White FHU Logo
White FHU Logo

Henderson, Tennessee — (March 8, 2024) — More than 100 Freed-Hardeman students volunteered at the Kids Lectureship, which contributed to the success of the university’s 88th annual Bible Lectureship held in February.

Kids Lectureship provides free childcare to guests of FHU. Traditionally hosted by the College of Education, the program expanded this year to include help from the Colleges of Behavioral Science and Bible. Instructor of Education Ashley Estes said the FHU student volunteers were invaluable. 

In addition to helping with registration, cleaning and classroom supervision, student volunteers led activities including games, crafts, Bible storytime, devotionals, Lads to Leaders practice, outside time and lunch for 85-140 kids a day, ranging from newborn to 5th grade, during the five-day lectureship. 

FHU junior Natalie Turner, an education major, said the experience of working with the youth gave her the opportunity to experience her future career as a teacher. “I always enjoy spending time with children in a Christ-centered and fun setting with my peers,” said Turner, who led enrichment activities, connected with the youth through games and led lessons on Biblical topics. “Two lessons I learned from Kids Lectureship are that kids truly enjoy getting to learn and spend time with FHU students. I learned how rewarding it is to spend time with kids and how much we can learn from them.” 

More than 100 Freed-Hardeman students volunteered at the Kid’s Lectureship, which contributed to the success of the university's 88th annual Bible Lectureship held in February.

As a volunteer, Emma Guin, a freshman and special education K-12 major, offered respite for parents with babies and toddlers during lectureship. “I realized how grateful parents were to be able to attend the lectures and church without having to worry about a crying or hungry baby.”

After volunteering at the Kids Lectureship, FHU students actively participated in other aspects of the annual event. From late-night lectures addressing mental health concerns among students to engaging sessions tailored for teenagers and youth ministers, the event offered diverse opportunities for student involvement and growth. Hosted by the University Counseling Center, late-night lectures were held at 10:30 p.m. nightly. Nathan Judd, the director of the UCC, wanted these lectures to focus on normalizing mental health in student conversations.

“I can’t emphasize enough how much I love the students on this campus. People do not realize just how much they are struggling emotionally and how many of them are impacted by traumas. I love the idea of having a series devoted to speaking to them directly. I want them to feel seen, understood, heard and ministered to,” Judd said.

This year’s Bible Lectureship also offered sessions for teenagers and a workshop specifically for past, present and future youth ministers. 

Teen Lectureship, coordinated by Reed Swindle, focused on teaching and encouraging teens with topics related to the main theme (Triumph of the Lamb, the Battle with Evil in Revelation) such as “After Life Questions,” “Types of Literature in the Bible,” “Understanding the Words in Our Songs” and other Revelation-themed topics. The topics were picked to enhance the theme of the week and encourage students to attend other sessions outside of Teen Lectureship. Teen attendance has tripled over the last five years, with this year’s average reaching 145 students in attendance. 

More than 100 Freed-Hardeman students volunteered at the Kid’s Lectureship, which contributed to the success of the university's 88th annual Bible Lectureship held in February.

“I do not want the Teen Lectureship to be separate from the overall program,” Swindle said. “I try to schedule it knowing they are here with their families. We have learned it helps families commit to the lectureship week if there is something of quality for their children. I think we sell our teenagers short and think they want watered-down, cute lessons. But I have realized they really respond well to challenging subjects and enjoy some harder topics.” 

The Youth Minister Workshop, however, serves individuals who interact with these teens. Coordinated by Philip Jenkins, Ben McGreevy and Jon David Schwartz, this workshop seeks to encourage past, present and future youth ministers and helps them grapple with difficult topics. Speakers Lonnie Jones, Chuck Morris and FHU President David R. Shannon gave presentations. Some of the session topics were “How to Handle Conflict,” “Ministering to Kids with Special Needs,” “Discouragement in Ministry” and many others. 

The mission of Freed-Hardeman University is to help students develop their God-given talents for His glory by empowering them with an education that integrates Christian faith, scholarship and service. With locations in Henderson and Memphis, FHU offers associates, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees.