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Good News at Southern Nazarene University Office of Church Relations

MARCH 2016

SNU Sunday Coming April 24th
Celebrating the Covenant Bond between the Church and SNU

The partnership between the South Central Region Church of the Nazarene and its university – Southern Nazarene University – will be celebrated on Sunday, April 24, 2016, which has been designated as this year’s SNU SUNDAY. Hundreds of local congregations across SNU’s four-state educational region will be taking time in their worship service to celebrate their partnership with their university.

They will be viewing this year’s SNU Sunday video, remembering her president, administrators, faculty, staff and students in prayer, and finding creative ways to tell the good news about SNU to those who may not know that, as a member of the Church of the Nazarene, they “own” a university!

SNU Sunday 2016 Video

From its anniversary date of 1908 to the present, the Church of the Nazarene has made Christian higher education a priority. Its system of schools includes 52 colleges, universities and seminaries and each is committed to shaping Christ-like disciples and servant-leaders for lifelong service and global impact.

Above and beyond its financial support of approximately $1.5 million to SNU each year, over 650 local churches on the South Central Region lift Southern Nazarene University in prayer and encourage their young people to look to her for a world-class, Christ-centered education.

With alumni serving in a vast majority of these regional churches, SNU continues to impact – through them – hundreds of communities and thousands of workplaces, classrooms and businesses. Now, that’s something to celebrate!

The SNU Office of Church Relations has provided free, easy to download resources at, including an inspiring video, images to project or print, and even a Sunday School lesson with coloring book!

Whether it’s Sunday, April 24th – selected to coincide with Nazarene College Sunday across the denomination – or another Sunday that is a better fit for your local church calendar – making SNU Sunday an annual tradition in each church on the South Central Region impacts not only the university, but each congregation, through the demonstration and practice of unity and mutual support.

For more information about SNU Sunday, church visits and resources, contact the Office of Church Relations at or (405) 491-6314.

Pastor’s Forum Transcends Boundaries
Live Streaming Provides Access to Regional Clergy

Bishop Timothy J. Clarke, pastor of the First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio, was the guest speaker for the March 7, 2016 "Passionate Preaching" seminar sponsored by the Resource Center for Pastoral Leadership Through the use of live-streaming technology his audience was not limited to the large group who gathered on campus to hear a power-packed presentation.

Pastor's Forum 2016 at SNU

Groups of pastors ranging in size from two or three to dozens gathered at host sites across the four-state educational South Central Region and beyond to be inspired, encouraged and equipped. Many of these Nazarene pastors invited fellow ministers from their community’s Wesleyan-holiness churches to join them in viewing the Forum. Several denominations were represented on campus, as well, from churches across the metropolitan area.

Hosting his inaugural Forum group was Pastor Sam Boyd, who has pastored the Harrison, Arkansas Church of the Nazarene for 20 years. Pastor Sam had previously traveled almost two hours to attend an established group, and – until the host pastor encouraged him to do so – had thought that the ability to view the live-stream might be too complicated or out of reach for his facility.

Pastor Sam stated that, “the set-up was really pretty simple, worked well, and the fellowship was great! The ones nearby didn’t have to travel so far, and I was able to invite a friend who pastors our local United Methodist church.” He added, “it was such a tremendous presentation, and watching it with other pastors made it even more interesting and enjoyable – we are looking forward to hosting the next Forum in October, and I’m planning on inviting even more in our area to join us.”

Reflecting on the March 7th Forum, Dr. Stan Toler, Founding Executive Director of the RCPL at SNU said, “Bishop Clarke is the embodiment of this Forum’s subject – Passionate Preaching – a powerful preacher indeed.”

To learn more about the Resource Center for Pastoral Leadership at SNU, visit

Connecting – Discovering – Growing
PK Retreat at SNU

For almost a decade, the Office of Church Relations at SNU has hosted an annual PK (Pastor’s Kids) Retreat, designed to be a weekend of fun, fellowship and learning more about how much SNU loves PK’s. For Nathan Schauer, a junior Chemistry major at SNU, it was an event he looked forward to each of his years in high school.

