SAGU alumnus Robert E. Purvey is making an incredible impact on youth and young adults in the Dallas area.

Purvey is the youth and young adults pastor at Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, a 5,000 member church in southwest Dallas. At Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, Purvey enjoys pastoring over 500 teenagers. He is also the host of a weekly radio show called, “Real Teen Talk” on KHVN Heaven 97, and a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Character Coach for several football, basketball, and volleyball teams in the DFW Metroplex. As a recent graduate of SAGU, Purvey believes that the training he received during his time at SAGU has helped to develop him into a more versatile minister.

“God won't always call you to places where you are comfortable, Purvey said. “I believe SAGU is a good training ground to prepare you for when God calls you to those uncomfortable places.”

Purvey's unique road to ministry began when he was just a teenager. When Purvey was 13 years old, he lost his younger brother in a fatal car accident when a drunk driver struck their car after leaving church. After overcoming this devastating tragedy, he felt God calling him to be a voice for his generation and the generation behind him. This calling would later result in Purvey feeling led to SAGU's campus.

Purvey arrived at SAGU in 2001 but would later have to leave in 2005 due to a financial situation. However, it was during this time that Purvey became the youth pastor at Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church. After several years, Purvey decided to finish his degree at SAGU and resumed his undergraduate studies in 2012. He later graduated in May of 2016 with a bachelor's degree in Professional Development and an associate's degree in Biblical Studies.

“Being a student at SAGU allowed me to get out of my way and step into God’s will”, Purvey said. “I was challenged in several ways at SAGU but everything prepared me for ministry.”

Coming from a Baptist background, SAGU was a spiritual adjustment for Purvey entering into a Pentecostal environment. However, Purvey believes that the time he spent at SAGU enabled him to grow into a more diverse speaker with an understanding of different denominations.

“I became 'bapti-costal' at SAGU,” Purvey said. “I have been impressed by the strides the school has made over the past several years to make sure that people from all walks of life and ethnicities come and get an education but at the same time not diverting from who they are and what they stand for.”

Purvey has impacted the lives of thousands of youth over the span of his ministry. He travels throughout the nation to minister to churches, youth groups, conferences, and schools through dynamic preaching and motivational speaking.

Upon recent years he has become a frequent guest lecturer in SAGU courses, including Strategies for Student Success and Youth Ministries Courses with Dr. Owensby.

One of Purvey's main goals in ministry is to be a bridge between denominations and cultures and to help equip leaders to be effective in their various areas of ministry and work.

A funny thing happens when passion and purpose are greater than fear and excuses. Passionate people—whether born or built—have a gift for seeing their dreams in the distance and pushing past the barriers.

Anything seems possible. A glass half empty becomes motivation to fill it.

They push past breaking points. Their journey might start with a season of flipping burgers or busing tables, waiting for doors to open, while they do what alumnus William (Zeek) Elliott would describe as their side hustle.

“I prayed for God to open doors and He did in his timing,” Zeek said. “It was a long wait, but during that time God was working on me.”

For Zeek, the right door—a terrifying door—opened. Reach Records, hip hop artist Lecrae's label in Atlanta, Georgia, was looking for interns. But, what about the timing? William was working full-time for SAGU Public Relations—the internship would be unpaid. He was newly married—three months would mean a long time away from Stormie. He had no place to live in Georgia—perhaps he could live in his car and buy a gym membership so that he could shower.

One thing was certain. This was his shot.

One might describe passionate people as fearless. The truth is, they climb over the fear because they see what is beyond.

For Zeek, that internship is where he met artist Andy Mineo. During his internship, Zeek had the opportunity to spend three days alongside Mineo and other producers and musicians at Parhelion Studios.

“It was the first time I really experienced raw creativity of that scale. Observing that environment was insane. I knew I was on the right track and saw those three days as a massive opportunity to prove my value to an artist I looked up to,” Zeek said.

Toward the end of the sessions, Mineo informally threw the idea of Zeek moving to New York City to work together.

“This doesn’t happen,” Zeek said. “As an intern, a nobody in the industry, to partner with an artist of Andy’s influence is 100 percent a God thing. For Andy to invest in me as a young professional, that is God making moves.”

