Some places are made for matchmaking.
I laughed out loud at the headline: “Bible College to Provide Complimentary Wives to Unmarried Ministry Graduates.” The Babylon Bee is a Christian satire website—they write fake articles for laughs—and this one “reported”: “At Moody Bible College, spring is always a mad dash as unmarried seniors look for a wife before graduation to support them in ministry (and write their sermons).”
“But now,” the fake article said, “administration will help. They’ll assign unmarried seniors a wife along with their degrees. Moody’s president explained, ‘We have to give these men all they need to succeed in ministry. That means a good wife. We can give them all the biblical education in the world, but if you don’t have a good wife, you’re not gonna make it.’”
Ha! The article, of course, was just a silly spoof. But it got two things right: 1. A good spouse will help you in ministry, and 2. Bible college is a great place to find that special someone. Some places are made for matchmaking.
I’m going to ask your help in playing Bible college matchmaker. Why? Keep reading…
When you come to a well in an Old Testament story, what kind of story are you in? Chances are, you’re in a romance. In the OT, wells are where men go to find wives. Isaac’s wife Rebekah, Jacob’s wife Rachel, and Moses’ wife Zipporah were all found at wells.
And don’t forget John 4. When the Samaritan woman meets Jesus after five husbands and a live-in boyfriend, Jesus is the seventh man in her life (John’s favorite number for completion). And as we read, because they meet at a well, we understand: she’s finally meeting the perfect Bridegroom.
Some places are made for matchmaking, and Bible colleges are modern-day “wells.” When we were Ozark Bible College, our nickname was Ozark “Bridal” College. (When OBC President Boatman heard that Gwen Gardner accepted fellow student Sam Stone’s proposal, he said, “I guess her heart has turned to Stone.”) It’s still true. In the evenings, our campus looks like Noah’s Ark: lots of students walking around two by two.
And that’s a good thing. Don’t get me wrong: Bible college’s primary purpose isn’t to connect couples, and you can have a rich life and ministry as a single (like Jesus and Paul). But I’m asking your help with Bible college matchmaking because I believe it’s a kingdom win. Why? Here’s how I met my wife Katie…
At the end of my freshman year, I was prepping to head out on a “camp team,” a singing group of four OCC students traveling to Christian camps all summer. But right before the tour began, our soprano got mononucleosis—out for the summer! The camp team coordinator Jeff called a few days later: “Matt, I’ve got a new soprano for your team. Come to my office, and I’ll introduce you to her.”
I’ll never forget the day. It was a bright, sunny May afternoon, and I walked across campus into Jeff’s office where he introduced me—for the very first time—to a young sophomore named Katie Bunton. I remember shaking her hand and looking into her eyes and thinking…
“Behold, God is good.”
She was beautiful! I quickly found out: Katie was also intelligent and talented and a natural born leader. At camps all summer, I saw her get up early each morning, slip off to a quiet place with her blue-cover Bible, and spend time with the Lord. That’s when I knew: I was in love.
And I knew I had no chance. I was a skinny, immature 19-year-old with a dumb haircut, a gap between my teeth, and bad taste in sweaters. But I took my shot. At the end of the summer, I asked her for a date. Katie’s answer? She wasn’t ready for that. She’d be glad to be friends. Ouch.
So here’s what I did…
Look at “girlfriend” and “girl friend”: that little space in the middle is called the “friendzone,” and that’s suddenly where Katie had put me. For 50 years, in 17,897 Peanuts strips, Charlie Brown pined for the Little Red-Haired Girl, but he never did anything about it. I determined: I would not be Charlie Brown.
That fall semester, my wooing offensive began. I hung out with Katie every chance I got. Library tables and Goodman Dorm lobby couches became my “well,” and at those places—conversation by conversation—the match was slowly made. Nothing fancy. Just time together. But by December, when I asked her out again, she said yes, and seventeen months later we were married. Friendzone to endzone!
Here’s why that matters…
Last month we celebrated 32 years of marriage. By God’s grace, over those 32 years, we’ve ministered to many people, sharing Christ way better together than we would have separately.
And the best thing we’ve done together? Our six kids. Malachi 2:15 says, “Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife?...And what does he want? Godly children from your union.” God is in the matchmaking business to make next-generation believers. We’re far from perfect parents. But our six kids are serving the Lord—three in vocational ministry (each found their spouse at Ozark)—and now more people are hearing about Jesus.
Why does Bible college matchmaking matter? Because a good match multiplies ministry.
I think of Charley (OBC ’57) and Judy Greer, another Bible college romance. Together they ministered to thousands, and now all five of their kids and many of their fifteen grandchildren are in ministry, sharing Christ around the world. I could name hundreds of Ozark couples who—through their marriage and their offspring—have seen their ministry multiplied, like five loaves and two fish to a multitude.
And it all started with a little Bible college matchmaking.
That’s where I need your help. More ministry marriages have started at OCC library tables and dorm lobby furniture than I can count—many first met at those “wells.” But it’s time to replace the library tables and some dorm lobby furniture this summer. The cost for library tables is $10,000, and one dorm’s lobby furniture is $10,000. Would you help us replace these tables, chairs, and couches for the next generation of Christian leaders?
I heard someone say: when you buy a drill bit, you’re really buying a hole in your wall, and you’re actually buying a family picture hanging safely from the anchor in that hole. We buy things, not for their features (carbon steel drill bit!), but for their benefits (family picture on the wall).
If you can help us toward that $20,000 goal, you’re not just buying solid wood library tables, but a place where students will dig into God’s Word. You’re not just buying comfy lobby chairs and couches, but a place where students will build friendships. And you might just be providing a place—kinda like Jacob’s Well—where marriages are made and ministry is multiplied.
Some places are made for matchmaking. So would you consider a generous gift to provide tables, chairs, and couches for the next generation of Ozark students?
Thanks for considering this, and thank you for partnering in our mission. Last month, we sent out 130 more graduates, and whether they minister as singles or couples, our graduates are taking the good news of Jesus Christ to the world…because of friends like you.
Yours in Christ,
P.S. Charley Greer is with the Lord now, but Judy still cooks in our cafeteria. Their kids and grandkids have ministered in—by my count, at least—California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Japan, Kansas, Mexico, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Thailand. One marriage=ministry multiplied stateside and worldwide!