“I am amazed at how God has moved in my life since I came to Lipscomb; I never would have dreamed that I would be where I am now.” These are the words of the latest addition to our team, our new Missions Coordinator, the one and only Josh Self! Josh has been heavily involved in our program and in the Lipscomb community since he started school in 2010, including leading a trip to Panama City Beach, serving on our Student Government Association, and working closely with students through his job with Campus Ministry, but never did he imagine that this position as a staff member to Lipscomb Missions would be what God would have in store for him.
Josh, native to Jackson, TN, first came onto Lipscomb’s campus as a middle schooler to participate in Impact, an annual summer event for middle and high schoolers, and he quickly became enamored with the community atmosphere and feel of Lipscomb. After participating in Impact for several summers, he decided as a junior in high school that undoubtedly Lipscomb was the school for him.
He began school on the Pre-Med track, double-majoring in Biology and Spanish with the intention of going to medical school after he graduated, but around his sophomore year, he began to question whether or not this was indeed what God was calling him into. “I joined the Honduras team my junior year, really questioning where my passions lie, praying that God would reveal to me if I was truly passionate about medicine or if I was meant to do something else,” he said. “We got to Honduras, and the leader of the trip told me that they were one interpreter short, asking if I would step in and interpret. I had been taking Spanish classes for most of life and agreed without hesitation. After a few days of solely interpreting, I was asked to come out of the intake tent to step more into a medical position and found myself feeling disappointed. I wanted to be with the people, talking with them and building relationship with them through interpreting for them. I knew that this was how God was answering my prayer.”
After having this experience in Honduras, Josh felt sure that he was being called into some sort of pastoral ministry, but was unsure of what that could exactly look like. He continued his pursuit of his Biology degree, and he also continued serving by leading the all-guys mission team to Panama City Beach before graduating in 2014, unsure of exactly what to do next. “After I graduated, I had a year of knowing what God was calling me to, but just feeling really afraid of it. I ran away from it, trying a million different things, and all along I could hear God asking, ‘why are you running away?’ So a year after I graduated with my undergraduate degree, I jumped feet first into the Masters of Divinity program at Lipscomb. Everything that I am learning in the program is fresh and exciting to me, confirming that this is what God intended for me all along.”
It was in the midst of pursuing his master’s degree that this position for Missions Coordinator opened up, which Josh found to be too sweet of an opportunity to pass up. After the application process and a rigorous few weeks of interviewing, it was apparent to all who were part of the selection that Josh was the perfect fit for the job. “Josh’s background with Lipscomb Missions as both a student and team leader allows him to bring significant experience to us as our new Missions Coordinator,” Mark Jent, Director of Missions, said. “With him pursuing his M.Div, he brings educational diversity to our staff while also being very familiar with campus, and it is not ironic in the least bit that he once was on the Pre-Med track and will now be coordinating all of our medical mission trips. God’s hand was in it all along, and we are so excited to have Josh as the new member of our team!”
When asked, Josh says that he most looks forward to working with the students on campus, building relationships with them and watching them discover their passions and talents while serving on mission. Jackson Smith, recent Lipscomb graduate and former SGA President, is a testament to how Josh pours into students on campus and evidence of the work he will do as our new coordinator. “Josh has been one of the people who has had the most influence on me over my last four years at Lipscomb, hands down!” Jackson said. “He started off as my Joshua Project mentor when I was a freshman, but since then we had the opportunity to work together through SGA, Tau Phi, Campus Ministry, and our trip to Panama City that we led together. After seeing Josh lead in PCB, I know that he is going to thrive in this new position. I am so excited to see what God has in store for him through Lipscomb Missions.”
We share that same excitement in welcoming Josh into our Lipscomb Missions family, knowing that he will have a profound impact on students, team leaders, and host partners alike, and we look forward to seeing God move in fresh ways. Welcome aboard, Josh!