March 22, 2016
The Baptist Student Union has experienced changes in leadership this semester with both a new Director and Associate Director. In January, former Associate Director Mandy Phillips was officially named Director. Then, on Feb. 22, MC graduate Ryan Bain worked his first day as the associate director.
Phillips had previously served as Associate Director beginning in October 2014 until her time as the interim Director from October 2015 until January 2016. Phillips has had a 16-year-long career in collegiate ministry that has had her crisscrossing the country. Before returning to her home state of Mississippi to work at MC, Phillips worked in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Rhode Island, and Louisiana.
Phillips’ first exposure to college ministry came right after she finished her bachelor’s degree at William Carey University in Hattiesburg. She was the associate director for their BSU for a year before going to the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to get her Masters of Divinity degree. While there, she ministered to nursing and medical students.
When she graduated from seminary, Phillips moved to Providence, R.I. There, she was a North American Missions Board missionary and worked on staff at a church plant. She said she was able to make many campus relationships with students at Brown University. She recalled helping one particular student become a Christian, which was a difficult thing because of the anti-Christian nature of the school.
From there, Phillips was recommended by a mentor for a job at Louisiana State University. She served for five years at the Baptist Collegiate Ministry there. And then, in 2011, she was recommended for the associate director position at the University of Tennessee.
In 2013 Phillips got engaged. Her fiancé was working in Pennsylvania at the time, so she moved there and got a job at Penn State.
In 2014, Phillips and her husband were “sensing that God was doing something, about to move us, but we didn’t know why.” They ended up moving back to Mississippi, where Phillips applied to the BSU position at Mississippi College that had opened up right about the time they moved. She went to her first interview, and about three hours later, checked into the hospital for the birth of their son.
Phillips said the students she’s encountered at Mississippi College have been different in several ways from the ones she’s ministered to at other schools. “I’ve seen some of the strongest leaders here,” she said. Also, she’s noticed “some of the most willing servants I’ve ever seen. They understand no task is too small and somebody has to set up sound and lug water coolers and somehow that can point to the glory of God.”
Some people have said to Phillips, “You realized you’ve worked with some of the best ministries in the country.” She responds, “That’s only the Lord.”
Ryan Bain brings another unique set of experiences to his new position as the Associate BSU Director. He graduated with a bachelors in Christian Studies from Mississippi College in 2014. After graduating, he interned at the Louisiana State University’s Shreveport campus BSU. He then began seminary at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Cordova, Tenn. Bain also interned at the BSU at Northwest Mississippi Community College for a semester. After his first semester there, Bain made the move back to MC, and will continue to serve here while taking seminary classes online.
-Will Hawks, Contributing Writer
this article appeared in Vol. 97, Issue 10 of The Mississippi Collegian