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from SAGU in May 2016, Zeek and wife Stormie moved to Manhattan. He works as Mineo's co-manager, along with Underoath's Tim McTague. He is also a business partner with Mineo in Miner League, a production company that develops upcoming artists, and is founder-CEO of The Strat Agency.

Zeek is fond of his time at SAGU. Even there, he started as an intern and leveled up to Marketing Coordinator before being promoted to Public Relations Manager.

“Marketing Director Ryan McElhany is a continual professional and spiritual mentor to me,” Zeek said.

He also counts Men's Soccer Coach Clem Oancea as a mentor. “He is another amazing example. I grew so much while playing under him for four years.”

What is next for Zeek?

“Passion and hustle takes you a long way in any industry. I'm keeping my head down, moving forward. There will come a time to look up and enjoy the scenery. For now, it's about pushing forward and achieving goals.”

“I was driven to an artist whose focus is to make a difference in people’s lives. His faith is a part of him and the transparency in his music reiterates the impact God has made on his life. He is an example of authentic Christianity.”

In terms of what is next for Mineo, Zeek said, “Andy’s new music is something special.” They join the 2017 Winter Jam Tour this January.

“Once I fully gave my future over to God and asked Him to move my feet in the direction He wants me to go, things started happening,” Zeek says.

Nearly 130 Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) students, faculty and staff helped to restore community property and meet the physical needs of local residents in Waxahachie on Saturday, October 22, through this year's Make a Difference Day (MADD).

Volunteers divided into five groups with each designated to a specific task. Some tasks included painting fire hydrants and picking up trash in the community.

In response to the event, Andy Lehmann, Missions and Community Engagement Pastor at The Oaks Fellowship church said, “God can use simple acts of service to bring relationships and opportunities.”

Along with restoring property and collecting trash, volunteers also had the opportunity to provide services to the Fraternal Cemetery. In collaboration with the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame, volunteers helped catalog the graves of former slaves that had been buried throughout the cemetery so that visitors can identify their ancestors. Volunteers also contributed by installing 20 posts to display signs in the cemetery for Dr. Jamal Rasheed, Director of the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame and caretaker of the Fraternal Cemetery.

While MADD is a nationally celebrated event, SAGU participated in the opportunity to give back to the community while also taking part in a community restoration project called The Waxahachie Project. With efforts to help bring restoration and reconciliation between neighborhoods and the people of Waxahachie, SAGU has specifically focused on the restoration of the Samaria Missionary Baptist Church through the Giving Project, a fundraising project conducted by the Southwestern Missions Association (SMA). SMA is a student-led organization on SAGU's campus that provides a variety of student-led ministries including local ministries in Dallas and Waxahachie.

Hannah Caballero, the Treasurer for SMA, is in charge of the association's budget for all ministries and has been involved in the fundraising process and the vision for the Giving Project.

“We're all coming together as one and building relationships like that is really exciting,” Caballero said.

The day was concluded with a time of fellowship at the Blocktober Party, a community block party held at Freedman Park. The Blocktober Party included free food, inflatables, live music and games. All participants were also welcomed to take a tour of the African American Hall of Fame.

To learn more about the Waxahachie Project, click here .


Jonathan (2010) and Axa (2011) Samuels became the youth pastors of a church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, following graduation. After six years on staff, the Samuels transitioned to Westover Hills Assembly of God in San Antonio, Texas. Jonathan is the Middle School Pastor. Axa is Production Director for the Next Gen Department. Axa is thankful for SAGU Professor Rob Price for the blessing he was to her throughout college and even now.


Dana Richardson (1997) travels and speaks in churches with her husband. Dana is a full-time library director for the county public library.


Mickey Click (1984) attended Southwestern Assemblies of God College (SAGC) along with Terry and Larry Bryant. During this time, President Delmer Guynes held office. President Kermit Bridges and Keenan Bridges were Mickey’s classmates during this time.


Charles Satterwhite (1972) received his Master of Divinity from Lexington Seminary in 1988 and a Doctor of Ministry from Asbury Seminary in 1993.


