The realization of a dream

One of our hopes that we wanted to see fulfilled was conducting a contest for student writers-men and women who attend colleges, seminaries, and universities, who are studying for the ministry or in some other area of religious studies.

Nikolaus Satelmajer is the Editor of Ministry.
Willie Hucks is the Associate Editor of Ministry.

Several years ago, the editors of Ministry entered upon the task of building upon the foundation laid over the years by everyone who preceded us as editors and associate editors. Our main goal, like theirs, is to provide a quality journal that meets the spiritual and professional needs of ministers around the world. We entered into this responsibility with ideas of what we wanted to accomplish. Indeed, we have achieved some of them; yet there are others that remain to be fulfilled.

One of our hopes that we wanted to see fulfilled was conducting a contest for student writers—men and women who attend colleges, seminaries, and universities, who are studying for the ministry or in some other area of religious studies.

A dream born

We first introduced this concept to our Ministry Publishing Advisory Committee in April 2006 during a meeting in Loma Linda, California; but that’s all it was: a concept. In February 2007, we formally unveiled the details of our first Ministerial Student Writing Contest during a Seminary assembly at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States.

We widely advertised the contest through mailings and regularly in Ministry, inviting writers to submit manuscripts in any of five categories: biblical studies, theological studies, missions, ministry (practics), and historical studies. One of our goals was to increase and broaden the pool of writers. And to that end we succeeded, receiving more than 100 submissions.

The writers covered the gamut of all possibilities. Many denominations were represented; there were both female and male writers; and there were plenty of submissions from all five of the categories.

A task as monumental as evaluating the submissions could not have been handled by our editorial staff alone. When it came to assessing the quality of the manuscripts, we assembled some of the top experts in the various categories, and they graciously consented (without remuneration) to evaluate the manuscripts we sent to them.

Our editorial assistant, Sheryl Beck, took great pains to guarantee the anonymity of each writer, so much so, that not even we, the editors, knew who the writer of any given manuscript was. Obviously, this was done to protect the integrity of the process and to ensure that each submission was evaluated on its own merits, without prejudice.

The manuscripts were judged based on criteria such as effective research, coherently expressed content, original contributions to the subject, professional writing, and viable integration into practical ministry. After thoroughly examining the results of the criteria, we were pleased to discover several things: (1) our top prizes went to a good mix of male and female writers, (2) there was a great representation of winners from various parts of the world, and (3) a good cross section of the five categories was represented among the top prize winners.

And now we are pleased to announce the winners of our first Ministerial Student Writer Contest:

• Grand prize: Daniel Bediako

• First place: Daniel Harrison

• Second place: Amy Drennan and Jermaine Ma

• Third place: David Wolter

• Third place: Denise Josephs

• Third place: Abner Dizon

• Third place: Donna Olivia Powell

• Third place: Tim Perenich

• Third place: Jon Coutts

• Third place: John C. Johnson

There were many other fine papers submitted, and over the upcoming months we will publish several of them— even though they did not win a prize. However, in this month’s edition, we are publishing some of our top submissions, with the other winning entries to be published in future issues of Ministry. As with all authors, you will see biographical information about each one at the start of their articles.

A dream continued

In our travels to seminaries, colleges, and universities worldwide, we are constantly asked if we are going to conduct another student writing contest. We would find it difficult to start something like this and not continue it. These young writers are excited at the possibility of sharing their insights with others.

We, however, see this contest as even more than just a contest. These bright young talents are the theologians, scholars, professors, and yes, pastors of today and tomorrow. They see the Bible and life with young eyes, and their wisdom enlightens us all. We thank God for calling such talented individuals to be ministers of the Word.

We are now accepting manuscripts for our next student writing contest. So start thinking about themes you wish to address.

We thank everyone who took the time to research, write, and share their papers with us. It was a time-consuming process to read and evaluate them all; but it was well worth the time spent doing so. We learned so much as we read and that pleases us because we, too, are students, desiring to grow and improve in our own ministries.

And remember that while sermons have a significant impact upon those who hear them, the impact of the written word is often far more enduring.

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

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Nikolaus Satelmajer is the Editor of Ministry.
Willie Hucks is the Associate Editor of Ministry.

September 2008

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