by Breanna Beers
Brianna Ackerman, an Ohio native with a passion for discipleship, is excited to pour into 230 college women in what she calls her “dream job” as resident director in Maddox.
However, Cedarville University was not originally part of Ackerman’s plan. She moved here in 2016 when she married her husband, Daniel Ackerman, a Masters of Divinity student at Cedarville. The move required her to leave her family and friends in her hometown of Wooster and give up her job with a nonprofit organization that provides domestic violence and addiction services.
“I was a little reluctant at first — to move, not to be married,” she said with a laugh.
After working as a personal banker for a year, Ackerman was hired as the administrative assistant in Cedarville Department of History and Government in October 2017. She loved this role, relishing her interactions with students both as a part of her work and outside of it. Over the next two years, she became a friend and mentor to several female students.
When her husband joined Discipleship Council that fall, she did too, despite not being a student. Together, they established a small group for married students and their spouses called Tied and True. The group arose organically, Ackerman said, from the need she saw on campus as the spouse of a student herself.
“There are a lot of resources before you’re married here, and then you get married and you’re kind of banished to married housing and you have to figure everything out on your own,” Ackerman said.
The men’s and women’s small groups meet separately every week, coming together for a panel discussion once a month. This venue provides young husbands and wives the chance to process through the challenges and blessings of married student life with others experiencing the same things. For spouses of students, who are only in Cedarville temporarily, Tied and True provides community in an often difficult transitory season.
“It can be very easy to be married and be isolated,” Ackerman said. “You’re off campus, and it’s harder to get connected to things and be involved in things, but your marriage is way sweeter with a solid community … of not just married people, not just single people, but a wide variety of different circles.”
Over the last two years, the women’s group has tripled in size from 8 to 25. Interested students can register for Tied and True this year at cedarville.edu.
While initially hesitant, Ackerman applied for the Maddox RD position with encouragement from Daniel and her friends, who saw Ackerman’s passion for discipleship.
“The things I was filling my time with outside of work are now my actual job,” Ackerman said. “It’s just a privilege to be able to have those conversations and be trusted with some of those things.”
While her new role requires her to mostly pass the torch of Tied and True on to some new leaders, Ackerman looks back at her time with Discipleship Ministries as formative for her new position as resident director.
“So much of what I know about discipleship and reading Scripture is from that season,” Ackerman said. “It was always sweet for me to be in the Word, but there was just increasing sweetness after that season of being with those people.”
Discipleship Council cultivated a dependence on God that has been magnified as she moved into her new role.
Ackerman said discipleship requires us to recognize that we are not the ones in control. It is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies, she said; our role is only to pray and to serve faithfully.
Ackerman said her goal for this year comes from Colossians 1:28-29. She prays that Maddox will be a place where residents can grow together in the gospel.
“My hope is that we will all proclaim Christ to one another and that we will mature in Him day by day in this sweet community,” Ackerman said.
Breanna Beers is a junior Molecular and Cellular Biology major and the Campus News editor for Cedars. She loves exercising curiosity, hiking new trails, and quoting “The Princess Bride” whether it’s relevant or not.