Loren Rhoades, Assistant Features Editor
Everyone has their own story, a story with its own starting point. Brian and Christi Shobert’s story started at OBU. The Shobert’s are both OBU alumi who met while at the university.
Brian and Christi married while still attending OBU and have four children. Christi is a teacher at Foster Middle-Longview ISD, while Brian is currently the head pastor of Lifepoint Church of Longview Texas.
“After meeting Brian, I remember asking my mom, “I know I’m called to full time ministry, could full time ministry be in the capacity of a pastor’s wife?”” Christi said.
Christi came to OBU originally with a major in chemistry because she had felt God had called her to medical mission. She soon realized the medical field wasn’t where she was meant to be, and she changed her major to special education.
Brian was a ministry major while at OBU but originally wanted to receive a law degree from OU because that’s where he thought God had him.
“Over my senior year in high school specifically, I knew that’s not what God wanted me to do, but I wasn’t sure what that meant,” Brian said
With the help of different mentors at the church Brian was able to make to decision to pursue a degree in ministry at OBU. Although, Brian still didn’t feel completely sure of his choice.
“I remember telling God, “Alright I’ll do it your way, but if it doesn’t work out, it’s your fault not mine,”” he said.
Once at OBU, Brian was able to receive plenty of confirmation for being there. That confirmation specifically came from working with different churches in Shawnee. He says he was more involved with the churches than he personally was with the on-campus ministry.
“My biggest blessing while at OBU was serving at churches in the area,” he said. “Long term I really felt called to the church. It’s really hard to forget about the church because it is so spiritual in nature.”
Along with being impacted by serving at the churches, both Christi and Brian say that they were also impacted by different professors of their programs. Brian was personally impacted by Dr. Tom Wilks.
“Dr. Tom Wilks showed us young ministers so many practical things about serving and loving others that usually wasn’t taught,” Brian said. “I think of him and his influence often.”
Christi says she was influenced by Dr. Jimmie Russell who taught her how to bring faith into the workplace.
“Dr. Russell was an education professor who was very impactful on how I perceived education and ministry,” Christi said.
Brian also said he had a philosophy professor who helped him to process his faith and make it personal.
“I will never forget that philosophy class, the professor looked at us and challenged us to tell him why we believed what we believed. Only being a Christian for three years I didn’t know all the Sunday school answers, but I remember feeling like those answered were being attacked,” he said. “But he wasn’t attacking us, he was making us one with our own personal faith with the Lord.”
The couple says that these professors as well as different experiences at OBU are partially what have helped them to gain the mindset they have today, but their lives since then have still had their own impacts.
“I graduated in 1992 and Christi in 1993, so I hate to say this but it’s been so long ago that our own thought and spirituality has changed,” he said. “But really it was the ability to relationally connect with friends and professors in those early years that really were the formation of our lives.”
For Christi, it was specifically her faith that was influenced while at the university. She was able to pursue her faith on her own and learn how to use it in a new way.
“For me since I had a different background before I came to OBU I had faith but I hadn’t searched it out because I grew up in a pastor’s family, so at OBU I had to grow and become personally minded,” she said.