Keeping it In the Family
Dora Maclellan Brown Scholarships – Jessica Fikkert, DMB Scholar, ’17, and Josh Fikkert, DMB Scholar, ’19
The Fikkert “family ethos” is one of ministry. So, for siblings Jessica and Josh Fikkert, it makes perfect sense that they have each found themselves as Dora Maclellan Brown Scholars as Divinity students. One might expect that careers in ministry were “no brainers” for this pair. They grew up in a Christian home, attended Chattanooga Christian School, Covenant College, and New City Fellowship. Their parents are each involved in non-profit ministries that they were instrumental in founding. Yet the siblings never felt any parental pressure to enter ministry work. Instead, their parents modeled how to serve Christ and His Kingdom at work and home. Encouraged to do whatever God called them to do, Jessica and Josh both heard the call to serve God vocationally.
For Jessica, the call to serve came while she was at Covenant College. As an undergraduate, she fell in love with Biblical studies and was introduced to the idea of the mission of God–that since the Garden, God has been on mission to bless the nations, and He calls us to take part in His mission. She is grateful for the influence of Covenant College hermeneutics professor Dan MacDougall, who helped her realize that she needed to switch her major to Biblical and Theological Studies. She continued along that path, “soaking in the Gospel, learning grace, and sharing God’s love with others” at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis and is enjoying her first job after having received her degree.
At Seven Rivers, a PCA church in Lecanto, FL, Jessica is experiencing every aspect of church life. She is honored to work with those who understand “how God’s love changes people and changes us.” Jessica’s immersion in God’s Word is lifelong; yet she is in awe of new teachings and insights she discovers. She trusts that the right doors will open for her in the future and is considering the possibility of pursuing a doctorate.
Josh, an athlete who double-majored in Community Development and Philosophy at Covenant College, found an ideal fit in his first job at Chattanooga Sports Ministry. There he had the opportunity to coach those with a passion for sports, lead them in Bible study, and see God’s transformative power in their lives. The experience confirmed that he was in the right type of work. For Josh, ministry is an opportunity to share God’s Word and see it “transform others and himself at the same time.” That statement echoed his sister’s heart, reflecting their shared commitment to a mission-minded approach to life.
Although Josh knew he wanted to go into ministry, he resisted the notion of serving as a pastor. It took a conversation with one of his undergraduate professors, Dr. Kelly Kapic, for him to realize he couldn’t “deny his heart to serve.” Kapic’s words jolted Josh into reality. Now, his plans are to pastor a church and teach at a college or seminary. Currently, Josh and his wife, Morgan, attend Covenant Theological Seminar in St. Louis, MO, where they seek Masters’ degrees in Divinity.
Both Jessica and Josh vividly recall their interviews when applying for the Dora Maclellan Brown Scholarship from The Generosity Trust. Jessica valued the opportunity to reflect on her theology in a discerning way. “I sensed that the (interview) team was for me, even if I didn’t get the scholarship. And when I received the scholarship, it was incredibly encouraging to know God’s plan for my life was unfolding.” Josh also felt warmth and kindness throughout the process. “It was an experience of clarity in describing my calling. I knew it was a serious interview, and I consider that an unexpected blessing.” Both now realize that the committee’s questions were a foretaste of what they would experience in seminary.
As Dora Maclellan Brown Scholars, Jessica and Josh believe that their seminary education is God’s provision. “Even though money can be tight,” mentioned Josh, “God is using His people through the Generosity Trust to take care of me.” Jessica chimed in, “It’s about trusting Him to provide.” They both feel blessed to “have a group of people behind you, praying for and supporting you.” The Generosity Trust is grateful to its founder, Dora Maclellan Brown, for her vision to assist ministry leaders from Chattanooga in furthering their education. Since the mid-sixties, just under 500 ministry leaders have received funding in her name.
Fikkert Family Fun Facts:
- Jessica was behind Josh’s asking his wife Morgan out, although it took him a while.
- Mom, Jill is the co-founder of LifeSpring Community Health Clinic and currently the Director of Nursing.
- Father, Brian, is the Founder and President of The Chalmers Center.
- Sister, Anna, is a junior at Covenant College with a passion for health care.
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