impact of our scholarships
Jimmy Latham’s journey to full-time ministry is an unfolding story of the power of influence – the influence of Christian mentors. As he tells his story, Jimmy’s gratitude for his mentors comes through loud and clear. It’s a story of personal connection. Investment. Encouragement. It’s about the Holy Spirit speaking through others to help him trust in the Lord’s leading.
Definition: “A mentor is someone whose hindsight can become another’s foresight.”
In Jimmy’s case, the wise counsel and steady reassurance he received from Christian leaders gradually guided him into Kingdom service. First developing a heart for ministry during his junior year in high school, he credits Young Life for laying the bedrock of faith and fellowship in him. His Young Life leaders modeled how to live by the Gospel, spoke it into him, and lit his fire for ministry. They saw in him God-given talents and shored him up as he grew in his faith. At UTC, as a Young Life leader himself, Jimmy began to slowly and subtly trust that the Lord was leading him along the path of ministry.
It has been said that a discerning heart seeks knowledge and so it is with Jimmy. After serving as Youth Director at Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church (SMPC) for five years, he realized that he wanted to know more. With the help a Dora Maclellan Brown Scholarship from the Generosity Trust, he began to steadily fulfill the hours needed to earn his Masters of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS.) For three years, he pursued his studies while continuing to work full-time at SMPC. Challenging to say the least.
In the summer of 2018, he and his wife Callie decided to move to Charlotte, North Carolina, so that Jimmy could focus more fully on his studies at the Charlotte campus of RTS. They were reassured that the move was right when they sold their house in Chattanooga in one day. Landing “swiftly and softly” in Charlotte, they found themselves attending Hope Community Church (HCC) – a church family recommended by one of Jimmy’s colleagues and mentors at SMPC. The church’s deep-seated commitment to biblical preaching and its heart for embracing diversity resonated deeply with both of them.
The couple’s relocation to Charlotte marked the first time in their marriage that they “started fresh together as a couple.” This renewed partnership has energized them both and has helped them grow closer to each other and to the Lord. At HCC, Jimmy and Callie have helped build a network of fellowship and support for young adults. Jimmy has also been involved in the Men’s Ministry as the coordinator for quarterly gatherings and is preaching periodically at other churches in their region. The constant opportunity for connection and involvement has bolstered their purpose and has brought greater appreciation for the scholarship that has enabled them to serve.
In April of 2017, when Jimmy first read the email from TGT awarding him the Dora Maclellan Brown Scholarship, the reality hit him hard. “Knowing that my education would be paid for, our finances would not be depleted, and our future in His hands” was overwhelming. He and Callie consider the scholarship from The Generosity Trust “the absolute cornerstone” that has made their life in ministry possible.
Jimmy has felt the hand of the Lord in his life for many years, especially during his 10-year marriage to Callie. He expects to graduate from RTS in 2020 and is a candidate for ordination through Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC). As for the future, the Lathams are open to God’s path for them. “Trusting in His plan is an important part of our journey.” Having benefitted from the wisdom and advice of mentors along the way, Jimmy and Callie are looking forward to the opportunity to guiding others to follow God’s calling.
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