By Scott Sienkiewicz and Norm Miller
CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMCNews) – "At Truett-McConnell College, missions is not merely something that the administration is endorsing; it is something they are doing."
That's how Jeff Chandler sees TMC, and why he is pleased his daughter, Madison, attends the Cleveland, Ga., school.
Madison Chandler is one of 65 dependents of Georgia Baptist ministers attending TMC.
"We are big on missions in my church and in my family," said Chandler, pastor of South Crest Church, Newnan, Ga. Though Madison's enrolling at TMC was a family decision, Jeff Chandler told TMCNews that the college's commitment to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ was a significant factor.
Like her father Jeff, Madison appreciates and identifies with TMC's Christian worldview, saying the college is a "community that looks to go out."
Freshman Jacob Spencer – son of Georgia Baptist Convention President, Dan Spencer – echoes Madison's observations: "The missions program here is important because of the leadership we have, and everyone's heart to do missions is so strong. ... There's a real yearning for missions here and everybody's heart is in the right place to equip students to go."
Called to be a missionary in the seventh grade, Spencer believes that TMC's emphasis on missions is "an answer to a lot of people's prayers that this generation would rise up and take heed to God's call to go and make disciples. I think [Truett-McConnell] does a great job of that through equipping each student with what they need to take missions into whatever [career they choose]."
"Having the Great Commissions minor really says something about the heart of the school," said Dan Spencer, noting that he remains "impressed" by Truett-McConnell President Emir Caner's vision and commitment to missions.
The pastor of First Baptist Church, Thomasville, Ga., said he wanted his son Jacob at TMC not only because of Caner's vision, but also because of the school's commitment as a distinctively Baptist institution.
"I'm not a student there," Dan Spencer said. "But I feel like I am a part of it because my son is so excited about Truett-McConnell."
Ashlyn Williams -- a transfer student from a Baptist university in another state – cited the "spiritual emphasis" at TMC as "overwhelmingly" evident among the students and faculty, adding, "Even the atmosphere reflects the fact that it is a Baptist school." Williams is the daughter of Evangelist Tim Williams and the granddaughter of Jerry Vines, evangelist and former SBC president.
"Truett feels like home," said freshman Buddy Camp, whose father Rudy is pastor of Union Baptist Church, Winder, Ga. "It doesn't feel like you're being thrown into this crazy chaos of how some people think college is. It's just like being at home -- like you're meant to be here."
Scott Sienkiewicz is a writer for Truett-McConnell College, where Norm Miller is director of communication.