-Megan Cole, Reporter
Wayne VanHorn is one of Mississippi College’s most accomplished faculty members. Dean, professor, sponsor, pastor, and writer—VanHorn is a man of many titles, and he works to excel in every role he takes on.
Greatly involved in MC’s faculty and student body, VanHorn is truly a large part of what makes up the MC family. He makes an impact on campus as the dean of Christian Studies & the Arts and as a Christian Studies professor. VanHorn is in charge of four of MC’s academic departments including Art, Music, Communications, and Christian Studies & Philosophy.
“Our vision statement says MC seeks to be a university recognized for the academic excellence and commitment to the cause of Christ,” VanHorn explained. “The latter part is just as important to me as the first part.”
As a dean of academic affairs, pastor, and professor, VanHorn believes that a student’s success includes a powerful combination of both spiritual and academic growth.
“I want to know that when those students get their degree we’ve done everything we know how to do to position them to be close to the Lord Jesus,” he said.
As a professor, he teaches a plethora of classes ranging from introduction Bible classes to ministry preparation and intensive studies of the Bible.
Other classes include more Bible related topics, such as the Hebrew language and other culture studies of Biblical times. One of his classes, Geography and Culture of Biblical Lands (BIB440), allows VanHorn to spread his great love for travel with students, specifically travel to the Holy lands. VanHorn will bring students in this class on an excursion to Israel during Spring Break of 2015. As an avid traveller, VanHorn has explored all of continental Europe and visited all of the Holy Lands with the exception of Turkey.
When VanHorn isn’t swimming the Dead Sea with students, he’s connecting with them in other ways, like serving as a sponsor for both Shawreth Men’s Club and the bass fishing team.
Outside of MC, VanHorn serves as the interim pastor for First Baptist Florence. He also speaks at annual statewide preaching conferences and works on annual doctorate studies for pastors across the state of Mississippi. Through these different opportunities he reaches the laypeople of churches and pastors state-wide.
“I get to use my Bible training to help a wide variety of people,” VanHorn further explained.
VanHorn also uses his Bible training in the art of written communication. VanHorn’s work has been published by the Colombian Progress, The Clarion Ledger, and the Baptist Record newspapers. In addition to his journalism, VanHorn has published over one million words with LifeWay in the form of Bible studies and commentaries found in Biblical Illustrator, Bible Studies For Life, and Explore the Bible curriculum.
“I like to write, and I encourage my students to write,” VanHorn shared. Whenever students show an interest in the written word, this professor takes the opportunity to guide his students in the art by discussing the opportunities and value of the hobby with them. In some cases, he has arranged for students’ work to be published in well-established papers like the Baptist Record.
Despite VanHorn’s busy life, he finds plenty of time to spend on his favorite hobbies: photography, Facebook, reading, and fishing. VanHorn tries to live life to the fullest and spend his free time wisely. Whether he’s posting on Facebook, taking photographs of nature, or digging deeply into the word of God, there is never a wasted moment.
Many of VanHorn’s Facebook endeavors are aimed at reaching his students and others spiritually through messages from the Bible. His influence as a professor is increased through the social network where everyone is easily connected.
One of VanHorn’s favorite things about teaching is getting to see his students live out God’s plan for their lives. “You get to be a part of a student’s life and watch them go off to seminary. Many of them end up in the mission field, preaching, or teaching somewhere. It’s exciting to see where students go and how God’s plan for them develops.”
MC has benefitted from VanHorn’s heart for students and love for the cause of Christ for 10 years. “Ultimately, I’d really like my students to feel closer to God and humbled to serve him by the time they walk that platform for their degree.”