by Emily Grooms

CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMNews) – Despite tumultuous times for education, Truett-McConnell College President, Dr. Emir Caner, shared of the schools continued growth during a biannual trustee meeting, Friday, March 27.

“We’re blessed,” Caner told trustees. “The cause of that blessing is simply and only because of the Lord and only He can get the glory.”

“Students aren’t choosing to attend TMC merely because of the location, facilities, or professors, but primarily to experience sanctification as they are obedient to God,” Caner shared, “That’s something bigger than a professor or class.”

Equipping the called

Truett-McConnell senior soccer player and world missions major, Meagan Taylor, spoke to the trustees and shared how the investment she’s received from TMC has changed her life: “I love Truett-McConnell College,” Taylor said. “I don’t necessarily love the institution or the campus, even though it’s beautiful, or the classes; what I love about Truett are the people. I love that my professors and coaches want to invest in me. The experience I’ve had at Truett has changed by life and played a huge role in my sanctification process.”

Taylor continued to share how the impact of playing for a godly soccer program changed her perspective on leadership: “For the believer,” she said, “soccer is more than soccer; it’s something that is a platform for sharing the Gospel.” Selflessness is another quality God has used to change Taylor’s perspective on her sport and in life: “life is not about me, not even a little bit,” she said.

Speaking to the team’s community service efforts: feeding the homeless in Atlanta, ministering to refugees in Clarkston, and investing into the lives of children through the local Foothills ministry, Taylor shared how the women’s soccer program has established a habit for reaching out to meet the needs of others: “Our soccer program has been instrumental in advancing the Kingdom – our community service has shown us that life isn’t about us, it’s about going out and being bold with the Gospel.”

“Servant leadership is godly leadership,” Taylor added while citing Jesus’ example of servant leadership as inspiring: “That’s the kind of man I want to follow and I see that leadership is serving those around you and those you are leading. I would have never grasped that if I had not been at Truett.”

“I’m telling you this because I want to show you the impact a program like this can have on someone’s life,” Taylor told trustees. “I’m going to take these lessons through life and I’m going to apply them to my ministry, and I feel so much more equipped to serve God on the mission field.”

Investing into ministry

While a goal of Truett-McConnell is to equip those who have been called, whether it be into full time ministry, nursing, in the classroom, or any other occupation, it cannot be done without professors and coaches who are willing to invest into the lives of those who step foot onto campus.

Dennis Allen, an Assistant Professor of Worship and Church Music and a three time Dove Award winner, shared his heart with trustees as he led a brief devotional prior to the start of the business meeting: “As a minister and as a teacher, it doesn’t matter how many years I’ve spent, wherever I’ve spent them or for how long. My job is to watch God at work in [students’] lives and to walk along with them and let some of the experiences I’ve had help them as they’re finding out what God’s will for their life is.”

Recognizing the importance of preparing students for a variety of worship style preferences in their future churches, Allen encourages his students to keep their eyes on what’s important: teaching congregations to live a lifestyle of continual worship: “We sing because we’re at worship. We don’t bring God into the party – He’s the One who called this party together,” Allen said. “He’s the one who initiates and our worship is our response to that.”

Citing Joshua 6 when the Israelites fought the Battle of Jericho as an example, Allen affirmed his previous statements: “The people blew their trumpets in obedience to God – He is the one who has all the power – and He took down the wall.”
“God and God alone does the work,” Allen said, “not because we make music or sing songs.”

Continued growth

Over the last several years, Truett-McConnell has continued to grow. It is evident to those on campus and to those associated with the school that God is the supreme author of this growth – and only He can take the credit, Caner shared.
In the fall of 2014, TMC launched its first ever graduate level program, a Master of Arts in Theology (MAT) program, with 18 students.

This spring, the largest baccalaureate class in school history of 117 will graduate, 31 of those coming from the school’s first ever nursing program.

Realizing the significance of equipping students beyond undergraduate programs, Caner shared how Truett-McConnell plans to teach courses from the MAT program at the First Baptist Church of Alpharetta in fall of 2015. “It’s the perfect place in the Atlanta area to offer courses,” Caner told the trustees. “And just like we blessed our students up here as they began, there is a scholarship with these courses.” With supplements from the Georgia Baptist Convention and Truett-McConnell, MAT students at both locations will spend around $500 dollars per class, a price that allows them to receive their entire master’s degree for around $10,000 dollars.

Caner assured trustees that classes in Alpharetta will be taught by the school’s regular professors who hold to the foundation which the school stands upon.

Referencing the successful Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges visit in the spring, Caner added how Truett-McConnell can now begin the process of moving forward to offer additional master’s programs as they anticipate becoming a university in the coming years.

“With so much going on at Truett McConnell these days, we cannot forget that the providence of God is most important to our campus,” he said. “While new undergraduate and graduate programs are vitally important and new buildings key to our growth, all is a vein unless a new generation of bold believers emerge for a world that so desperately needs to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”


Emily is the Director of Marketing and Communications at TMC.

Photo/Jenny Gregory

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