Seminary Hopeful Marquice Hobbs Blends Leadership with Faith
As the head of the executive branch of student government at Stephen F. Austin University, Marquice Hobbs is setting his sights on finishing his philosophy degree this summer and heading to seminary.
When it comes to Investing in the Young, the congregation at Jones Memorial UMC, Houston is getting a huge “return on investment” on Marquice Hobbs, who is currently a senior at Stephen F. Austin University. He was recently featured in the Nacogdoches newspaper the Daily Sentinel for his role in creating the Student Center Director’s Advisory Council to give students a greater voice on campus. After several months of legislation in the student government’s Senate, Marquice celebrated progress: the council was formed from members of the office of multicultural affairs, student government, the Student Activities Association and Greek Council. Among his proudest moments: helping start the Archie McDonald Speaker Series and other activities focused on the inclusion of more students.
Preparation for leadership
Since receiving Christ as a teenager while attending camp at Lakeview, Marquice has felt the loving support of his home church, and many other adults who have spoken encouragement into his life. As he counts down to college graduation and begins to apply to seminaries across the nation, he feels thankful for the many opportunities God has put in his path. People and activities are helping to hone his leadership skills and allow him to positively impact many organizations, churches and endeavors as a natural leader.
“When I was a teenager, my church felt like one big family,” recalls Marquice, “and I bet every single person gave me a little piece of advice as I was growing up. I have a great appreciation for the people and experiences God has put in my life – including the privilege of traveling to Jerusalem on a trip led by my former pastor, Dr. Don Waddleton.” Adds Marquice, “It was pretty eye opening to see places referenced in the Bible and to have the chance to provide the devotional on the trip in both Jericho and at the Sea of Galilee!”
As a high school student, he sharpened his natural leadership ability by serving as the Conference Youth Council President for two years, attending Texas Youth Academy, and serving as president of his church youth group of several dozen students. Among other things, he has long been active in Sunday school, choir, UM ARMY, Youth 2011 and service projects for the homeless and other groups.
Transitioning to college at Stephen F. Austin a few years later, his activities initially centered on the Wesley Foundation where he co-led a Bible study for several years, became a certified candidate for ministry and served as a jurisdictional conference delegate. The summer of his sophomore year, he served Foundry UMC, Houston as a participant of the TAC College Pastoral Intern Project. “It worked out that there was no arranged housing for me during the beginning of the internship, so I stayed with the pastor’s family for a while. Everyone grew to like me, so I got to stay with the pastor and his family the entire internship which was an especially neat experience,” he shares. “I got to see the life of the pastor at church and at home and witness his character in both settings as he managed church and family. The next summer I interned at Wesley UMC, Beaumont which provided even more life lessons and insight into fulltime ministry.”
Being featured in the Daily Sentinel for his visible role in student government was one of his life highlights. “I have been student body president for two years, active in the NAACP, and chaplain for the Men of Achievement group,” he adds. His best leadership secret: “When I join an organization or project I work hard to be dedicated with everything I’ve got. People tend to look up to passionate, responsible people, so I guess that is how I end up leading in so many areas. I also attribute some of those characteristic values to many people who mentored and nurtured me along the way.”
His prayer is that other youth will find their calling and support network in much the same fashion. “It’s not hard to get youth involved in church, really,” he shares. “We held worship on a basketball court in my home church, but when that court was open during the week, it would be filled with students from the community. I believe churches just need to take advantage of those opportunities and make themselves available to encourage them and build relationships by reaching out in the simplest of ways like Jesus did with shepherds and fishermen.”
He practices what he preaches in his own life. “I find that I can best share Christ in a personal relationship as it is deepening. I am even bold enough to mention God in my report at the Board of Regents meetings.” In his search for what seminary to attend, he admits they are all scholarly and prestigious in their own way, adding, “So I am fully leaning on God’s direction. I have applied to Emory and Duke, and I hope to attend Emory. I’m still waiting on their decision for admission and scholarship, but Duke has offered me a full ride, which is hard to beat. Nonetheless, I hopefully should know this month where I will spend my next three years.”
His former pastor and longtime encourager Dr. Don Waddleton is still cheering from the sidelines. “Marquice is a very gifted young man and a great asset to the Texas Annual Conference.”