crib, their faces grim. Pamela Gorman knew what they were thinking: Her son, Christopher, was about to die.

Christopher was just a few days old and had a rare blood infection and fungal meningitis, a brain infection.

“I could tell in their eyes they had no hope for my son,” Gorman said. “They told me to prepare for his death. They told me he might not make it through the night.”

Gorman never believed the doctors. In fact, she did something she thinks annoyed these men and women of science: She prayed. She prayed all the time.

“They made me feel ridiculous for praying so much and so hard and leaving it up to God,” said Gorman, who lives in Idaho Falls, Idaho. “But I told them my son not surviving was not an option.”

When he was a month old, Christopher left the hospital. He’s been healthy ever since, she says. He turns 3 next month.

“It was a miracle,” she said. “There are just things doctors can’t explain. Doctors are not in control of everything. There’s stuff that happens every day that they can’t explain.” Empowered Patient: Watch more on faith and medicine »

A new study finds that many Americans have that same kind of faith. In the study, 57 percent of randomly surveyed adults said God’s intervention could save a deathly ill family member even if physicians said treatment would be futile.

However, just under 20 percent of doctors and other medical workers said God could reverse a helpless outcome.

The study was published last month in Archives of Surgery and is one of many to show a “faith gap” between doctors and patients.

“Patients are scared to death to talk to their doctors about this issue,” said Dr. Harold Koenig, co-director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke University.

Given this gap, how can you discuss God with your physician? We asked advice from Koenig and two other physicians who study faith and medicine.

1. It’s OK to ask for a doctor who also has strong religious convictions

Koenig suggests this approach when talking to a physician: “I would say: ‘My religious beliefs are very important to me and influence my medical decisions and the way I cope with illness, and I want a doctor who has those same convictions. If you don’t come from that perspective, do you know a doctor you can refer me to?’ ”

If you’re a Christian, you might find a like-minded doctor through the ZIP code search at the Christian Medical and Dental Associations.

2. Don’t be surprised if you find No. 1 difficult to do

“Religion is the last taboo in medicine,” said Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, an internist, a Franciscan friar and director of ethics at St. Vincent’s Hospital and New York Medical College in New York. “Doctors and patients talk about intimate details like sexual practices and drug use but still have this great reluctance to talk about religion.”

Sulmasy suggests not asking directly about the doctor’s own religious beliefs but instead focusing on your own religious needs.

3. It’s OK to ask your doctor to pray with you

According to a 2006 study by the University of Chicago, 53 percent of doctors surveyed said it was appropriate to pray with patients when asked.

This can work even when doctor and patient don’t share the same faith. For example, Koenig, who’s Christian, has prayed with Jewish patients. “In most cases, a general prayer asking for God’s comfort, support and healing will be sufficient,” he said.

4. Be specific about your religious needs

“If I’m a Muslim and I come to the point of dying, the hospital might need to relax the visiting rules, because it’s important to have as many people as possible with me as I recite the Quran,” Sulmasy said.

“If I’m a Buddhist, it may be important to me to hear chant as I’m dying,” he added. “If I’m a Catholic, I may want to receive the Sacrament of the Sick.”

5. If you believe in miracles, say so

“Get that out in the open,” advised Dr. Robert Fine, an internist and head of clinical ethics and palliative care at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

Confusion may ensue if you don’t, he explains. For example, sometimes doctors think families are against removing life support at the end of life because they don’t understand the medical facts, when they do understand but are waiting for a miracle.

“Once we know that, we can have a discussion about faith,” Fine said.

Men’s Soccer Ranked 8th in the Nation – Undefeated Season

Today’s NAIA national ranking moves Belhaven from 13th to 8th. This is getting exciting!  Come out and watch this team Wednesday and Friday this week in the Belhaven Bowl – both games at 3:00 pm. Could this be the march toward our second national championship in men’s soccer?

1  University of Rio Grande (Ohio)  12-0-1
2  Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.) 9-1-0
3  Southern Nazarene University (Okla.) 7-1-1
4  Oklahoma City University 11-1-0
5  Azusa Pacific University (Calif.)  7-2-2
6  Hannibal-LaGrange College (Mo.)  12-1-0
7  Simon Fraser University (B.C.) 8-4-0
8  Belhaven College (MS) 11-0-1
9  Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Fla.) 6-2-3
10 University of Maine at Fort Kent 11-0-0

Report from Baghdad – “We thought it could not get worse, it has.”

Last night I received this email from Belhaven’s friend, Canon Andrew White, the pastor of St. George’s Church in Baghdad – he lives in London, England.  He spoke for our Day of Learning two years ago.  He is a key leader in the Middle East peace process, both in Iraq and in other conflicts, including guiding the bringing together of the Alexandria Accord.  Please be praying specifically for Andrew and his congregation (they were featured on 60 minutes recently)

We thought it could not get worse, it has.

