When the beloved Dr. Kidd announced last June that he would be stepping down from his position as Director of Campus Ministries, the entire Regent community reacted with shock. So universally loved and respected was Kidd that his departure was met with sincere and heartfelt disappointment by much of the student body. And with no immediate successor in position to take over, many were left wondering who would fill the gaping hole left in his place. Whoever it was, they would have some sizeable shoes to fill.
Amidst all the speculation, one potential candidate stood out as an obvious choice. Well-known among students for speaking regularly at UnChapel and leading the campus worship team, Jason Peaks had come to build a solid reputation during his time at the school. With his unique ability to connect with students on a personal level and his evident love for Christ, he seemed a good fit. Add to this three years of experience as Regent’s Discipleship Coordinator and two Masters Degrees, and his qualifications become even more apparent. It makes sense, then, that the first question on most people’s minds was whether Peaks would be taking the helm.
This finally became a reality last week when it was announced that Peaks was the new Director of Campus Ministries. As the new Director, he has officially been tasked with fostering the spiritual community at Regent by overseeing things such as mission trips, chapel services, lifegroups and other various functions. So what does this mean for the Regent community as a whole?
One thing Peaks hopes to do as Director is focus more on Christ. “I know that sounds kind of silly and maybe a little trite, but I think it’s really easy—even in a Christian school—to kind of wander away into opinions and thoughts,” he said in a recent interview with The Daily Runner. “I’d love to focus more on the life of Jesus and focus on the life he lived and the way he lived, and try to encourage students to live in a similar fashion.”
In spite of this mission, some are not entirely convinced about the promotion. With his suave haircut and stylish dress, 29-year-old Peaks is considerably younger than both Dr. Kidd and his temporary replacement Dr. Hill. This raises an important question—as a young twenty-something, is Peaks adequately prepared to take on this role?
If he has any doubts, he certainly doesn’t show them. “Dr. Bobby Hill has been a great help to me, as well as Dr. Kidd previously,” he says. “I know there are always areas to grow in, and I’m looking forward to growing in those areas. But I think I can do the job, and I’m excited to be offered the position. It’s a huge honor for me. . . being such a young man, to be able to lead people.”
Detractors of his youth are not the only challenge facing Peaks as Director. As Regent continues its efforts to grow and expand, some wonder if perhaps the school’s spiritual vitality may be at stake. Will a larger student body with more outside influences jeopardize the spiritual aspect that has come to define Regent? Peaks does not view this as an issue. “When I first came here a few years ago, the university—specifically the undergrad—was a lot smaller. . . I think the first year I was here, there wasn’t more than like 50 students on campus. [Compared] to now, there’s a lot more. And so I haven’t seen a diminish in spirituality since I’ve been here. If anything I might’ve even seen an increase. And I think that that really has to do with such great students that we have coming to the school right now.”
While there are no significant changes on the horizon for Campus Ministries, Peaks did mention some restructuring of the organization to better meet the spiritual needs of the students. Overall, he says, “I’m excited about what’s currently going on here at the university, and I’m just hoping to continue to grow in my role here and to really help see. . . the spirituality of students grow at a pace that they’ve never had before.”