Coming from Gun Barrell City, Texas to campus each year Pastor's Kids Retreat 2016 at SNUgave Nathan a chance to meet teens from across the South Central Region who, like him, often felt a sense of isolation and scrutiny, because of their parents’ roles in the church and community. Nathan shared that, “when you have that perception that people expect you to be ‘perfect’ then you begin to feel alone.” “Coming to PK Retreat during my years in high school showed me that other PK’s often felt the same way, and we instantly had so much in common.”

Although the size of the group varies from year to year, the weekend always features a special speaker who encourages them in their spiritual walk, as well as times of games and attendance at campus events. A special connection comes with PK’s who are current students at SNU serving as hosts and mentors at each retreat.

For Nathan, it solidified his plans to attend SNU. “I always knew this was the place I belonged,” said Nathan, “but coming to campus for the PK Retreat offered me a chance to stay in the dorm and learn more about classes and majors.” For this future pharmacist, whose goal is to earn the Doctor of Pharmacy degree and serve wherever God leads him, the retreat was an important time in his teen years and now he serves each year as a student host. “I’d recommend it for every PK,” said Nathan, “because it’s a lot of fun and you find out you’re really not alone.”

To learn more about PK Retreat visit or contact Tollya Spindle in the Office of Church Relations at SNU at

Giving Back Is “Par for the Course”
Grad Serves as Golf Chaplain

When Jason Smith came to SNU as a freshman in 1998, his focus was on playing golf, having received a scholarship offer from then coach Steve Hulsey. In a recent Chapel service, Smith spoke to a packed crowd about his story, his calling and his passion for serving students.

Jason Smith - Pastor OKC First Church of the NazareneComing from a small town in eastern Oregon, Smith shared with the students about his struggle to adjust to college life and the journey he took from a focus on golf to answering a call to ministry. Smith, who currently serves as Associate Pastor at Oklahoma City First Church of the Nazarene, was part of the Ministerial Intern Scholarship program at SNU and, during his years at SNU, served internships at OKC Lake View Park Nazarene and Oklahoma City First.

Following his graduation from SNU in 2002, he continued in his studies to earn the Master of Ministry degree, also from SNU, in 2004. Through the years, Smith stayed in contact with Coach Hulsey and the teams, supporting and encouraging players and participating in fundraisers, and when a fellow former player, Derrick Taylor, was named Head Coach at SNU, Smith readily accepted the offer to serve as Chaplain and cheerleader – assisting wherever needed, and traveling with the team.

In his Chapel message, he urged the students to recognize that the seemingly ‘random’ events of life are not at all unordered, but God at work in their lives. To illustrate this point, Smith chipped Wiffle balls into the audience, watching them randomly land among the students. He challenged them to understand that God is for them and will go with them and urged them to respond to that love with devotion and commitment to serve Him.

About serving as Chaplain for the teams, Smith said, “I just love it!” “Being around the players gives me the opportunity to, in effect, pastor them.” “I try to be a person they can depend on to pray for them and with them – to talk about their questions about God and life and relationships, especially those who come to SNU without any faith background.” Golf Team Group at SNU 2016

Smith’s commitment to SNU is in addition to his many duties at OKC First Nazarene, as well as his busy family life. Rev. Smith’s wife, Katie (Farmer) Smith, also an SNU graduate, keeps a busy practice as a physician (OB-GYN) at OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City, and they have two daughters, McCall (8) and Berkley (3).

To listen to Rev. Smith’s February 11, 2016 Chapel message, visit To learn more about the Golf programs at SNU visit

Our Nazarene Heritage
Founded in 1899, Southern Nazarene University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university - a service of the Church of the Nazarene. Located on a 40-acre campus just west of Oklahoma City, SNU grew out of several small colleges committed to training people for lives of service to God, leadership, and reconciliation toward their neighbors and within the global community. More than 32,000 alumni work and serve throughout the United States and the world. Read About Our Heritage

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