Mississippi College

Ian Hammond Wins Byrd Preaching Award

March 28, 2013

Ian Hammond spoke with passion in his voice as he delivered the sermon titled “From the Depths of Despair to the Heights of Heaven.”

Hundreds of Mississippi College students applauded his inaugural message on March 19 at First Baptist Church Clinton. They also were clapping because the MC senior was the recipient of the 2013 Byrd Memorial Preaching Award.

“I’m so proud him,” said Hammond’s pastor, Keith Phillips of Christ Fellowship Church in Mobile, Alabama. “Ian shows a maturity level reflecting good preparation and delivery and boldness in the Gospel,” he said. “He’s got a heart for evangelism.”

A 22-year-old Hurley, Mississippi resident, Hammond is a history major at the Christian university and he’s well on his way to graduate in May. He serves as president of the MC chapter of Young Americans for Liberty and with the leadership team of Reformed University Fellowship on the Clinton campus.

It took Hammond 20 hours to prepare his message in which he urged people to “put your faith in Jesus Christ” and heed calls to repent.

MC students listening to his message say they appreciate the opportunity the Byrd Preaching Award brings.

“It’s good to give them experience,” said junior Carey Gunn, a sociology major from Gulfport. “I like the idea of students leading other students. It’s a way to learn from each other.”

Gunn said the award is also a nice way to encourage students to pursue their goals to preach.

President Lee Royce, Department of Christian Studies and Philosophy Chairman Burn Page, and Vice President for Christian Development Eric Pratt were among those on hand for the Byrd announcement.

Established by the Byrd family, the annual award recognizes the talents of Mississippi College undergraduates who are outstanding students on track to become leaders in a Christian ministry.

Harrell and Charlotte Byrd have a heart for MC that spans several decades. Harrell Byrd is a 1946 MC alumnus and his wife, Charlotte, is a 1978 graduate of the Baptist-affiliated university. An MC committee including faculty members makes the selection. The award comes with a stipend.

Shortly after delivering his sermon, Hammond said he wants to thank Dr. Page, the selection panel for the preaching award and members of the Byrd family for making the opportunity possible.

After earning his MC bachelor’s degree, Hammond plans to attend the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

“It’s such a treat to hear Ian expound the word of God,” said Jeff Jordan, a leader with the RUF. “He loves to talk about God’s word.” The award, he said, encourages Mississippi College students to become better preachers.

Hammond did a tremendous job as he preached before such a big audience during the university’s chapel program at First Baptist Church, Page said. “He stayed with the text and presented it with great conviction and passion.”

For additional information on the Byrd Preaching Award, contact Burn Page at 601.925.3292 or bpage@mc.edu.

Photo: Dr. Burn Page, chairman of Mississippi College's Christian Studies and Philosophy Department, joins MC senior Ian Hammond of Hurley, Miss., winner of the 2013 Byrd Preaching Award, on the Clinton campus in late March.

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