Douglas Rose (1965) Douglas served as Student Council President, Editor of the school newspaper, and member of the Harvesters. He and his wife celebrate their 50 th wedding anniversary this year. Douglas would like to thank the Alumni Department and President Bridges for the historic gold medallion that he received for the Class of 1965.


Josh (2004) & Amanda (2003) Blanchard welcomed their fourth child, Sophia Grace, in July of 2014. Josh received a Master of Divinity from St. Paul School of Theology and a Master of Church Ministries from United Theological Seminary. He is an Elder in the United Methodist Church and serves two churches in West Midland that are merging through a church planting strategy called a Vital Merger. Amanda recently completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Saginaw Valley State University and is a registered nurse at Covenant Hospital in Saginaw, MI.

Karen Parker (1972) married Dr. Michael Parker on January 27, 2016, and moved to Talco, Texas.

Laverne Smith (1949) married James Earl “Jim” Smith on April 14, 1951. The couple celebrated 65 years of marriage on April 14, 2016.

Dr. James Barnes, Barnes Student Center Namesake, Passes at 88

Alumnus and Former Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) Dean of Students, Dr. James Lee Barnes, passed at the age of 88 on July 26, 2016, after a battle with cancer.

Dr. Barnes was born in the community of Sleigh in Ellis County on Sept. 8, 1927, to Lee and Daphne Steele Barnes. The family moved to Fort Worth where James studied auto mechanics and graduated from Fort Worth Technical High School in 1945. He later worked for Earnest Allen Chevrolet as a mechanic for three years.

In 1945, Dr. Barnes was drafted into the United States Army. After discharge, he returned to Fort Worth and began working for First National Bank of Fort Worth and enrolled at Texas Christian University (TCU).

After attending First Assembly of God Church, Dr. Barnes became eager to study the Bible, causing him to transfer to Southwestern Bible Institute, where he earned a bachelor's degree.

At SAGU, Dr. Barnes met his wife of 65 years, Winnie Allen, and married on Aug. 11, 1951. They entered full-time ministry, pastored several churches and pioneered a church in North Richland Hills in 1957 where he pastored until 1974.

During his pastorate, Dr. Barnes decided to pursue counseling to help the people around him. He earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and history and a master's in counseling and psychology from the University of North Texas. Dr. Barnes was a Licensed Professional Counselor with the State of Texas and engaged in counseling until the very last years of his life.

In August of 1974, Barnes accepted the position of Dean of Students at SAGU and served until his retirement in 1993. He viewed his role to be, “To do the best job I know how to do,” to understand the students' needs as they relate to SAGU, to serve the students and maintain policy.”During this time, Dr. Barnes completed his Doctorate of College Administration.

After his retirement in 1993, he remained as an adjunct professor teaching classes in Psychology, Pastoral Counseling, Church History and Pentecostal Doctrine and Theology until 2003.

In 2002, under the presidency of Dr. Kermit Bridges, The Student Center building was inaugurated as the “James L. Barnes Student Center.”

In 2004, an endowed scholarship honoring Dr. James and Winnie Barnes' 27 years of service was established to award one on-campus student, who is either a Sophomore, Junior or Senior studying either Business or Education with above average academic achievement. Student teachers held a special place in the Barnes’ heart.

Dr. Barnes made an impact in the community around him. He held religious services at the Cedars Hospital in DeSoto, Texas, for many years. Dr. Barnes served as chaplain for the Texas State Guard and retired with the rank of Lt. Colonel and served as the director for the aviation program for the North Texas District.

He was preceded in death by his mother, father and infant sister. Barnes is survived by his loving wife Winnie; his son Danny and daughter-in-law, Anita of Waxahachie; his daughter, Faith O'Brien and son-in-law, Curry O'Brien of Houston; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a host of friends, former students and former parishioners.

If you would like to donate to the Dr. James and Winnie Barnes’ scholarship, click here.

