As the semester kicks off, there are more than a few new faces on campus. One of them is Erik Gernand, Trevecca’s new University chaplain. To get to know him a little better and find out more about how he plans to lead our campus spiritually, we recently asked him a few questions. Here’s what he had to say!
What excited you about being the University chaplain?
I am excited about serving the pastoral needs of the Trevecca Community. I'm a pastor at heart, so I hope to point that energy at the students, faculty and administration here in ways that will encourage and strengthen the Christian community. I also love the faith exploration process that tends to happen in these years of life, and I'm looking forward to being a resource and a part of that journey with our students.
What did you do before coming to Trevecca?
I've been a full-time pastor for the past 17 years. I started in youth ministry as an intern/volunteer in college, then became the young adult/preaching pastor at Jackson First Church of the Nazarene in Jackson, Mich. We've spent the past 11 years in ministry at Real Life Community in Murfreesboro, Tenn., where I served as the lead pastor.
What fuels your passion as chaplain?
I really believe that being a follower of Jesus is the best, most full way to do life. I want to try to lift up His name and reflect His heart and passion for every person in the Trevecca Community.
What dreams or goals do you have in and for this role?
I think a big part of what drew me to this role is the opportunity to walk with students through a critical season of faith formation. My main goal would be to help shepherd as many as possible through this season of life into a deep sense of personal faith in Christ. As a part of that, I'd like to see students learning the value of belonging and becoming contributing participants in the life of local church congregations, and then graduating with a passion to continue that in the communities where they'll be headed. There's so much to say about philosophy behind and around this work. I think my philosophy is always going to be grounded in the patterns of Jesus. So, love-centered, servant-oriented, incarnationally present, and then just helping to create an inviting, hope-filled culture where everyone can recognize their place in the kingdom of God.
What’s something about your that students might be surprised to learn?
I'm into photography on the side. That's sort of a hobby or side-gig. I love to learn new how to do new things. I could sit in an office by myself with a book for a week and not be bothered by it at all, but I also love to be with people. I'm a huge music lover.