Spartans of UD: Rev. Jim Gunn

Feb 7, 2018 | University Relations staff

Spartans of UD highlights what makes University of Dubuque special – the people who live, work, and study on campus. Rev. Jim Gunn (MDiv’02) is the Edwin B. Lindsay Undergraduate Campus Chaplain. He began his service on campus in October 2007.

Spartans of UD: Jim Gunn
Lindsay Undergraduate Campus Chaplain

1. What called you to the ministry?

“As a Christian, I believe everyone has a calling. And no matter what one does for a living, each Christian – each in his or her own way – has a ministry. But why do I do what I do? When I help to usher a student into an encounter with the love and truth of God in Jesus Christ, my faith becomes all the more real to me. And I love what college represents in the life of a person: asking big questions as well as finding meaning and purpose in life. No matter what one's background, religion, or tradition, it is a formative time overflowing with all kinds of challenges, needs, opportunities, and new horizons.”

2. You once described your role on campus as an opportunity to love and minister to the hearts and minds of the future leaders of our world. How have you witnessed this?

“I have seen students come through UD who are now in their careers, some have gotten married and started having kids. We may never know exactly what difference each of us has made in the lives of others – if anyone would be less of a person, husband, wife, or parent if they hadn't come through UD or Campus Ministry – but certainly to see people flourishing as decent and responsible human beings is a delight. And there are alums right here in Dubuque, who, because of their faith, ‘seek the welfare of the city’ in which they dwell (Jeremiah 29:7).”

3. What do you feel is the most important part of being a chaplain on a college campus?

“We love others because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). This might sound too dense or maybe even unexciting, but the most important part for any Christian is to remember how God loves each of us. Because God dared to enter our lives, we dare to enter into the lives of others. That's number one. So number two would be to help others remember or discover how they are loved by God. I hope and pray that happens through our worship services and Bible studies, but also in all the other ways we try to get to know students.”

4. What has it been like for you to witness the growth of student involvement in chapel and music leadership?

“What I enjoy seeing the most are students who step out in faith and use their gifts and talents. Yes, that happens with students who play music or sing – and it's wonderful to see – but it happens in all kinds of other ways, too. I love it when students begin to have a passion for reading the Bible, as if it were being opened up to them for the first time. I love it when a group of leaders plan an event because they want to care for their neighbors, or they coordinate a retreat because they know what a retreat experience can mean for others. It's incredibly meaningful when someone hears a message, say, about forgiveness, and then begins to deal with unresolved anger and begins to heal from past hurts. Or it could be any number of other issues when students learn more about God and about themselves. When any of this happens, I am joyful. And I'm old enough, too, that I feel like a proud papa.”