In Memoriam

Kathi Ann Pruett (2007) passed away on August 14, 2016. She was born October 27, 1958, in Corpus Christi, Texas, to Richard Terrell and Berna Mae Pruett. Kathi is survived by her mother Berna Robinson Pruett, sisters Sherri Lynn Pruett, Vicki Sue Pruett, Judi Faye Goldston and husband Ken, brother Richard Terrell Pruett II and wife Lindy and a host of nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and a multitude of friends.

Gregory Simon (1984) passed away on June 29, 2016, after a long battle with brain cancer. He was born on August 31, 1963, in Abbeville, Louisiana. Marcus worked for Leo Martin Chevrolet for almost 15 years and was a member of Grace Bible Church. He is survived by his wife, Deborah, son, Gregory Michael Simon, daughters; Emily and Julia Simon, father, Allison Simon and wife Claudia, sisters; Shari O’Hearn and Rechelle Kovacik, and brother Brandon Marshall.

Richard McElhannon (1982) passed away on Friday, September 2, 2016. Rev. Richard Dean McElhannon was born on August 28, 1962 in Cordova, Alaska, to Rev. Edgar and Nadine McElhannon. Rick served as a youth pastor and as a senior pastor. Rick is preceded in death by his mother, Phyllis Nadine Walls McElhannon. He is survived by his wife, Rhonda Posey McElhannon; daughter, Lindsay and her husband Rev. Chris Mathis; son, Richard Casey McElhannon and his wife Leanne; daughter, Katie Spencer and her husband Stephen. He is also survived by his father Rev. Edgar McElhannon and his wife Ruth; a brother, Reggie McElhannon; a sister, Regina Lang and her husband Jeff of Benton; step siblings, Robert Kersey of Laramie, Cindy Caton and Jayson Kersey.

Dr. Morris Paschall (1961) passed away on August 29, 2016. Dr. Morris was born on August 13, 1940, to Morris D. Paschall and Vera White Paschall. He was the basketball coach, Dean of Students, and Vice President at SAGC. He was preceded in death by his father, Morris D. Paschall, mother Vera White Paschall, sister Imogene Simpson, brother Joseph “Jo Don” Paschall, and sister Mina Carlisle. He is survived by his loving wife Earline Paschall, five sons, Kirk (Susan) Paschall, Kip (Theresa) Paschall, Kreyton (Janice) Paschall, Charles (Cheryl) Johnston, Dan (Vicki) Johnston, one daughter Jan (Jon) Florence, and one sister, Charlotte Anderson.

Sylvia Shortes (1961) passed away on August 3, 2016. Sylvia Jo was born to Joseph and Pearl Milford in Pasadena, Texas, on November 10, 1942. Sylvia was an active member of The Oaks Fellowship Church. Sylvia was employed with the Waxahachie Independent School District as a Special Education Teacher from 1974 until 2001, when she retired. In 2004 she was employed with Life School in Red Oak, Texas, where she taught special education until her re-retirement in 2008.

Harry “Cherokee” Rinehart (1957) passed away on Saturday, July 30, 2016. Harry was born in 1933 to Harry W. and Hazel Rinehart. He graduated from Southwestern Bible Institute, earned a Bachelor of Arts from Tulsa University and a Master of Education in Physical Education and Administration from North Texas State University. His career in education included teaching, coaching and serving as Principal of the Lavaca Public School System. He is survived by his wife Paula McClure. He was preceded in death by his parents; foster parents, Reverends Winston and Rosie Gilbert; and his brother, Jerry Lee Rinehart.

Ethel Lee White (1955) passed away on July 25, 2016. He was born on January 25, 1932, to Rev. Robert Thomas and Sallie Margaret Uselton. Ethel attended Southwestern Bible Institute from 1950 to 1955. Later, Ethel and her husband served as missionaries in the Philippines. Ethel was preceded in death by her parents, first husband Garland Pittman; two children Garland Pittman Jr. and Ethel May Pittman; her second husband Gerald Raymond White; brothers James Uselton, George Uselton, sisters Bethel Hegar; and her twin sisters Betty Foster and Lois Morris.

