Campus ministry is where he thought he would be one day and the Rev. Ted Goshorn is glad he found Reinhardt.
Goshorn began as Reinhardt’s new campus minister July 11 and has big plans of building relationships and offering diverse ways for students, faculty and staff to engage their spirituality.
“That could mean through prayer, through worship, through exploration of what it means to be a person of faith. My hope is that students who come here are developed spiritually and that they leave with a better sense of who they are spiritually as a person just as the university seeks as a whole to develop the whole person,” Goshorn said. “I also hope to increase volunteerism and offer some opportunities to engage with the local community as well as worldwide. I’m exploring some options that naturally arise through our connection with the Methodist Church. I felt charged with through the interview and in some conversations since to deepen the University’s connection with the United Methodist Church.”
Service learning also is an aspect of his role that he hopes to use to bring people outside of their comfort zones and grow spiritually with more love and empathy.
“I think it’s an essential component of what it means to be human, to give of ourselves to others, and the college years are an essential time to hone that skill, teach that skill and create that habit. There is a lot to be learned by getting out of your comfort zone and getting out of your normal modes of life and engaging with the world in whatever way that looks or however that appears,” he said. “I think it is an essential component of being a person of religion. I believe all people are inherently spiritual and we are called both feed our spirituality and we are called to give of ourselves so that others can be transformed and so the world around us can be transformed.”
Transforming the individual and helping them strengthen their relationship with God through Christ is something Goshorn said he feels will help ignite the light and brighten the darkness that is so apparent in the United States and worldwide.
“Through our relationship with each other, we foster that sense of unconditional love. I think that is primarily experienced through community and then we are better able to give to others. I think when we experience unconditional love, a deeper sense of empathy is a result of that and the more empathic we are, literally seeing the world from someone else’s view as best we can, I think the less able we are to hate and to sequester ourselves in our own worlds and to block out what we don’t like,” Goshorn said. “The more we are full of the love of Christ, the more we shine as a light and there is much darkness in the world. I think we are experiencing a period where the darkness seems to be more apparent, and it is incumbent upon us to seek to shine His light and understanding that light always trumps darkness and that it is God’s job to combat the darkness and it is our job to let God shine through us.”
While the opportunity to join Reinhardt was information that came to him through a friend, he at first wanted to give it a shot, but he was deeply impacted by the interview and the experience he had when he visited the campus. He knew it is where he needed to be, even though he had a strong connection to Mercer University where he previously worked in the Office of Religious Life.
“As much as I was inspired to act by the reality (of poverty and homelessness) I saw around me in Macon, I feel like my call is to train and equip others so they are able to go and change their worlds. My hope is that students who come to Reinhardt are so impacted by their experience of Christ in this space that when they go to where they go next that they take the transformation they experienced here and they transform the places where they are,” Goshorn said. “One of the things that sold me on Reinhardt is that this institution is really committed to developing students spiritually. There are a lot of institutions that pay lip service to the idea, and I think it is uncommon that you have an institution that understands that students need development academically, psychologically, in physical health and spiritual health, and all those things combined have an impact on each other. It’s an exciting time to be at Reinhardt in terms of helping student engage their relationship with Christ.
Goshorn, of Cartersville, earned his Bachelor of Arts (Magna Cum Laude) in history and minor in psychology, his Master of Education in counseling psychology and higher education administration from James Madison University and his Master of Divinity from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. He was born in Upstate New York and grew up in Rome, Ga. He is married to his wife Dana, who will be a sixth-grade teacher in Rome City Schools next school year. They have two sons, Jackson, a rising first-grader, and Carter, 10 months.