Posted by: Luther Rice College & Seminary | March 28, 2013

3 generations of Luther Rice alums

Bumpers family

Bumpers family story

When a father comes to Christ, his whole family line is blessed and transformed for God’s glory.  The Bumpers family is a living example of this truth statement.  In 1970, Harper Bumpers came to Christ at the age of 35 in 1970 while he was a sawyer in a saw mill in Alabama.  He was the first one to accept Christ in his whole family.  Sensing a call to ministry and the need for training, he moved his entire family to Jacksonville, Florida to start at Luther Rice in 1971.  He started with earning a Bachelor degree, then earned a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree, and finally a Doctorate of Ministry (DMin) degree all from Luther Rice.   He is still pastoring today after 40 years at same church, St Augustine Road Baptist in Jacksonville, FL.  He and his wife True were married for 46 years until her death in December 2000. 


This would be an amazing story if it ended with Harper but it does not.  Harper’s son Eddie was 9 years old when his family moved to Jacksonville for his Dad to attend Luther Rice.  He was later saved at age 18 in July 1981 and surrendered to the ministry in 1982.   Like his father, he attended Luther Rice for his Bachelor degree and later earning his MA degree.  While a student at Luther Rice, Eddie’s wife Tess served as Dr. Flanagan’s secretary.   Many years later, he began pastoring in Missouri at Broadway Baptist and realized he needed more education.  He needed an online option so he could continue at his church.  Once again, he reached out to Luther Rice.  He graduated with his MDiv at Luther Rice in 2010.    Eddie has been married to his wife Tess for 31 years in Apr 2013.  They have 3 kids—Jared (married), Jordan (married) & Bethany (in college).


Once again, the story of this family would be amazing if it ended with Eddie.  It does not because Eddie’s son Jared sensed a calling to vocational ministry.  He attended Baptist Bible College where he played baseball and God laid on his heart to pursue a MDiv degree at Luther Rice.  Both he and his father Eddie earned their MDiv from Luther Rice and graduated together in 2010. Jared has been married to Kim for 7.5 years and expecting first girl (no name yet) next month.  


Since Eddie and Jared’s experience had been so positive at Luther Rice, they decided to keep pursuing their education.  Jared challenged his father Eddie to pursue the DMin together.  He argued they can drive and fly together for seminars.  Eddie said okay we can do this and this would be an awesome opportunity to do together.  They both said it has been very challenging.  They have been challenged and learned more than they ever had.  Every part of their respective the ministries have been stretched and challenged throughout their studies.  The end is near and they graduate together in May 2013 with their respective DMin degrees.  


Asking them about their respective DMin projects caused them to be very excited.  Their projects have been approved and have already been sent to the printer to be bound.   Eddie’s project is focused on training Bible fellowship (Sunday School) teachers and growing leaders with the title, “Building Sunday School teachers.”  Jared’s project is titled, “Talk about Jesus.”  It is focused on training and equipping students to participate in evangelism. 


Asked if there is anything they would do differently in their DMin studies?  They said they should have taken research and writing class much earlier.  The DMRW 800 course with its focus on Terrabian, critical writing, how to defend position is very critical to one’s academic success.  Dr. Tony Guthrie is very precise and taught Jared how to truly do research.  They said Dr. Guthrie is very detailed so you can excel in those areas.  They were amazed at the amount of materials the LRU has access to in their system.  


Asked what the best part of the DMIN program at LRU?  It was enhancing his expository preaching for Eddie.  Jared spoke about the confidence that comes with learning and applying what you have learned.  He said it is very exciting to immediately see the impact it makes upon your ministry and how it affects your local church context.


Eddie and Jared serve at the same church, Crossway Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri.   Eddie has served as Senior Pastor for 12 years while Jared has served as Student Minister for 5 years.  Crossway was originally Broadway Baptist Church.  Started as Broadway Baptist on Broadway Avenue where they outgrew their 38,000 square foot space.  The church built a new 100,000 square foot facility on a new location and relocated last year in October 2012.  Because of the new location (no longer on Broadway Avenue), they renamed the church to Crossway Baptist.  Since October 2012, they have had to expand already and go to two services because one service filled up the auditorium.


The Bumpers family story is an inspiring and God honoring story.  I have been blessed and incredibly moved at how God can completely transform a family line for His Kingdom when one father comes to Christ.  To God be the Glory for the Bumpers family!




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