Students Make Professions of Faith
Drs. Gene (third from right) and Jane (second from right) Duremdes, sponsors of Bluefield College's Christian Emphasis Week, with event speaker Trey Bradley (far right), BC president Dr. David Olive (second from left) and BC campus pastor Rev. Henry Clary (far left).

Students Make Professions of Faith

By Chris Shoemaker | October 3, 2017 | RSS

Eight students made first-time professions of faith and many others renewed their Christian commitments during Bluefield College’s 26th Annual Duremdes Christian Emphasis Week, September 27-29, featuring spiritual discourse led by evangelist Trey Bradley and praise and worship led by the Norton Hall Band.

Since 1992, Bluefield College has set aside a week in the school year for students and the community to intentionally focus on faith through the facilitation of spiritual speakers, leaders and musicians. Sponsored by longtime BC supporters Drs. Gene and Jane Duremdes of Princeton, West Virginia, the week is designed to give participants the opportunity to “examine their spiritual lives” and “seek answers to life-impacting questions.”

“I like how they postpone classes so that everybody can be involved,” said BC freshman Madison Brewster about the college’s commitment to a week devoted to spiritual growth. “It’s nice to see people really into it, not just coming and sitting here, but really getting involved.”


Bradley, a native of Gaffney, South Carolina, and a graduate of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary who began sensing a call from God into the ministry as a teenager, led students in the spiritual focus this year during three separate sermon sessions. During his opening session, he shared Luke’s Gospel story of Zacchaeus, a tax collector who had wealth and stature, but still found himself hungering and thirsting for more.

“All of us have a craving for something more,” said Bradley, who also served as BC’s Duremdes keynote speaker last year. “The question is where do we go to satisfy that craving. We all turn to something, but the only way to truly quench that thirst is to turn to God.”

Bradley said friendships, relationships, sports, hobbies, career success and the like are often used to fill the voids in our lives. “There is nothing wrong with those things,” he said, “unless you look to them to fulfill you the only way that God can fulfill you.”

But in the end, he added, like Zacchaeus who went to the extreme measure of climbing a sycamore tree just to see Jesus, we must realize that God is the only true source for peace and joy.

“Like Zacchaeus, maybe you’re searching for something more,” said Bradley. “Maybe you’ve climbed up into a tree. Jesus is telling you to come down, to come to Him. That same God is pursuing you and wants to be in a relationship with you. He wants to change your life and quench your hunger and thirst.”

Bradley also spoke about the ways in which Jesus pursues the lost and accepts us as we are. He doesn’t require we get our lives together before He invites into a relationship with Him, Bradley said.

“Jesus doesn’t need us, but He wants us in our mess,” said Bradley. “He says come to me, and I’ll clean you up. He accepts us where we are.”

Duremdes Christian Emphasis Week also included praise and worship sessions led by the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Norton Hall Band. In addition to performing and leading worship for the seminary, the band travels and leads praise and worship sessions for Christian ministry gatherings across the region. Comprised of lead singer Devon Kauflin, electric guitarist Jeff Dyke, drummer Jared Hoffman, pianist Jonatan Barahona, and bass player Micah Loggins, the group’s 2014 debut album, “Be Thou My Vision,” was named the favorite among top five college worship albums in Worship Leader Magazine.

“I enjoy how the school puts this on,” said BC freshman Carlee King about her first experience with Christian Emphasis Week. “Everybody needs a little revival once in a while. It’s not like our normal chapel services. I enjoyed it – the music, the preaching, everything.”

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