We watched last year in Dura south of Baghdad as the Christians were persecuted, killed and massacred. Many fled Baghdad and they went to the safe area of Nineveh in the heart of Mosul. The place they fled to is the heart of the Christian community. In recent days it all went wrong. The Christians have again been targeted, killed and massacred. This time not in Baghdad, but in the heart of the Christian area of Nineveh. Last Sunday in Church I asked our people how many of them were from Nineveh and about 80% said they were. The homeland of hundreds of our people.

I just spoke to our churchwarden his nephew and his father had just been shot dead outside their house in Nineveh. The nephew Alhassan was due to be engaged on Friday. As I left church yesterday I was phoned again by church members they had just heard that their family home in Nineveh had been totally blown up. There were now 7 people without a home in need of help. All these people need help, all of these people expect me to do something and I will. These are our people and we must stand with them. Can you imagine this kind of thing happening in England? Well the fact is these are still our people. They too are our family and they need love and support.

The fact that Christians are now being attacked in the heartland of  Christianity is very significant. This is the place where the people have  believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for 2700 years since the miserable evangelist turned up by submarine transportation. 700 hundred years later another miserable person turned up on his way to India. It was doubting Thomas. He told them that their messiah had arrived down the road in Israel the people believed and until today Nineveh is still Christian. The longest standing Christian place in the world. To this day the most revered people here in Iraq by the Christians are Jonah and Mar Thoma (St Thomas). These are our brothers and sisters and we must not forget them. St Georges Anglican Church Baghdad is now the largest church in Iraq with nearly 2000 members.

None of our people are traditionally Anglican but now in the midst of trauma denominations do not matter, all that matters is that that we believe in Jesus. In the last service I told our people what I regularly tell them. “There are no guarantees that we will not be killed this week, but there is one guarantee that when we see Jesus we will be like him”. At this the people always cheer.

We cannot deny the success of the Surge; violence is still down in Baghdad. The sad reality is though that many of the terrorist groups like Al Qaida have moved north to places like Mosul. Who is responsible for the violence is still not clear. There is agreement that the violence is Sunni some say it is Al Qaida types other are placing the blame on the Kurds. This seems quite unlikely as many of the Christians have now escaped Nineveh / Mosul and are seeking refuge in Kurdistan. Added to these many problems and dangers that the Christians are facing there has also been the recent dismissal of the parliament to allow minorities to have representation reserved in the regional governments. So life is very hard at this time for the remaining Christians in Iraq. The majority of this minority have already fled. Those left are the ones who can’t afford to leave or are refusing to.

In the midst of this crisis the Multi National Forces in Iraq are seriously considering what they can do. The Iraqi Government has already seconded 1000 police and military forces to the area. In the midst of this crisis once again the only solution appears to be to overcome the violence by force. As people of peace this may not be the solution we like but there appears to be no other option, the people committing this violence will not talk to you, they will not engage and look for other solutions. As far as they are concerned they are killing the infidels who they wrongly believe are aligned to the west and the coalition.

Meanwhile back at church we simply keep loving and serving. We now have a clinic at the church with three doctors, three Dentists and a pharmacy.  Everything we do is totally free and most of our patients are not Christian but Muslim. We have no plans to stop serving all people and the one thing we say as a church is we will never stop doing is loving, loving and loving. The threat returns, the violence is real but by the grace of God will keep going.

Student Loans – Good News in $700 Billion Rescue Plan

A letter from the president of National Association of Student Loan Administrators summarizes the good news for student loans in the government’s economic rescue plan:

The best news for student aid is that one of the bill’s provisions extends for two years the ability of taxpayers to take a deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses.

Under the new law, the Treasury Department Secretary would have the authority to intervene in the student loan market. That authority is so expansive, it would apply to intervention in the market to prop up both FFELP and private education loans. While the legislation grants the authority to intervene in these markets, it does not spell out what form such intervention shall take.

Given the May 2008 action taken by Congress in passing the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act (ECASLA), and the recent extension of that legislation, we remain optimistic that federal student loans will continue to be widely available to borrowers.

Rescue Plans

The Federal Government launched a $700 BILLION rescue plan for the economy.  We need wise action during this challenging time to the global economy.

But no one is sure the rescue plan will work – and in light of the stock market drop today below 9,000, the lowest point since May 27, 2003 – at least so far, the government’s rescue plan is not shifting the economic tide.

Today’s email from Living Water for the Soul shared a rescue plan I feel much better about, because it has been proven through history.

The Lord their God will rescue his people, just as a shepherd rescues his sheep. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown. Zechariah 9:16