BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Rev. Jack Hinnen, associate pastor and primary minister for the contemporary services at Riverchase United Methodist Church in Hoover, is the new campus chaplain at Birmingham-Southern College.
Incoming Birmingham-Southern President Gen. Charles C. Krulak made the announcement today following a search aided by the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church. Hinnen will begin his new duties at BSC in June.
Birmingham-Southern is a United Methodist Church-affiliated institution. The chaplaincy at the college is an endowed appointment for a United Methodist minister.
“It takes a special person with a special heart to be a campus chaplain,” said Krulak in making the announcement. “Jack Hinnen is a Godly man with that special heart for campus ministry. He has a remarkable record of nurturing and developing the spiritual lives of young people, and we are excited about the level of devotion, care, concern, and selflessness he will bring to our students and to our entire campus community at Birmingham-Southern.
“The United Methodist Church is an important part of our history and our future, and we are extremely appreciative of the assistance they provided in bringing Jack to Birmingham-Southern College.”
An ordained United Methodist elder, Hinnen has been associate pastor at Riverchase since 2006. Under his ministry, attendance at the “SonDay Live” contemporary services tripled, and a new contemporary service, “The Shoals”, was begun. He also taught various Sunday School and religious education classes at Riverchase; led multiple mission trips to Jamaica and to areas around the United States; oversaw two highly successful stewardship campaigns, one producing the most families pledging in the church’s history; and served as the primary speaker at youth and adult retreats and other church gatherings.
Prior to joining the ministry staff at Riverchase, Hinnen was student pastor for the Liberty Hill Circuit of the United Methodist Church in Ashland, which included responsibility for congregants in the communities of Ashland, Hackneyville, and Shady Grove.
In 2008-09, he was one of 50 clergy from around the nation chosen to participate in the Young Pastors Network. Hinnen also is active at Camp Sumatanga, a United Methodist Church spiritual retreat about 40 miles northeast of Birmingham in Gallant, where he has been a camp counselor since 1996, a camp director since 2004, a member of the Board of Trustees since 2006, and secretary of the board since 2010.
A native of Dadeville, Hinnen earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Auburn University in 2003, where he was involved in the Auburn Wesley Foundation as fellowship coordinator on the leadership team, resident manager, Bible study leader, and team leader on a Habitat for Humanity build to Tanzania. He received a master’s of divinity degree from Emory University in 2006.
Hinnen’s wife, Cheryl, is the children’s minister at Eastlake United Methodist Church in Birmingham.
“I am blessed to be the new chaplain at Birmingham-Southern and to have the opportunity to participate in the life of one of the best colleges in the nation at a pivotal time in its history,” said Hinnen. “I’ve heard General Krulak say that there is a bright future ahead for Birmingham-Southern, and I’m fortunate to be involved in that transformation. There are amazing opportunities for growth, faithfulness, and re-visioning in these exciting days ahead, and I look forward to helping students, faculty, and staff feel encouraged and supported in their faith by Birmingham-Southern, the United Methodist Church, and the faith community at large.”
The role of the chaplain at Birmingham-Southern is to help fulfill the historic commitment of the United Methodist Church to higher education and to provide a religious life program of balance, depth, and substance appropriate to and in support of the mission of the college, including opportunities for worship, study, pastoral care, and interfaith dialogue.
“Out of our church’s deep love for and pride in Birmingham-Southern, we are so pleased to offer the college one of our most talented young elders,” said Bishop Will Willimon, bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church. “Jack has led a remarkable ministry at Riverchase UMC, particularly among young adults. I am confident that he will be a great asset to our beloved college during these days of crucial transition.”
A $1 million anonymous contribution to the college’s Destiny: Delivered comprehensive gifts campaign in 2008 endowed the BSC chaplaincy program. It is one of the only endowed chaplaincy programs on a United Methodist Church-related college or university campus in the United States.