Submitted by Judson University
John M. Perkins, founder of the John M. Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation and Development, spoke to a full chapel at Judson University on Oct. 3.
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"What a privilege it is to be an old man, 52 years in ministry, and live to see this happen, to see you welcome me," Perkins said in his opening comments to the crowd of students.
Perkins, of Jackson, Miss., was invited to be the keynote speaker for the annual Missions Week chapel as the university announced the locations and ministries of the spring 2013 service project trips for students to attend. Each spring, Judson sends teams of students to serve different ministry organizations over their spring break. For several years, Judson has sent a team of students to serve the Perkins Foundation, one of the world's leading proponents of racial reconciliation in the Church.
In his chapel message, Perkins touched on issues of social justice and American history, and the opportunity that students have to pursue racial reconciliation within their communities and churches.
"Our Founding Fathers created a constitution that said, 'all men are created equal,' but before the ink was dried on that document, they were killing Native Americans and enslaving black people," said Perkins.
"You," he addressed the students, "have the opportunity to be a part of something completely brand new -- creating a nation that reflects the Kingdom of God, which is full of diversity and multiculturalism."
Following his address in chapel, Perkins engaged students, faculty, and staff in a question-and-answer session, where he answered their questions about suburban churches and inner city ministry, fatherhood, education, and racial reconciliation.
"One of the most impressive parts of being involved in the Perkins Foundation last year was that Dr. Perkins made time to do devotions with our group every day," says Ellison Cooper, Judson's resident director for Lindner Tower and the leader of the student missions group that serves the Perkins Foundation each year.
"Everything Dr. Perkins spoke of, he gave personal examples of. He bleeds the ministry he leads. People think he is an advocate for racial equality, but really he's an advocate for loving everyone and for ministering to our communities," says Cooper.