Student Profile: Jon Schimpf '23
Where do you call home?
Cherry Hill, NJ
Theatre with a Certificate in Arts Administration
Why did you choose Covenant?
I actually didn’t pursue Covenant; rather, Covenant pursued me. My admissions counselors constantly emphasized Covenant’s values and what the community is like, and I realized that I couldn’t find anything like Covenant anywhere else. The intentionality I experienced with the admissions department was only a taste of the purposeful relationships that I would make here at Covenant.
What aspect of Covenant do you like the best?
Covenant’s community does such a good job at reflecting the body of Christ. I am a firm believer that there is a spot for everyone here at Covenant to express their God-given gifts and talents and to work in unity with other students and faculty members alike.
Which professor(s) has most impacted your thinking, and how?
Professor Hallstrom has taught me so much and has challenged the way that I view art and theatre. In Christian circles, art can often seem like an ostracizing activity, but Professor Hallstrom has shown me that art and theatre are not only ways we can worship the Lord, but they are also ways to minister to non-believers. By telling stories that teach biblical virtues in beautiful and thought-provoking ways, art and theatre can minister in ways that other forms of ministry may not be able to.
What do you most enjoy about your major?
Because the theatre department at Covenant is small compared to some other schools, there are so many opportunities for us in the department that other, larger schools may not be able to offer. I am not just another “aspiring actor;” instead, I am a student who the professors personally pour into. They have provided me with opportunities to test the waters with different activities. For instance, as a sophomore, I am able to (and even encouraged to!) direct a play on campus, which is something that students at other schools usually might not do until their senior year.
Can you give an example of how core classes tie into your other classes?
I can’t even begin to count the number of times that subjects I was learning about in a core class poured over into my specialized classes and gave me an extra edge on certain assignments or essays. I’m often assigned something and say to myself “Hey! We talked about that in Cultural Heritage of the West!” Immediately, I know more about that particular subject and also have something to compare and contrast it to, further deepening my understanding of the subject. The fact that I can immediately utilize the knowledge I am gaining from my core classes and use them in my other classes is all the assurance I need to know that the core classes will also influence my post-grad life.
What do you hope to pursue after graduation?
I would love to teach theatre and artistic design. I feel particularly called to pursue teaching young people in areas that don’t have solid arts programs due to lack of school/community funding.
How is Covenant preparing you for success in your calling?
The Certificate in Arts Administration that Covenant is now offering allows me to not only study the art that I am most passionate about, but it also aids me in stepping up as a leader in the world of the arts. People don’t often view the arts scene as a place of ministry, but it definitely can be. It is desperately in need of spiritually-grounded artists who are good at what they do and also not afraid to be lights for the Kingdom of God. Covenant’s professors are equipping me and helping me build the foundation to do just that.
How is Covenant equipping you for active membership in the church?
Due to Covenant’s convenient location in the “Bible Belt,” there is no shortage of churches in the area. This vast array encompasses different denominations, worship styles, etc. and has really taught me how to connect with different church communities and find a church where I feel comfortable. I’m definitely being prepared for my post-Covenant life by learning to find a church and recognizing what is important in a church.
In what ways does Covenant foster spiritual growth?
Because we are encouraged to ultimately look to God no matter what we are studying, it is very hard to not see God’s truth in all the things that we do on campus. Conversations with professors and other students, in regards to topics from the classroom, will more often than not heavily involve the goodness of the Lord.
How does residence life add to/support your academic, professional, and/or spiritual development?
I have learned more about the body of Christ just by living on Covenant’s campus than I have at any church. One of my favorite things about my hall is that though we are all very different, we are bound together by our love of God, our desire to learn more about him, and our desire to love each other and others just as Jesus did. The way we love each other, lift each other up, and use our gifts to ultimately worship God reminds me of the way that II Corinthians 12 describes the body of Christ and the church.
How have your relationships at Covenant shaped your expectations for the other communities God will call you to in life?
My relationships with people at Covenant have shown me that other people's differences aren't something that should stand between me and them, but rather, they are something we should embrace. Communities are built upon people’s different gifts and talents and passions, and Covenant does a great job inspiring that type of community.
What’s your favorite way to spend free time on and/or off campus?
One of my favorite things to do is definitely going on walks with friends. Whether it’s on a hiking trail or just on the sidewalks on campus, it’s such a great way to catch up with people while taking in the beauty of the campus and Lookout Mountain.