DBU Honors OurCalling at the 17th Annual Community Partner Appreciation Luncheon

Co-founders of OurCalling Pastor Wayne Walker and Carolyn Walker with Desi Henk and President Adam Wright on DBU's campus in Dallas

Each year, Dallas Baptist University hosts a special luncheon to show appreciation for the dozens of community partners in the DFW area. Desi Henk, Assistant Vice President of the Center for Career & Professional Development, kicked the event off by welcoming the ministry partners and thanking them for their service to the community. Desi celebrated that DBU students have volunteered over 150,000 hours serving at these ministries, and he also thanked the Church Ambassador Network of Texas for sponsoring this year's luncheon.

After a brief invocation from DBU Provost Norma Hedin and a word of encouragement from DBU President Dr. Adam C. Wright, Pastor Chris Simmons of Cornerstone Baptist Church delivered the keynote message. Pastor Simmons encouraged the audience by reading the story of Jesus' overturning tables in Mark 11. Jesus was filled with righteous anger because people who had traveled to Jerusalem for Passover were taken advantage of by those offering money exchanges and selling animals for extreme prices at the temple grounds. Jesus was especially upset that these people were taking advantage of those who could only afford doves, the cheapest option for sacrifice. Pastor Simmons thanked the community partners in the room for creating these ministries that seek out those "who can only afford doves." Pastor Simmons continued, "We are called to care for those who are poor and vulnerable and require concern, care, and compassion. I am encouraged to be in a room filled with leaders committed to helping those who would have had to bring a dove to that site, the hurting, broken, and the outcasts."

After the message, DBU alumni Tamerick Brazzell and Domingo Garza performed a special rendition of Blessed Assurance. Then, Desi Henk returned to the stage to present the Community Partner of the Year award to OurCalling, a ministry dedicated to bringing the Gospel of Christ to the homeless. Pastor Wayne Walker and his wife, Carolyn, founded OurCalling in 2001 when they gathered a group of people who shared a heart for the homeless and started ministering to them and serving food. They quickly realized that the homeless need more than food and shelter; they need a community. In 2009, OurCalling was officially classified as a non-profit, and in 2011, they opened their first physical location in Dallas. Since then, they have served the homeless population in Dallas by focusing on rehabilitation, restoration, and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. In the last year alone, OurCalling helped 1,359 people off the streets and served 140,000 meals to those in need.

Pastor Walker thanked DBU for sending hundreds of student volunteers throughout the years and expressed his gratitude for the award: "We should not be getting this award. God is responsible for the success of OurCalling, and everything we have accomplished has been through Him alone. I am so encouraged to be in a room filled with dedicated believers who pour everything they have into serving others. DBU has been a loyal supporter of us for a long time, and it's all thanks to the Lord because he always sends the most amazing people our way."

Written by Cameron Billings

Cameron Billings is the Assistant Director of Written Content in University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.