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Kearns Joins OBU Staff as Director of Student Ministry

September 16, 2021

Dr. Matthew Kearns recently joined the OBU staff as director of student ministry. He assumed the role effective Aug. 12.

Kearns earned a Bachelor of Science in mass communication/ public relations from Southeast Missouri State University. He then earned a Master of Divinity at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary before completing a Doctor of Ministry in discipleship, missions and leadership from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Before coming to OBU, he served as transitional and senior pastor at Woodcrest Chapel in Columbia, Missouri. Prior to that role, he worked for the Missouri Baptist Convention as student evangelism, leadership development and making disciples catalyst. He has previous experience working as a student evangelism associate at the North American Mission Board and also as both an associate pastor and youth pastor as well. He has also been a speaker at Falls Creek, Super Summer, One Team International and chapels at Hannibal LaGrange University and Southwest Baptist University.

Kearns is excited to lead student ministry efforts at OBU.

“God has grown a deep love for the next generation in [my wife] Julie and me over 30 years of ministry together,” he said. “We are anxious to apply what we have learned in this setting and for our family to experience OBU life together. I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to disciple, equip and mobilize the next generation alongside a great team and in conjunction with a world-class faculty and staff.”

Brandon Petersen, dean of students and vice president of campus life, is grateful to have Kearns join the campus life team and to continue the tradition of excellence in student ministry on Bison Hill.

“After a long search for OBU’s director of student ministry, I believe Dr. Kearns is the right person for our students and our campus for such a time as this,” he said. “Both Matt and his wife, Julie, love college students and have made it a life practice to invest in and build relationships with this generation. From his years of experience with the Missouri Baptist Convention and the North American Mission Board, he comes ready to directly impact OBU’s discipleship culture. I believe our students, staff and faculty will be blessed by Matt’s leadership.”

The director of student ministry provides vision, leadership, training and management for all student ministry initiatives at OBU, guiding students through the spiritual formation process while on Bison Hill. The director develops and implements personal discipleship strategies for one-on-one and small group settings and also creates the weekly chapel programming and worship experience. The director likewise establishes student leaders through the various events, activities and groups within student ministry.