By Tessa Short
Senior Lauren Dickerson has impacted Campus Ministries through her leadership, connection and talents during her four years at Bluffton University. Dickerson started her involvement by leading worship during Chapel and from there brewed excitement for her later roles.
Dickerson grew up leading worship at her home church, Silverwood Mennonite Church in Goshen, Ind.
Campus Pastor Stephen Intagliata asked Dickerson as a freshman to lead worship for Chapel. Dickerson said she felt this was a good way to use her gifts at Bluffton. Dickerson then expanded her role by accepting the Chapel Coordinator position for her sophomore and junior years. She has continued to be on the worship team for the rest of her time at the university.
By her sophomore year, Dickerson was also a ministry assistant, then called a hall chaplain, conducting spiritually enriching activities for third floor Ramseyer. She then became a pastoral assistant for Intagliata for her junior and senior years.
“Lauren has been an asset and a blessing to Campus Ministries in her role as ministry assistant and now pastoral assistant,” Intagliata said. “She has much to give others and contributes to a positive spiritual climate on campus because she has an authentic faith that is rooted in a deep, honest and growing relationship with God.”
Dickerson said her role has also enriched other areas of her life, like her social work major and her relationships with other students.
“I feel like Campus Ministries makes me a better social worker because it helps me hear people’s stories and understand where they are coming from,” she said. “I like getting to know people that I wouldn’t have gotten to know otherwise, like the ministry team. I enjoy their constant support.”
In addition to the meaningful relationships Dickerson has nurtured with other students, she has benefited from working closely with Intagliata. She has known him for eight years, dating back to high school when she met Intagliata at Camp Friedenswald in Cassopolis, Mich. Dickerson said Intagliata is not only the campus pastor and her boss, but her friend and mentor. Knowing him for that long, Dickerson said she has enjoyed getting to see different sides of Intagliata that other people may not normally see.
“I think that I spend enough time with Tig that I see all his moods,” Dickerson said. “When he gets at the end of his rope, he gets hilarious instead of angry. Funny things tend to happen.”
For Dickerson, it’s all about relationships, Bible studies, Taco Bell runs and cat videos. She said Campus Ministries events are not only Bible studies. Rather, they are times to grow and support one another.
“I learned how important relationships are,” She said. “People are much more likely to listen to what I have to say if I’ve loved them for who they are first.”