Alumna plans to minister, inspire

Jena Coulson bubbles over with excitement when she says she wants to teach people everything she knows about Jesus.

The senior mass communication/journalism major will have plenty of opportunity to do so when she assumes her new post as the university’s campus missionary for the 2009-2010 school year.

A campus missionary in Texas serves on staff with his or her school’s Baptist Student Ministry, doing everything from building relationships with students and leading mission trips to filling out paperwork and writing reports. The goal is to bring ministry out of BSM buildings and into the midst of students on campus.

“It is one of the most humbling experiences ever,” Coulson said.

She first became aware of the position of campus missionary when a friend expressed interest in applying.

“I looked into it just to understand where she was coming from; because I had no desire to do that,” Coulson said. “I wanted to make money.”

That changed as she became increasingly involved with the BSM and went on a two-week mission trip to New York City during her junior year’s Christmas vacation.

“I learned a lot, and it grew me,” she said.

After co-directing the 2008 Missions Emphasis Week, Coulson felt drawn toward missions and decided to apply to be a campus missionary in Texas.

“I really thought, ‘OK, God, I’m going to do this for you,’” she said.

Coulson underwent an extensive application process that included interviews with local and state missions personnel before being selected as a Texas campus missionary. She and other accepted applicants were then assigned to schools based on recommendations by the state office of Go Now Missions and the Center for Collegiate Ministry.

Director of Baptist Student Ministries, Shawn Shannon, believes Coulson will be an effective campus missionary and appreciates her dedication and positive attitude.

“I admire how she fulfills her responsibilities and accepts necessary inconveniences,” Shannon said. “She embraces her opportunities and brings to them positiveness, which is very refreshing.”

Shannon believes campus missionaries must be proficient at dividing their time between building relationships with people and accomplishing tasks, a quality she sees in Coulson.

“When I have described being able to balance relationships and being on mission, she does so well at that,” Shannon said. “She can get things done and bring people along while she does it.”

Senior education major Amanda Jane Foss has been friends with Coulson since their freshman year and believes Coulson has found the right place to serve.

“I think she is very qualified and well placed,” Foss said. “She definitely has a heart for people and missions.”

Foss echoes Shannon in praising Coulson’s commitment.

“She is very, very dedicated to whatever task she takes on and really gives it her all,” Foss said.

Coulson, who dreams of coordinating missions for college students, is ready to spend the next year on campus glorifying the name of Christ.

“He’s our hope, and He’s so much more than we ever thought He could be,” she said. “I’m excited to get started.”

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