Couple opens doors to ministry through Divinity scholarship

Colon and Johnnie Jackson are two very special members of the Campbell Divinity School community. They are faithful donors who contribute both financially and spiritually to the recipients of their scholarship.

On the side of their refrigerator, Colon and Johnnie keep pictures of the students who receive their scholarship. They do so as a reminder to pray for these students as they continue the journey of ministry and graduate theological education.

Colon served as a Navy chaplain for 25 years. He enjoyed being a chaplain and claims that it was the most enjoyable experience of his life. He had the opportunity to work with naval officers as well as young people who were enlisted in the Navy. He had a great career and was very passionate about his work and counseling those whom he encountered.

Once he retired from the Navy, God continued to open doors for Colon to further his ministry. He completed multiple degrees and went into pastoral ministry. He has pastored and served as interim pastor in several churches.

“We think that helping others complete the Campbell experience is our way of planting seeds in the world. These students will be light in the darkness as they complete their life in ministry.”

Colon was able to use his experience to teach education and psychology courses at Campbell University. By serving as a marital counselor, he has also been able to continue to pursue his passion for counseling. In the same way, Johnnie also shares a passion for counseling.

Johnnie graduated from Campbell Divinity School with a Master of Arts in Christian Education in 2006. She is a Licensed Nutrition Counselor and a Registered Dietician. She was able to combine her work as a dietician with the theological education she received from Divinity School.

Her medical background allowed her to do private practice with Blue Cross Blue Shield. During her work as a registered dietician and counselor, Johnnie was able to relate to women and in some instances, she was able to not only offer advice for physical healing but to also offer advice for spiritual healing.

Through Johnnie’s counseling, women with dietary issues often discovered that there were deeper issues at the root of their health problems. Johnnie was able to refer these people to counselors with a Christian worldview.

The education she received from Campbell Divinity School has enhanced her counseling ministry and allowed her to live into and explore the gifts that God has given her.

While Colon was pastoring, he and Johnnie were able to do ministry together by providing pastoral care and counseling to congregants. Seeing that this is a passion and area of giftedness for both of them, they felt drawn to do something more.

When they established their scholarship with Campbell Divinity School, they did so with the hope that their scholarship would prepare counselors to help people through life’s crises with a Christian worldview.

As ministers and counselors, Colon and Johnnie have been able to support each other and understand the joys and challenges that come with ministry and counseling. They wanted to help students at Campbell Divinity School experience the same type of support and understanding.

When asked why they give to Campbell Divinity School, Colon and Johnnie offered this heartfelt response: “We see the difference the Campbell experience has made in the lives of many, including ourselves and our children.

“We think that helping others complete the Campbell experience is our way of planting seeds in the world. These students will be light in the darkness as they complete their life in ministry. And, I think, as much as we hear ‘Christ-Centered, Bible-Based, and Ministry-Focused,’ it will be difficult for them to not keep that mission statement central in their life and career.

“A Campbell Divinity scholarship helps students from all walks of life and all ages. We’ve had recipients fresh out of undergrad as well as older students whose call to ministry was solidified in a second career. A person’s call most often evolves over time as God opens doors that lead them to a place of ministry. These scholarships are a small part of helping to open those doors to fulfill someone’s call to ministry.”

Colon and Johnnie have certainly played a meaningful role in opening doors for students pursuing their call to ministry. Their passion for education, ministry, counseling and their investment in the lives of students is making an invaluable impact on the Campbell Divinity School community.

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