Meet the Spiritual Formation Core Leadership Team

This semester, we have shifted our focus away from the programs and onto the leaders, which has adjusted the overall vision of Spiritual Formation within Lipscomb Athletics.

The Spiritual Formation Core Leadership Team consists of 10 student-athletes who we have empowered to help lead and advocate for various Spiritual Formation programs, both on-campus and off. Through this role, student-athletes are able to pursue areas of passion, while walking alongside and encouraging their peers to participate in opportunities to serve, live on mission and ultimately live into the greater story God is calling us to. We have witnessed the Spirit of God moving, and through this authentic discipleship model, we have seen students grow in leadership and community, as well as grow in their relationship with The Lord.


ryan speer “My hope is to encourage guys through their faith journey by coming alongside them, to pray for them, and actively see their faith being played out in their lives. Being in a group of guys that holds each other accountable by getting in the word and praying for each other has been extremely beneficial.” Ryan Speer


audrey ann beck “I am currently preparing to help lead a mission trip, because after experiencing my first trip, I know God is calling me towards missions. I want to grow, not only internationally, but learning and challenging others to be mission-minded in everyday life.” Audrey Ann Beck


olivia doak “Being a core leader has changed my college experience by opening up opportunities to step into the talents and gifts that God has given me. It has allowed me to gain amazing community with people who are passionate about Jesus, but also who have different talents that show me different parts of God’s heart.” Olivia Doak


jenna pealor “As a senior, looking back on my past three years, I have desired a community like this core leadership team. I have desired being around those who simply aren’t satisfied and want more. Being a core leader has ignited a fire in my soul to dig deep and run toward the Father in order to encourage, lead, grow, and walk with my sisters in Christ.” Jenna Pealor


jared peters “Being a core leader has helped me be more intentional about my faith. I have built consistency into my schedule to develop relationships and I hope that I can help others build consistency in areas they are passionate about as well.” Jared Peters


caroline wasserman “I consider the core leadership team my family. Through this experience, I have had the chance to live more fully into my calling of serving others and has better prepared me for my future vocation in ministry.” Caroline Wasserman


a53f662d-577a-4fa8-98ad-9fea3792b4ef “The best part of being a core leader is getting to do something I love and walking closely alongside my friends getting to do things that they love. I have found a group of people that I totally trust to take care of my heart and who will push me to be more like Jesus every day.” Hannah Hutcheson


john green “The best part of being a core leader has been seeing the group of students that frequently come to FCA and how there is a real connection between everyone beyond simply hanging out on Tuesday nights.” John Green


pari manoogian “I am most passionate about the Lord’s work being done at Carter Lawrence through Sports Fun Club. Carter Lawrence has already and continues to shape my spiritual growth at Lipscomb, and it is evidence that God has a great plan for me in advancing the Kingdom through this role!” Pari Manoogian

Lives Forever Changed in the Dominican Republic

If you asked me one year ago what I would be doing over Christmas break in 2018, I never would have told you that I would be in the Dominican Republic spreading the word of God. That is because I was not in the same place spiritually a year ago that I am today. Sometimes, God works in ways that we have no way of predicting, but I am forever thankful that He made it possible for me to travel to the Dominican Republic with my incredible teammates and coaches.


Over the course of the week that we were in the DR, I saw God work in so many different ways. On the first day of being in Bobita, I was introduced to some of the kids at the children’s home, and I have to admit that I was nervous at first. I’ve never considered myself ‘good with kids,’ and of course there was the language barrier. A few of the girls spoke some English, but they obviously preferred their native language of Spanish. We were forced to use our limited knowledge of Spanish to communicate, and this led to a lot of confusion when trying to learn new games (a group of us ended up playing a lot of UNO because it was something that we all understood how to play no matter what language was being spoken.) We continued to spend a lot of time playing at the children’s home and spending time with the kids. I watched some of our guys get challenged by the Dominicans to numerous games of basketball, and it was amusing to witness how there is no language barrier to competitiveness. On one of the days, we all loaded onto an open-air bus and took the kids from the children’s home to a nearby river. Again, I found myself playing some games in which I had no clue as to what I was supposed to be doing. However, I wouldn’t trade the resulting smiles, laughter, and soaked clothing for anything.


Among the memories made on the trip, the highlight for me came on our next to last day. It will forever be a significant day in my life because it was the day that I decided to commit my life to Christ. I had never been baptized before. Growing up, my parents agreed that they would let me decide when I felt I was ready to be baptized. It was a decision that I had been thinking about since starting school at Lipscomb, but I felt that I truly knew what God’s work looked like and what it really means to be a Christian after just a few days on this trip. I saw this through the pure joy of the children I met, and I also witnessed this through the testimonies given by some of the students of Manna. But one of the students that influenced me the most was a twenty-year-old girl named Edily. Upon meeting her, she had a smile on her face, and that smile never seemed to disappear. She was always looking out for me and making me laugh, and she even offered to help me practice my Spanish. Edily also showed me what courage looks like when she told her testimony. I was reminded that you never know the pain that someone has experienced. Because of all of this, I decided to ask Edily to baptize me the day we were planning on going to the beach. She was shocked but honored. I woke up the morning after asking her and she had a list of questions for me to answer regarding my baptism. I answered them with ease, and I knew the timing of my decision was right. On January 3, 2019, I was baptized by Edily in the ocean while I was surrounded by my new American and Dominican brothers and sisters in Christ.


Although being baptized was my favorite memory, there were so many other moments that I will never forget. We sang common American worships songs in Spanish during church service. We experienced Dominican life during community day when we split into groups to eat lunch in a Dominican home. We hosted a movie night for the kids of the neighborhood, and I became attached to a young girl who wouldn’t leave my side. We hosted VBS on Manna’s grounds for these same children. I watched my teammates go out of their comfort zones by putting on a skit of Daniel in the Lion’s Den just to make these kids laugh. We went on a scavenger hunt through Rio San Juan, swam in a lagoon, deep-cleaned the campus, and toured the classrooms where Manna’s students learn. All of these activities gave us the opportunity to grow in our faith and friendships with the Dominicans and each other.


If you ask me today what I will be doing on my next Christmas break, I will say that I will be hopefully reconnecting with my brothers and sisters in Christ from the Dominican Republic. I saw happiness that I rarely see in the United States, and I will always wonder if an American child would be as relentless with fixing a broken Rubik’s cube as a young Dominican boy is. Two days post-trip and I am sad that I no longer get to see my new friends, but for this I know that God has worked through both me and my fellow teammates.

img_8769 Written by Hanna Anderson