By Kayla Lutes, Features Editor
In many ways Chris Bounds’ new position as the chair of the department of Christian studies and philosophy has brought him full circle. Bounds is an alumnus of Asbury and member of the class of 1984, the Olympians. The Olympian member came back to his alma mater in the same year Asbury students have gone to work at the Olympics in Rio.
Bounds describes how he views Asbury as a “mother” of sorts, and on coming from Indiana Wesleyan University to Asbury, Bounds said, “It was almost impossible to say no. How can you say no to your mother?”
Bounds’ new role is comprised of four parts: administrative, planning, teaching and his position as a scholar in residence.
“I’m responsible for the day-to-day organization,” Bounds said of his new administrative role.
“When people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m a pastor. I just have a different congregation. My congregation is made up of 18 to 22 year olds.”
Currently, Bounds teaches a TH 250 course in the classroom and one online. As a scholar in residence, Bounds is responsible for research in his field, but this fourth part of his job is unrelated to his role as the head of the Christian ministries department.
Bounds summed up his research with the theme of the doctrine of sanctification, saying, “I’ve always been interested in the proclamation, the doctrine and the experience of holiness. That’s driven me as a pastor; it’s driven me as an academic; it’s driven me as a theologian.”
As for the planning or “dreaming” aspect of Bounds’ role, it is currently a role of waiting. Bounds is spending his first year getting to know the current state of his department.
“I’m very collaborative,” Bounds said of himself in relation to his plans, explaining how he wants to work with the other faculty members of the department in solidifying the department’s future direction. “They’re in process,” Bounds said of future plans.
Bounds’ tactic of watching means that currently no plans are definitive.
“I’ve just celebrated my one month anniversary,” he said. “Come back next fall, and I’ll be in a better position to answer that question.”
“When people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m a pastor,” Bounds said of himself. “I just have a different congregation. My congregation is made up of 18 to 22 year olds.”
He described that view as being at the heart of everything he does. Bounds spoke about the Christian ministries department as a place that “takes the gifts the Holy Spirit has given to people and to sharpen and hone those graces for ministry.”
Bounds expressed a desire for his department to be a place that invests in the lives of students and to “be a means of God’s grace that where the anointing of the spirit is on it [their gift] that anointing would even increase.”
The department isn’t only for students who feel called to go into ministry, but for anyone who wants to think deeply about matters of ministry.
“We’re also training people who have an interest in more formal academic studies of theology as well as philosophy,” Bounds said.
Bounds spoke energetically about his new role at Asbury. He described Asbury as a place where his faith was “established” during his four years here. Bounds attended Asbury Theological Seminary and has maintained his relationship with Asbury since his graduation.
“I’ve had an opportunity to be involved with Asbury through the years,” Bounds said. “I dearly love Asbury, and I’m very thankful to be back here.”