by Bailey Jarnigan

Dr. Holly Haynes, Truett McConnell University’s Dean of The Leonhard Schiemer School of Psychology and Biblical Counseling and Associate Professor of Behavioral Sciences, has relied on God’s enduring grace to direct her throughout life. The result of Haynes’ reliance is a strong local and global ministry which continues to further the Kingdom of God.

Enduring grace
Haynes was born in New York but currently calls Sugar Hill, Ga. her home. She has fond memories of growing up with parents who considered Christ the center of everything and regularly attended First Baptist Church of Atlanta.

“I can remember being in the third grade, and Dr. Stanley was preaching a sermon series on our faith,” recalled Haynes. “My Sunday school teacher was talking about how we would come to an understanding of our faith in Christ, and I can remember really recognizing who God was and understanding that I was forgiven of my sins.”

While in her third grade Sunday school class, Haynes surrendered her life to the Lord. Since then, she has been learning what it means to seek the Lord’s guidance in all aspects of her life.

“I always say my testimony is one of enduring grace,” stated Haynes. “God has really directed my life in a lot of ways from my career, to marriage, to schooling. I’ve learned a lot in that maturing process in Christ.”

Learning to trust in the Lord Haynes studied and received all three of her academic degrees at the prestigious Harvard University.

“I have an undergraduate degree in history and science, my master’s degree has a concentration in risk and prevention, and my doctoral degree is in human development and psychology,” Haynes listed.

Haynes’ original intention was to go into medicine, but in the third year of her undergraduate degree, the Lord changed her plans.

“When I was in my junior year of college, I did not know where I wanted to go,” said Haynes. “I had this career planned, and the Lord changed the direction. It was really a ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding’ moment.”

Upon completion of her master’s degree, Haynes heeded the advice of her advisor and applied for entrance into Harvard’s doctoral program. Surprisingly, her advisor was a member of the committee that approved Haynes’ acceptance.

“I wound up getting a position at Children’s Hospital Boston doing research,” shared Haynes. “I got into the [doctoral] program and stayed in Boston.”

Master’s programs and a marriage
In addition to performing research for the Children’s Hospital Boston, Haynes was on a committee which reviewed the applications of and advocated for students vying for admission into the same program. This is how she first heard of Phillip Haynes, who would become her husband.

“I was sitting on the committee for the Master’s program,” explained Haynes, “and it just so happened that I got to read my future husband’s application ahead of time and advocate for my husband before he was there.”

She continued, “He came to the school, and I remember going up to him at one of the very first meetings we had. I had a leadership position, and I served as an advisor, so his first question to ask me was how to get out of the very program we had just admitted him to.”

Haynes and her future husband remained platonic friends until he moved back to California a year later. At this point they began dating; they were married the following year. Together they have three children: Judah, 13; Jacob, 11; and James, 5.

Fulfilling the Great Commission as a family
“When my husband and I got married, he said he wanted to do four things: travel, be a missionary, build a school and work with the government,” shared Haynes. “We had this vision to use our collective gifts and skills for the Lord.”

Haynes and her husband took the first steps of faith in accomplishing these four things when they began to financially support a mission trip to Rwanda. Haynes’ husband then traveled to Rwanda, as well as to the Congo.

Since that first trip, Phillip Haynes has founded and directs the Crimson Foundation, an organization which strives to educate children all over the world through Crimson Academy schools.

“He goes every year, but now there’s not just a school in Rwanda,” said Haynes. “There’s a school in Tanzania, and they’re building one in Nicaragua. They’ve partnered with pastors in the region, and the schools serve as their church, as well as a training facility.”

Haynes and her husband have instilled a desire in their children to share the Gospel to the very ends of the earth.

“For our children it’s important they understand missions,” explained Haynes. “Our older two go with him sometimes. They are working on a soccer tournament that they have helped Phillip create which will bring people from the schools around.”

The call to teach
Haynes was given the opportunity to teach early on in her career, and has yet to stop imparting knowledge into the minds of her beloved students.

“I started teaching while I was a doctoral student, and I’ve been teaching ever since,” stated Haynes.

Despite the many places Haynes has lived, she has never failed to find a place to put her skillset to use.

“My husband and I got married and moved to California,” Haynes began. “In California I taught, but I also worked for a community development research organization as a project manager.”

She said, “We would assist community organizations that received grants, and we also worked with the California Endowment, which is a large endowing organization. We did the evaluations for them, and taught people how to do their evaluations and write and receive grants.”

Haynes continued: “We moved to Australia and helped a small business from the research and evaluation side. We taught how to know what was happening in the company. When we moved back to Georgia I started teaching again. Then we moved to Gwinnett County where we built that school [Georgia Gwinnett College] from scratch.”

Finding a home at Truett McConnell 
While teaching at Georgia Gwinnett College, Haynes’ high-school principal brought tours of students through her classroom.

After the tour, Haynes’ principal informed her of an open position in Truett McConnell University’s Department of Psychology. Per his request, Haynes visited the North Georgia Mountains and met with President Emir Caner and Vice President of Academic Services Brad Reynolds.

“It took me a minute to submit an application,” confessed Haynes. “I’m a bit of a Gideon when it comes to the Lord’s direction. I asked Him to show me a few things to see if Truett McConnell was right, and I was fortunate to listen to Him in this process.”

Haynes has adjusted well to her role at Truett McConnell University, building a strong reputation both academically with her fellow faculty and relationally with her students.

“I’m a mother at TMU,” stated Haynes. “My official title is Associate Professor of Behavioral Sciences, but I really feel that my role is to help guide students, help them move towards an identity in Christ and help them deepen their faith.”

Haynes is excited to see how the Lord grows TMU’s School of Psychology and Biblical Counseling in the coming years.

“We have been very fortunate in our department to be able to fulfill the mission of Truett McConnell.” Haynes concluded. “I think [now as] a university, it will help us expand the local missions that we do here. We’ll have a bigger reach to fulfill the commission. The university aspect of it will assist with this bigger call we have as an institution.”

Bailey Jarnagin (’17) is a TMU alum.

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