Laurence Kelley passed away on Sunday, July 3, 2016. Larry was born to Adell and Samuel Kelley in Ironton, Ohio. Larry was a proud army veteran who served in Korea, a financial planner, a registered principal at Ameriprise Financial, and a loving member at Christ Chapel Bible Church. Laurence is survived by his wife, Iris Jean Kelley; sister, Gaynel Poteat; brother, David Kelly; along with a host of nieces nephews and friends.

Lona Robertson passed away on Friday August 12, 2016. Lona was born February 22, 1933, to William and Irene Carter. She was a principal at a Christian school, worked as a secretary, and pastored with her husband for 50 years. Lona is preceded in death by her parents; 16 siblings; and son Jeffrey Robertson. She is survived by her husband, Billy Robertson; children Bill Robertson Jr. and wife, Nathaniel Robertson and wife Sharon, Bradley Robertson and wife Patricia, Eric Robertson of Blossom, Elizabeth O'Berry and husband Dewayne; and brother F. Wayne Carter.

Arthur E. Hokett (1961) passed away on August 6, 2011, at the age of 73. He and his wife, Doris (Hinkle) Hokett (1961) have been missionaries in Africa since 1966, serving first in Ghana and later in Nigeria. Arthur and Doris ministered in 40 different countries as missionary evangelists, especially in Africa. They have one son, Jeff, who was born in Ghana. Arthur was a powerful preacher and much loved by thousands of people all over the world. He helped Doris write and publish 14 books, some of which have been translated into different languages. He enjoyed helping pastors in northern Ghana build churches. A total of 45 churches were completed before he passed away. Doris continues as a missionary evangelist in Africa and helps build more churches with a total of approximately 60 churches now completed. Arthur prayed with thousands during his ministry in Africa to receive Christ and was a great blessing to pastors all over Africa.

If you would like to give to the SAGU Foundation in memory of a friend or loved one, click here .

SAGU's cross country team has received plenty of national attention in the young program’s beginnings. They can now add one more national award to the list. Junior Jerry Nava has been chosen as the National Christian Colleges Athletics Association’s (NCCAA) Wheeler Award recipient.

Nava has quite the athletic background, and one that until two years ago did not involve cross country. SAGU cross country coach Jason Covarrubias, believes that’s part of what makes Nava so special, “Jerry’s story on how he fell into the SAGU cross country program is like a fairy tale. He is a kid who came to SAGU for soccer but things didn’t work out. He was searching for something to do and two seasons later he holds five school records. That just doesn’t happen!”

The SAGU records Nava holds include the 1500, the 5k in both track and cross country, 10k, half marathon and marathon.

In the fall of 2014, Nava joined the cross country team. Three days later he finished fourth place in his first-ever cross country meet at the East Texas Invitational. Since that day, his races continue to impress and improve. In 2014, Nava finished 35th in the Sooner Athletic Conference race and 85th at the NCCAA Nationals. The next season, he improved to a 17th place finish at the SAC race and 26th at the NCCAA Nationals.

This season Nava has had two top five finishes and a personal record of 25:58 at Dallas Baptist University.

Although his athletic résumé is impressive, Covarrubias knows that is just the tip of the iceberg, “The best part about Jerry Nava is his heart for the less fortunate. Just to listen to him talk about the kids from the Boys & Girls Club lets you know that it’s more than a job. It is his ministry.”

While working with the Boys & Girls Club, Nava is able to share the gospel to hundreds of kids daily. During the summers, he also works at The Salvation Army’s Camp Hoblitzelle in Midlothian, Texas, where he is a counselor. He has devoted two full years to the ministry of the Salvation Army.

“He truly digs deep at practices, in meets and most importantly with his walk with Christ,” says Covarrubias.

In the classroom, Nava holds a 3.37 GPA in Human Resource Management and was named to the Sooner Athletic Conference All-Academic Team in 2015.

In 2015, SAGU’s only National Champion Destiny Garza was also awarded the Wheeler Award. SAGU cross country now boasts the honor two years in a row.

The Wheeler Award is sponsored by John and Jody Wheeler who have been involved in athletic activities of Christian high schools and colleges for many years.

The award was established to enhance excellence in Christian track and field competition and to perpetuate the Christian philosophy and faith as exemplified through Christ-like track and field participation in NCCAA member institutions.

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