WILLIAMSBURG–Approximately 400 children from the mountains of Eastern Kentucky had their feet washed, had new shoes and socks placed on them, and received backpacks from about 700 volunteers at the University of the Cumberlands on Aug. 25. Around 450 of the volunteers were incoming freshman.
This was the first year that participating in “Shoes 4 the Soul” was mandatory during freshman orientation, and it was the first time the project was overseen by campus ministries. As a result, the event reported at least eight professions of faith.
The freshmen were divided into groups of about 40 and taught by 10 area pastors about the importance of the project in which they were taking part in. The goal was to make the experience “gospel-centered,” Kentucky Baptist Convention campus minister to the University of the Cumberlands Chad Everhart shared.
In each class, an assigned pastor— recruited by South Union/Mount Zion Director of Missions Steven Jett—taught from John 13, covering not just the how, but the significance of Christ washing His disciples’ feet before He was crucified. The ministers emphasized His command to the disciples to do the same, Jett shared.
“He was saying, ‘Become the lowly servant to one another and don’t let anything be beneath you when it comes to serving in order to show your love and be representatives of me,’” Jett said. He added that a major purpose was for students to understand where the idea of foot washing had originated.
“Then we used that as a bridge, the servanthood of Christ, to go to the greatest thing that has happened for us as far as His serving us: His death on the cross and shedding His blood so we might be saved,” Jett said. “It was our hope that as they would hear this, they would be able to share what they had heard.”
Everhart said the students were “very appreciative” of the training. “I think a lot of them were able to learn it in greater depth and really understand why we do this as an institution.”
He added that they were “excited to have pastors, local practitioners in the ministry, teaching them.”
“This was a great way for us as a ministry, as the KBC, to help churches. This was a really good way to get churches engaged in collegiate ministry,” Everhart said. (WR)