PINEVILLE, Ky. (KT) — When Donnie Fox says he wants to make sure none of the students at Clear Creek Baptist Bible College feel left out, he’s willing to go the extra mile. Actually, he’s traveled hundreds of extra miles to fulfill that mission.
Fox, president of the college since 2007, began a practice several years ago of hand-delivering diplomas and certificates to students who could not attend commencement. “We have some students who cannot come and walk and experience that thrill of getting a diploma,” he said. “I don't want to just stick those (diplomas, certificates) in the mail, so I deliver every one of them to those who cannot come to graduation. I also take them some alumni gifts, pens, things like that. It puts a special touch on it for the students.”
This spring, Fox made personal deliveries to five students. It has been up to 10 deliveries some years, and Fox estimates he has delivered as many as 30 diplomas/certificates over the years.
Fox noted all five deliveries this year involved the college’s bivocational training program. And all five students indicated to Fox they would continue with their education. “God has placed a call on them, and given them a taste of what formal training can be like,” Fox said, which leads them to continue their ministry education. The bivocational program has been popular for Clear Creek, with the 18 hours earned in that certificate program rolling into associate and bachelor’s degrees.
Fox made this year's deliveries in two days, going first to Monticello, then to Franklin, on to Bowling Green, then Louisville and concluding in Irvine. “At times I have had some that were out of state. I’ve been to North Carolina and Florida to deliver a graduate's diploma.”
The response is always positive. “The biggest response I’ve had is, ‘Wow, I cannot believe you’d come all this way to deliver this in person,’” Fox recalled. “To me, it’s no big deal — it’s what I should be doing.
“Some of these folks I never get to see, but it allows me to put a face to a name.” Fox teaches a spiritual formation class required for every incoming student during the first year. It is taught on campus, but all classes on campus are available online. The students can watch it live or anytime within the week, so Fox does not always have a visual of every student.
“They see me, but I don’t necessarily see them. Hand delivering these adds a personal touch for all of us.”
One of those receiving a visit from Fox last week was Aaron Lee, who completed work on a bivocational ministry certificate. Lee, a member of Ormsby Heights Baptist Church in Louisville, met Fox at the church to receive his certificate.
“It surprised me,” Lee said. “When he came here, he said that it is a tradition he likes to keep, to make sure none of the students feel left out.”
Lee, 25, has worked as an auto mechanic since he was 19. He accepted a call to ministry two years ago, but was uncertain where he would pursue education in ministry.
“I had just bought a house and didn’t know what I could afford. Our youth pastor, Brent Phillips, mentioned he knew someone who went to Clear Creek online and got a degree.” Lee learned he qualified for that program since he works 40 hours a week.
“Because I qualified for it, the program allowed me to get 18 credit hours for free — I just had to pay student fees for the semester. It was really a big financial help for me to get my basic education going. I got a feel for what the school is like. The credit hours roll into a bachelor’s, so beginning in the fall, I’ll take 18 credit hours there to work toward a bachelor’s in ministry.”
Lee said he “would like to go full-time in ministry, but at the same time, if God calls me to stay as a mechanic and do work for Him, that is what I will do. I do feel a leaning toward a pastorate calling, but I’m not certain of that.” He said his pastor, Chad Fugitt, has been mentoring him through this process. “I have enjoyed his discipleship and showing me the ropes a little. I want to get my education taken care of and have my heart open to what God says.”