Students, staff, faculty members and their families were not the only ones who flocked to the lawn north of Southwestern Seminary’s B.H. Carroll Memorial Building, Sept. 1. The seminary’s fall 2011 campus picnic and church fair also attracted a drove of goats, chickens, sheep and a donkey.

During this campus picnic and church fair, children within the seminary community enjoyed a petting zoo provided by Travis Avenue Baptist Church, as well as bounce houses. Meanwhile, kids of all ages mustered up their courage to ride a mechanical bull. And everybody enjoyed free Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, served with free tea and chips.

While kids played with goats in the petting zoo, local churches tried to draw sheep to their ministries.

They set up booths on the seminary lawn, handed out giveaways and promoted ministry opportunities to students.

“It’s great to see a lot of the people who were former students that came to look for churches are now running the booths and ministries,” said student Graham Floyd.

According to James Williams, assistant director of Student Life, the seminary was happy to provide an opportunity for seminary students to gather and “develop friendships with others in the same area of life.” It also had the potential for opening doors to local church ministry.

“There are several new students on campus who have moved far away from their home churches, and we want to make sure they get plugged in with a local church,” Williams said. “Getting involved with a local church is vital to a person’s spiritual walk as any person will inevitably grow cold and distant from the Lord if they are not involved in a local church, even while studying theology in the classroom.

“There is also a benefit for the churches who come, as many of them are seeking men and women who are qualified to serve in different capacities.”

Williams expressed gratitude to local churches for taking the time “to minister to students at Southwestern” and invite them to join what God is doing in their congregations.

 “We also want to thank our sponsoring churches,” Williams said, “as their generous donations helped provide free Chick-Fil-A to over 2,000 Southwestern Seminary students, faculty and families.”