After midterm break, Pastor Joseph Khabbaz will officially move to Southern and become the new Spiritual Life Vice President on campus. Along with his wife, Christina, Khabbaz will work closely with the president’s cabinet to supply students with a richer religious experience.
Joining Southern from Sligo Seventh-day Adventist church in Maryland, Khabbaz exemplifies everything the search committee was looking for in a leader. The committee wanted someone who could continue the projects that were already implemented, but also incorporate their own fresh ideas. Despite these immense responsibilities, their primary virtue was simply someone who loves Jesus.
“He will serve as a catalyst for campus spiritual life,” associate chaplain Anna Bennett said. “It is absolutely clear Joseph has an authentic relationship with Jesus. It shows in his smile, in his marriage, in his call to ministry and his genuine love for people.”
His primary background comes from youth ministry as he served as a youth pastor at Sligo church. Not only is he responsible for providing students with opportunities to grow spiritually, but he is also tasked with empowering other faculty to improve their lives.
“We want to wave the flag of spiritual life as high as possible on our campus,” President David Smith said. “Once we learned about Joseph and then met him, we wondered why we didn’t all know him before.”
According to Smith, this role’s responsibilities replaced the need for campus ministries’ chaplain position, a role held in interim by Anna Bennet for the school year of 2018-2019, so there was no need to increase the budget in order to fit the payroll of this position.