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Ministry as a Lifestyle

After 25 years of ministry, Terri Adams unexpectedly found herself fulfilling her desire to help guide youth with her position at MBU, while also providing new opportunities for her family.

Photo by Ben Randolph

Terri Adams sitting in her office in the Dale Williams Fine Arts Center, where students always know there is an open door and a familiar face welcoming them with a smile.

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Balancing full-time ministry and a desire to be the best wife and mother she could be, a smiling St. Louis native hangs out in a dimly lit office that feels more like a coffee alcove than a workspace, a comfortable place where she unexpectedly found herself fulfilling a desire to help youth.

Terri Adams, director of special events, never had aspirations to enter higher education, but in 2004 when she felt she was called out of ministry at Young Life, an outreach program to high schools, she found an online job listing for a position at Missouri Baptist University.

“I was struggling with God saying, ‘I don’t want to have to go sit in an office, be with a lot of people and be away from ministry and youth.’ I was worried about who I was going to work for,” Adams said, adding she sent in her resume, and “it just fell into place. I felt like God, in this office, was kind of giggling like, ‘I got you, I am here for you.’”

Now she can look back at a 10-year career and say that working in higher education is not what she expected, but it’s more than she envisioned.

“I think it’s a little different in that I feel there is more responsibility. It is protecting the mission and core values of the university. You’re not just putting dates on a calendar and sending contracts,” said Adams.

Adams, a multi-sport athlete at Webster Groves High School, had a teenage dream of finding a job combining her love for sports with broadcast and design.

“I always loved ‘Wide World of Sports,’” Adams said, referring to the legendary ABC television series broadcasting sports every Saturday for 37 years. “I loved their videos so I envisioned being kind of like a sports commentator but also designing those video montages and creating stories with videos.”

She continued on a path of broadcast at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, where she double-majored in public relations and communications and was a radio DJ for the on-campus radio station. But after graduation she left broadcasting.

Adams now shares an office with Brittany Gammon, an MBU communications graduate and special events assistant, and uses her experience to mentor her while they coordinate events together.

Some events Adams and Gammon have coordinated together include national dance competitions, non-profit dinners and many MBU fine arts performances.

“She is an expert in her field. Experience brings wisdom and insight that nothing else can,” Gammon said in an email. “She is a Christian, she is my boss and she is a treasured friend.”

The warmth Adams brings to the university is driven by her faith in Christ and the advice she has heard from Jack Miller, who was a pastor, author and professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

“Jack Miller talked about how we are sons and daughters of the King, which really gave me a real solid view of how to live. It just fixes everything with that perception,” said Adams.

Another strong positive influence for Adams was Jim Rayburn, founder of Young Life, who focused on the concept of earning the right to be heard, which stuck with Adams and taught her to care about people before sharing her faith with them, and certainly before trying to tell them what to do.

Using those lessons and the experience she has gained through her career, she now uses her position to influence campus community, mentor those around her and fulfill her desire to minister youth on campus.

With experience behind her, Adams is aligning her future with her family.

“I’m in the thick of it with my kids. I just love going to their games and hanging out with them,” said Adams. “I really just want to be a supportive wife, mom and grandmother.”

Adams has five children, ages 16, 20, two 24-year-old twins and 26. In fact, one daughter, Kalie Adams, works as senior admissions counselor and campus visit coordinator in the Admissions Department at MBU.

“Oh my mother, she loves her kids,” said Kalie Adams. “We have a group chat with my parents and all of the siblings that’s called: ‘Mom’s Favorite Convo.’ She loves it. She’s the only one ever texting in it – just kidding, but she does love that group chat.”

Her husband, David Adams, who goes by Herm, is a graduate of Lehigh University and has a master’s of divinity from Covenant Seminary. He owns his own business in finding solutions for other companies, like packaging supplies, 3D printing and shipping solutions.

When she is away from the university, Adams enjoys spending her free time with her family, being in the outdoors and binge watching shows.

“I love binge watching shows, like everybody. Not a very good hobby, but I’m good at it,” said Adams.

After 25 years of ministering students through Young Life, Adams found the solution to being the mother and wife she wanted to be while continuing to fulfill her passion to help youth, and she found it at MBU.

“This is definitely a calling and a ministry. That is why I giggle,” said Adams. “Christian higher ed is a ministry. Anyone who works or teaches here could be doing this elsewhere for more money. So every opportunity is serving Him, and trying to have Him be known in His love.”

MBU has only been a single chapter of Adams’ life of ministry, and she has spent over 30 years of her life enlightening the lives of those around her.

“MBU has given our family many opportunities. Opportunities that may not have been possible without MBU. … God’s timing is so good,” said Kalie Adams. “Our family is beyond thankful for MBU.”

 

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Ben Randolph

Ben Randolph

Ben Randolph is a staff journalist for MBU Timeline. Randolph is a student-athlete, studying public relations and starting for the Spartans soccer team. The St. Louis native loves to use his free time traveling whenever he can, watching movies and spending time with family and friends.

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