Graduate Continues Family’s Ministry to Underprivileged Children in Rural Texas

October 11, 2017

Liberty University alumnus Lucas Shipman (’13) never had plans to go into the family ministry.

Shipman’s grandfather, Ed Shipman, started Happy Hills Farm and North Central Texas Academy in Granbury, Texas, an international K-12 Christian boarding school that provides a safe, secure environment for about 200 underprivileged children and teens. Currently, students there represent approximately 14 nations from around the world.

Shipman had been pursuing his B.S. in Computer Science through Liberty’s online program on a path toward a career in computer repairs. But after taking a few of his required Bible classes, Shipman felt God was calling him to something different — to change lives through ministry.

About the same time, his grandfather’s health began to decline. Shipman answered God’s call and changed his major to religion, then stepped into a pastoral role at the school his grandfather had started decades ago.

“Some of these students get opportunities they wouldn’t get elsewhere, like being on a farm or playing sports,” Shipman said. “These are really special kids. For us, it’s not about just sharing the Gospel with them, but about making an impact on their lives.”

Though ministry was not his original plan, Shipman said he knows that God called him to change careers. Shipman now serves as director of development for the school.

“God timed everything perfectly,” he said. “We talk all the time about how my life would have been different if I had never taken those introductory classes.”

He recalls the story of a new student from Eastern Europe who came to the school during his senior year.

“He was a devoted agnostic. He would just argue against anything having to do with Scripture,” Shipman said.

But later that year, the student came to know Christ.

“He was really on fire for God after he went to college,” Shipman said. “Then a few years ago, he was killed in a car accident. It put things into perspective for us; we saw how important the work we’re doing really is.”

Shipman also offered some advice for students taking their first Bible classes at Liberty: “Pay attention, because you never know what God is calling you to.”

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