Hawaii adjunct leads many to God through Bible classes

Note: This is the first in a three-part series of stories about the spiritual impact of Christian education.

AIEA, HAWAII – Rob Lockridge is familiar with spiritual transformation. In his six years of serving as adjunct instructor in religion at Wayland Baptist University’s campus in Hawaii, Lockridge has seen plenty of students go from a total disinterest and disdain for the Bible to accepting Jesus as their savior.

“On the first night of class, most people, quite frankly, don’t want to be in a Bible class, and they don’t know why they have to take a religion class to get their degree,” Lockridge said. “But by the last night of class, many of them realize there is something different about this book. It’s so interesting to watch the transformation.”

Like many Christian universities, Wayland requires all students to take Old Testament History and New Testament History as core courses. On many of Wayland’s external campuses (Hawaii is one of 12) this requirement is difficult for some to swallow.

The primarily adult students at these campuses come from varied backgrounds and many attend Wayland out of convenience or for its affordability. Military personnel especially like Wayland’s programs because they help them pull their diverse credits into a degree and campuses are located on many military bases. Hawaii is a perfect example.

“Many of our students are not churched, many grew up in a Buddhist background and have never heard the Gospel message,” Lockridge said. “They begin to find out that the preconceived notions about church and Christianity that they have are just not true.”

Lockridge’s evangelism of his students is not what many might expect. He doesn’t preach, but simply presents the Word of God in the context of his classes and lets the Holy Spirit do the rest.

“I’m there to go through the Bible with them and the history. In the process of doing that, and looking over the historical accuracy of the document and relating it to today’s events, the students themselves will start to wonder,” he said.

Sometimes during the term, students will approach Lockridge for answers to more questions about the Bible or about Christianity, and he said he makes himself available by phone and email for that purpose. One man accepted Christ after a class period where the Ten Commandments were discussed, and he was convicted by the spirit about an adulterous relationship. But the biggest harvest comes when the class is wrapping up.

“On the last night of class, I talk about what it means to be a Christian, using the Baptist Hymnal. I talk about how a Christian is someone that trusts in the Lord and tries to follow Him and talk to Him,” he said. “I also give my testimony about being a former military person who was pretty anti-Christian, and a lot of them can relate to my story.”

Through the instruction, many have been exposed to Christian principles and have embraced the truth.

In his six years of teaching, Lockridge said he’s always had at least one person accept Christ.

“We have this university in Texas, on a military base in Hawaii, and people are coming to Jesus,” he said, marveling. “To me it’s just an awesome thing to me that things are coming together and that God is working in that way. We talk about the Great Commission, about going and making disciples, and that’s happening! God’s word is just as effective and convincing and convicting out here as it was in Jerusalem and there in Plainview.”

Lockridge said he feels the keys are staying true to the Bible and letting God speak through it and being real and, at times, vulnerable to sharing personal experiences with students. Though he minimizes that in the classroom, he is open to sharing if anyone asks. He also bathes each term in prayer, praying for the roster of students by name before he ever meets the first class.

By day, Lockridge is campus minister at Hawaii Baptist Academy, a K-12 school with 1,100 enrollment and a strong Christian heritage. Wayland’s Hawaii campus offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees on several military installations in Hawaii, with an enrollment of nearly 500.