By Sarah Browning, Contributing Writer
On July 17, World Gospel Mission (WGM) welcomed Asbury Alum James Ballard as the new director of the Asbury campus’ center. Ballard came with his wife, Rachel, and his son, Josh, and is thrilled to be back in Wilmore.
Ballard’s goal as WGM director is to “partner with students, staff and faculty at Asbury University in walking out God’s call for all of us to make disciples in our communities, our workplace, our nation and throughout the world.” He also wants to make the WGM center “the place to hang out.”
When asked if anything would change with the new director, Brianna Boggs, president of the WGM student center, said, “One thing that will never change is the heart and purpose of [the center] on Asbury’s campus…. [Ballard] has been intentional to maintain the passion of WGM.” Ballard’s goal is simply to make WGM the best it can be.
WGM is famous on campus for its Global Café, which meets every Sunday at 6 p.m. for coffee and conversation. Global Café is here to stay under Ballard’s leadership. “Coffee is a diverse and inclusive melding of flavors, and it brings the world together,” he said.
Victoria Watson, Asbury Student Congress representative and WGM barista, said, “James Ballard has an infectious personality. His heart is to encourage and equip students in what God called them to do.”
Ballard understands the stress undergraduate students face when deciding on their future careers. “I got so hung up on what I was going to do after college, it consumed and defined my success or failure,” he said. He now follows the philosophy of “what fills you, forms you,” having faith that the Holy Spirit will guide.
“What we do does not define us, who we are in Jesus defines us. Your profession could change several times. Be expectant of Jesus’ voice and leading. The most important thing is that Jesus leads, we follow.”
According to the WGM Student Cabinet, Ballard is the joyful, God-filled leader the student center needs right now.