by Tim Comstock
The fall semester of 2021, Jason Deardorff became McChesney and St. Clair’s newest Resident Director at Cedarville University.
Deardorff graduated from a small university called Word of Life Bible Institute in Spring Lake, New York. “I actually felt the Lord leading me there and spent two years there,” said Deardorff. After he graduated, he spent a few years working third-shift in a factory. “I knew the Lord had called me to ministry shortly after I’d become a believer,” he said.
He eventually left his job at the factory and worked at a summer camp, where he met his best friend, John Locke. Locke shared his experiences at Cedarville with Deardorff. Deardorff’s sense of purpose and his conversations with Locke led him to visit Cedarville University, where he enrolled in the Masters of Divinity, M.Div, program in 2017. “I absolutely loved that I could have great friendships while being poured into,” said Deardorff. “That was a blessing I don’t take for granted. All of it was super great and a lot of fun.”
After he graduated from the M. Div. program, Deardorff returned to Cedarville to be an RD. He’s excited for the relationships he’ll share with the students and looks forward to growing with them.
“Paul says in Colossians 1 that that’s the goal of his whole ministry. It’s to present believers mature in Jesus Christ. That’s a goal of mine as well: to do that through discipleship,” said Deardorff.
“Honestly, that is an exciting thing for me,” he added. “My life was extremely changed in my college years, especially my first two years. I fell in love with God’s Word. I had a desire to live righteously and a desire to live in purity in a relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Deardorff enjoys interacting with the students in his halls. A particular moment he pointed out was “to have someone sitting across from me and to see them understand Scripture. To see them profess a desire to follow Christ. I remember what that was like.” He loves to see students excited about what God is doing in their lives.
Seeing others experience God deeply has a personal impact on him. “I remember the first time I was totally enamored with God’s Word,” said Deardorff. “I felt this incredible desire and conviction to live a Christ-like life and follow Him in righteousness. So, it’s really exciting for me to see people have that same realization and those same desires.”
One of the most difficult aspects of his job is discipline. It’s necessary because he’s called to love and care for his students and it’s for their benefit, but that doesn’t make it easy. Besides discipline, Deardorff has to work through other situations that his students may struggle in. “God’s been gracious to us so far,” he said. “It’s been a very enjoyable semester with a lot of great conversations and a lot of great opportunities.”
Deardorff had some advice for students. To students who aren’t sure if they want to come to Cedarville, he said, “I would encourage them to highly consider it.”
He highlighted the Biblical aspect of study at Cedarville. He loves that students get a Bible minor where “all of your disciplines are integrated in Biblical thought and Biblical practice.” He said that Cedarville is unique in that regard. It’s small, but to him the Christian focus is something special that students won’t find in most other places.
To freshmen and new students, Deardorff encouraged them to get involved the moment they arrive on campus. He said to pour into friendships, into the campus culture and to study the Bible with their friends.
“If there’s an opportunity to learn and be poured into, take it,” said Deardorff. “Don’t wait. Do whatever you can to get involved and invest. I’d hate for someone to get two-three years into college and have incredible regret for all they could have done and received.”
A large part of his advice to freshmen is centered on developing life-long friendships. Deardorff had seen too many juniors and seniors who regretted not getting involved more. To Deardorff, a student’s college years are some of their formative years for adult life. His focus on discipleship gives him a passion for encouraging maturity in students. For a student to throw away their time at Cedarville or squander its potential would be a great waste.
Post-Cedarville and his current position, Deardorff has plans to utilize his M.Div. to its full potential and satisfy his spiritual calling. “My goal is to end up in pastoral ministry,” he said. “Before I heard about this job, I was pursuing a job in pastoral ministry. I believe that’s where God’s called me to and that’s where my passion lies.”
“Cedarville’s a great place. I’m super grateful to be here and that the Lord brought us here. It’s been an awesome month and a half. ”
Tim Comstock is a sophomore Innovative and Industrial Design Major. He’s a reporter for Cedars Newspaper. He enjoys listening to and playing music, hanging out with friends, making art and loves mint in almost anything.