At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the Advancement Office decided that, in addition to writing grants and strategic planning, we would focus on prayer and caring for our University of Mobile alumni, donors and friends. Each team member has spent time in communication with the very people who have faithfully championed our great university.
One team member said, “I spoke with a nurse right before she walked out the door to go to the hospital. Admittedly, she was nervous about COVID-19, and believes our call to her was ordained by God. We prayed together for her protection and asked God to be a light through her as she serves the very sick. She thanked me for our concern and the peace she felt after our prayer.”
Just last night I had a similar conversation with an alumnus in northern Alabama who told me how grateful he was someone was praying for him.
It has been a joy for us to be available to care for those in need during this time. Our biblical mission calls us to love people, and I am grateful for the opportunity we have to minister to those that God has brought us into relationship with through the University of Mobile.
Recently, I participated in a webinar on advancement leadership during COVID-19.
As I listened, the presenter – a highly qualified executive who serves at a large state university – was talking about how advancement and university administrators needed to become encouragers, empathizers and care-givers during this time. He stated this was the “new norm.” I smiled because, as a Christ-centered university, we know that prayer and caring for our UM Family is who we are. Jeremiah 29:12 says “then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” For us, this is not a “new norm,” but an honor to pray for and care for those in need.
I am often asked about my position at the university. Transparently, I pray more than I ever have. I love what I do because of how strongly I believe in the mission of the University of Mobile. It is a privilege to share stories of our students and what God is doing at UM while developing financial resources for the future of this great university.
Advancement is about developing relationships, advancing the university, advancing the calling of our students, advancing the culture for Christ, and advancing His Kingdom. In our current environment, our mission has never been more important.
Dr. Bruce Earnest is vice president in the Office for Advancement. Contact him at email@example.com or 251.442.2587.