Henty Van Der Merwe
APPLIED THEOLOGY, BAT
Why did you choose your major? What interested you in this particular field of study?
I knew that the foundation of being a minister of the gospel is knowing what the Bible taught, so I proceeded to equip myself with knowledge and ministry experience to prepare me for the season ahead.
What did you like about being in this program at CBU?
My professors understood that this course of study was not merely an academic pursuit, but that it was a time of cultivating character and competency for the rest of my life. Not only this, but the professors I learned from could have easily been teaching at the master’s level, but they decided to stay at the undergraduate to create a program that is truly one of a kind.
What did you think about your professors?
The professors are the true gold of this program. These men are godly and pastoral. Although they were heavily invested in my education, they were even more heavily involved in my life. They guided me through seasons of grief and loss and through seasons of change and joy.
Did you complete an internship?
I did, at Redeemer Baptist Church. I enjoyed getting to work with Brandon Burns (also a CBU BAT graduate, now executive pastor at RBC) and serving the high school students. I would meet regularly with Brandon not only about ministry, but also about my life. He has become a mentor and true friend that I will have for the rest of my life. Never thought that I would gain that from an internship. The Lord blessed me immensely through RBC while I was there.
Did you participate in anything else at CBU?
I worked for Residence Life for three years when at CBU. I found that having a work environment that encouraged and provided the opportunity to apply what I was learning in the classroom was an invaluable experience. I would encourage all BAT students to enter into student leadership, not because they have some leadership skills to offer or some knowledge to give, but so that they can learn what it looks like to humbly serve and lay down their lives for their fellow students.
How did you grow (spiritually, socially, educationally) while in this program at CBU?
In every aspect of my life, I was given a compelling vision for what it looked like to be a faithful follower of Christ. As I learned about the faith of my professors, they showed me the worth of being a fruit-bearing Christian and having a true affection for the things of God. I saw my professors interact as a team among themselves and then help us become more adept communicators of our ideas and beliefs. Educationally, this program pushed me to not be satisfied with poor scholarship, but to work unto the Lord. My professors did not accept heartfelt or impassioned work that was lacking in logic and cohesiveness. They taught me to be excellent and clear in my explanations and exegesis, and to find the right times to express my passion for Jesus and the Church.
Did your major help you figure out your purpose?
Yes. The Lord, in his grace, brought this program, these professors and the students to help me discern that the Lord had gifted me for gospel ministry. What made my major fruitful was that coming into it, I committed to becoming a student of my field. I came to learn and to grow, with the hopes of gaining clarity, and out of that, the Lord blessed me with clear direction.
What have you done since graduating?
I have continued my education, I am currently working on a Master of Divinity in Christian Ministry from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I have worked as a student ministry coordinator in Kentucky and I now serve Saddleback Church as an executive assistant.
How has your major and time at CBU prepared you for your life and career after college?
I have walked into every single seminary class at an advantage because of the quality of education I received in the BAT program. It has helped me refine my skills in learning, but most importantly, the BAT program has helped me serve the local church immensely, with faithfulness and with the desire to present the truth of God faithfully and clearly.
Is there anything you learned at CBU that you still use in your professional life
CBU has helped shape every part of who I am as a professional. CBU has helped me learn how to be a good coworker, how to be a part of a team, how to encourage and disciple and lead with conviction and direction. CBU has helped me handle the Word of God correctly, to be a trustworthy counselor among my peers and to serve those who the Lord has placed around me.
How are you making a difference in the world? How are you living your purpose?
That’s a great question. I don’t know how one would measure the difference that they are making in the world, but I know that through the things that I have learned at CBU, some people have come to Christ and some people have grown in their faith. That’s the biggest difference anyone can make, in helping someone else place faith in Christ and be made right with God. I pray that as I can continue to share my faith and life with others, that the Lord would produce good gospel fruit, by which hopefully many will come to know Christ.
Would you recommend CBU to others?
Yes, with no reservations! The BAT program at CBU aims to develop students into faithful ministers of the gospel, not only in the classroom academically, but as people, socially and relationally, and most importantly—as followers of Christ. If any students or potential students would like to contact me about my experience personally, I would love to be able to talk with them and share my experience.