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BGAV Ministerial Scholarship Recipient: Stephanie Van Leeuwen

Posted: 6/4/19 at 2:30pm.

Stephanie Van Leeuwen is a member of Freemason Street Baptist Church (FSBC) in Norfolk, VA. She was a student at Baptist Seminary at Richmond (BTSR) until it closed in January, and she was pursuing a Master of Christian Ministry in Christian Education/Congregational Leadership. Since then, she has been taking classes at The Leland Center for Theological Studies and Regent University.

Stephanie is one of the 2018-19 recipients of a BGAV scholarship for ministerial education funds.

“I have been raised in a Baptist church my entire life,” she explained. “I came to believe in Christ and was baptized as a child. I was surrounded by friends and family who were believers and who helped me throughout my childhood and young adulthood. In the last 10 years, I have sensed a major shift in my life.”

“It began as a nudge to help in the children’s area of the church after I stepped away from my job as an elementary school teacher to be a stay-at-home mom and adjunct at Old Dominion University. The more I immersed myself in the work, the more it became clear that this was a call to this particular area of ministry.”

In the last two years, I have experienced an extreme amount of growth and call to further my ministry.

“After seeking out a Certification in Children’s Ministry, I was hired to be the Director of Children and Family Ministry at FSBC. In the last two years, I have experienced an extreme amount of growth and call to further my ministry. It is this time that I would say as been the most profound in my life of being a Christ follower in the ministry I have been a part of and the ways in which I see Christ at work in others and in me.”

When asked about her primary interests in BGAV, she said, “I am obviously interested in the courses being offered through the Ministry Equipping Network, since I received a certification through that and now teach several of the classes. I love Impact Mission Camps and Partnership Missions being done in Southwest Virginia. I am from Martinsville, and seeing work being done in those areas that have been so impacted by the current economics of our country is uplifting.”

“My call is clearly to more than children alone,” she further explained. “I feel a strong pull to help a congregation make connections with one another and the community. Working with people who are homeless has broadened my understanding of my call. I believe that the classes I’ve taken at BTSR and will take elsewhere in the future will continue to strengthen my ability to serve the broader community of God’s beloved by giving me a better background for serving adults.”

Through Cooperative Missions offerings, the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) provides scholarships and ministerial education funds for eligible Virginia Baptist students who need aid in financing their education. BGAV Scholarships and Ministerial Education Funds can help students earn an undergraduate degree, pursue undergraduate or graduate education in preparation for vocational ministry, or access training and continuing education opportunities.

Once each month, we are featuring a current-year scholarship recipient on our blog to help our readers get to know these promising students. Please pray for them as they study and seek to discern God’s will for their lives.