Adamah Christian Leadership Strives To Make Bigger Impact In The Community

Charles Wyatt
Tom LeGrand

Adamah, Limestone’s Christian Leadership organization, is looking to bridge the gap between the University and the community through service.

Formerly known as the Christian Education Leadership Program, Adamah hopes to bring a revitalized sense of service to both the campus and the surrounding community. Limestone Chaplain and Adamah Director Dr. Tom LeGrand and the program students are excited for this new chapter of serving the less fortunate throughout the Upstate of South Carolina.

LeGrand is a native of Greenville and graduate of Furman University. He received his Master of Divinity from Pittsburg Theological Seminary and his Doctor of Education from Gardner-Webb University. After helping to lead a couple local churches, he was hired at Gardner-Webb in 2014 and served for six years as the Director of the IMPACT Center for Christian Ethics & Social Responsibility. He worked with the non-profit organization Impact America after his time at Gardner-Webb and before he arrived at Limestone.

Coming to Limestone in October of 2020, LeGrand met with the students already a part of the Christian leadership program, and many expressed an interest in re-branding the organization. Because he has emphasized student empowerment and leadership from the moment he arrived on the Limestone campus, he allowed the program students to collaborate creatively on the name change, and Adamah was eventually chosen.

What exactly does Adamah mean? “Adamah is the Hebrew word for soil, as in ground that is good for growing and becoming rooted,” LeGrand explained.

As Adamah grows on campus, LeGrand wants students feel that they have a voice and that what they are doing matters. He said students should be empowered to make positive changes and to leave an imprint on the community and the organization itself. Adamah, just like the meaning of the word, looks for its members to use the deep roots of their faith to grow upward and outward in the community to share the principles of the organization.

Another important aspect is preserving the Christian identity and historical aspects of Limestone University. “We really want to make sure that the traditional, historical, and foundational aspects of the program are highlighted,” LeGrand said. “Students should feel like Adamah is an encouragement and not a chore.” Although he realizes that not every day is a great day, he reminds his students that faith is not always easy and that it should challenge you at times.

“The Adamah program has helped me realize that life is not just about one person, but focusing on changing and helping the community,” one student said after helping with a public service project. “The program has allowed me to develop a passion for helping and serving other people outside of my Limestone community. This program has changed and motivated me to continue serving others and different communities throughout life.”

No matter how big the service, LeGrand said that Adamah members realize that over time, their positive change will be felt within the community.

Adamah meets routinely every Monday on campus in the meeting rooms of the Hines & Riggins Center. While the meetings are primarily for members, students are also encouraged to bring friends with them to get an idea of what goes on within Adamah.

The program also features “Rooted Wednesday” which is more of an informal gathering where non-members can feel free to attend. The meetings are usually led by other students or a local minister, with the occasional guest speaker. LeGrand said it’s a great way to interact with the organization and also establishes a presence within the group for those interested in joining.

Earlier this month, Adamah was unable to participate in its third annual “Day of Service” in honor of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday due to the winter storm and hazardous conditions. In collaboration with Limestone Athletics, Adamah members had planned on assisting Meals on Wheels in packaging and delivering meals to 400 homebound local residents.

“After helping out with Meals On Wheels that morning, our Adamah students had planned on working inside the Camp-Swofford Chapel to make it an even more welcoming space for students, faculty, staff, and the community,” LeGrand said. “While we didn’t get to do that on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, we will get that done soon. Our goal is to make the chapel a place of fun and fellowship to be used by the Limestone community.”

Adamah, in cooperation with other student organizations on campus, performed 2,282 public service hours over the past year.

In addition to the Meals on Wheels assistance, Adamah students also volunteer with the local Boys & Girls Club as afternoon program tutors and activity leaders. Adamah also organized some special presentations for the club and provided snack bags at various points last fall.

Adamah students are also assisting with local churches in children, youth, or college-age ministries. The most significant of these is at Limestone Presbyterian, where Adamah students are directing Sunday programs for children.

The Limestone students are also taking the lead in organizing events to build relationships with the community and engage more students. The Adamah group organized a campus-wide worship service for Launch week at the beginning of the fall semester. Concord Baptist Church led the worship, followed by a Community Works Fair. Churches and local service organizations came to share information with students about how to get involved in the Cherokee County community.

Working with Athletics and other organizations, Adamah led the way for Limestone’s inaugural “SaintServe Day” to start the academic year. Students collected and organized food bags for Peach City and Iron City Ministries, created gift packages for the Boys & Girls Club, and assisted new students with move-in to the dorms.

Adamah also took part in Limestone’s Turkey Bowl, collecting thousands of pounds of food and turkeys to provide Thanksgiving meals for local families. Students also volunteered as tutors on campus and for local schools.

LeGrand emphasizes the importance on consistent service from the students in Adamah. He challenges those students to find unconventional ways to serve as well. He wants students to find needs in the community that aren’t being met and to give them a voice so that the community can be aware and help as needed. Through all of these different approaches to service, LeGrand believes that Adamah can strengthen relationships within the community and help students find their niche within the Christian faith and the Gaffney community.