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Waxahachie, TX

December 16, 2016 | Andrew Hurst

For college seniors pursuing a career in ministry, the fact that they will soon be behind a pulpit facing a church congregation may be a daunting realization.

Public speaking and experience in delivering a sermon may be one of many key factors that pastors and church leaders take into consideration when looking for a new addition to a church’s pastoral staff. However, without opportunities to speak, how can students take the lessons learned in a classroom setting and apply them in a real-world, behind-the-pulpit situation?

Daniel Enriquez, Senior Pastor of Dallas First Assembly of God and Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumnus, recognized this issue for many college students with career goals set in ministry.

“When I was a student, there were churches that gave me an opportunity to speak,” Enriquez said. “I noticed that part of the reason that some students don’t have experience preaching is because they are not given the opportunity.”

In addition, with the removal of Sunday night and Wednesday night services for many churches across the country, a large number of college students must usually speak in a youth service type setting.

“When they get out and have to speak to adults, sometimes they don’t know how to because they haven’t had that experience,” Enriquez said.

To give the next generation opportunities to hone their skills and improve as effective speakers to a diverse range of audiences, Pastor Enriquez reached out to long-time friend and SAGU Professor of Bible and Church Ministries, Dr. Jeff Magruder.

Magruder agreed to send three students from a Biblical Preaching lab course to speak at Dallas First Assembly of God during a few Wednesday night services this past fall semester.

These students included Haidee Richardson, Ariel Brookbank and Jeremy Cox.

Richardson said, “From the moment I entered Dallas First Assembly, I could tell that it was a place where people were shown the genuine love of Christ. Every person I met was extremely kind and inviting, and took time to encourage me in my ministry.”

Senior Ariel Brookbank said that the overall experience provided her with confidence in her abilities and helped to remove any anxieties she had before being asked to speak in chapel later in the semester.

“I think students really need more opportunities to speak and preach,” Brookbank said. “If more churches were on board to giving up their pulpit on a Wednesday night or a Sunday night to a student, that is one of the most valuable things someone going into the ministry can have.”

Dallas First Assembly of God will continue to partner with SAGU next semester for Wednesday night services.

Pastor Enriquez said that they are also currently looking into the possibility of having a Sunday in the near future designated for SAGU students to come and speak at the church.

In response to what he is most excited about, Pastor Enriquez said, “God is still calling young people and they are very capable of hearing from God and delivering a message very powerfully. They (SAGU students) all had different styles and personalities that came out but every one of them spoke to me and I got something out of it and I know my people did.”

If you are interested in having a SAGU student pursuing a career in ministry speak at your church, please click here to contact Dr. Jeff Magruder.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927, and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at

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