Vienna, W.Va.—Students at Ohio Valley University have discovered a way to serve others and receive a scholarship at the same time. OVU calls the program Niche Groups.
Here’s how they work. While pursuing an academic major, students earn a scholarship (up to $38,000.00 for 4 years) while being engaged in their passion. Like an athletic scholarship, students apply, are selected, and work in the Niche Group.
Currently thirty-eight students are part of the Missions Niche Group. The purpose of the Missions Niche Group is to help students learn about mission work as they engage in local, state and international missions.
Candice Frerot, a junior education major from Stratsbourg, France, says, “I learned there is a difference between long and short term missions, and how difficult it is to have a lasting impact on lives if the work is not continued.” Junior, Sydnee Dimick a Business Administration major from Stillwater, Oklahoma notes, “the Niche Group is the reason I decided to come to OVU and I couldn’t be more blessed with having done so.”
Locally, the students attend the World Mission Workshop, an annual gathering of missionaries, professors of missions and students interested in missions. Students are also involved in campus enrichment, and work with their home congregations during the summer.
Outside Vienna, the students work with RAM (Rural America Ministries). This ministry, born out of the awareness of the increasing spiritual decline of rural America, has a vision of bringing the grace and truth of Jesus into rural communities. Recruiting students from Christian universities for short term missions, RAM brings hope to rural communities where there is moral and spiritual decay.
International missions by individual Niche Group students include working in Romania, China, France, and Honduras. In the first two years, the Niche Group has completed sixty-eight mission trips. The Missions Niche Group is led by alumnus, Nathan Greene, a local minster for the Barlow Vincent Church of Christ.
“The goal of the missions niche group at Ohio Valley University is not to turn everyone into international missionaries,” Greene shared.
“I encourage it, yet highly recommend a Bible degree in mission for that. Our goal is to send out our numerous mission graduates to the churches in which they will be placing their membership. Once settled in, they have been trained to set up local mission programs dealing with numerous types of mission efforts. Given 8-10 years we will have hundreds of churches across our nation benefiting from this program.”
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Chartered in 1958, Ohio Valley University is a faith-based, residential, liberal arts college founded by members of the Church of Christ. Students of all faiths are accepted and encouraged to apply. The university offers a variety of baccalaureate and master’s degrees to students from 26 states and 25 nations. To learn more visit www.ovu.edu.