SMU hosts Fireside Chat with presidential candidates
A small, but tough audience arrived to listen to the fireside chat with current SMU president Chris Johnson and the two candidates for his position, Cody Ramaekers and Stephen Croft on March 22, 2012. | Ashley Jones/THE CHIMES
Student Missionary Union presidential candidates spoke with a small group of fewer than 20 students during a Fireside Chat at the Fireplace Pavilion on March 22 about the campus roles of the SMU president and their goals for the student body.
SMU president Chris Johnson asked sophomore Stephen Croft, a Christian ministries major, and junior Cody Ramaekers, a cinema and media arts major, a series of questions. The first was about what they think SMU’s role is on campus.
“SMU is a small example of the greater body of Christ,” Ramaekers said. Croft believes the SMU mission statement to “… [motivate] and [mobilize] students to align their lives to the completion of the Great Commission,” is an accurate portrayal of SMU’s campus role.
Croft’s platform is focused on community and on letting students know about certain ministry opportunities. Ramaekers’ platform is focused on reaching out to the communities immediately around Biola and on making the SMU office more approachable.
Keeping a spiritual community alive on campus
Both candidates expressed the importance of Missions Conference follow-up.
“If you leave people, they will flounder and it isn’t that God wasn’t good enough, it’s that he wants people to be supported, discipled, and challenged, seeking his glory,” Ramaekers said.
Johnson asked how each candidate would keep the fire of Missions Conference alive during their presidency.
Croft believed that “true spiritual community” should follow Missions Conference. One of the main things Croft said he would change next year would be to see ministry awareness more streamline and available. He suggested setting up a ministries kiosk, where students could get information about the ministries at Biola.
Ramaekers said that he would like to see SMU supporting ministry efforts in the communities surrounding Biola — though both candidates agreed it was not their place as president to do this. Croft and Ramaekers said that the role of the president was to pour into the SMU staff and encourage them in these efforts.
When asked about his weaknesses, Croft said that he wants to learn how to believe in the capabilities of others and trust them more. Ramaekers said that as president, he would have to work on his time management skills.
Voting for the new SMU president and the new AS president and vice president will take place on Monday and Tuesday at the Fluor Fountain from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.