This is Oneida

Goal: Point people to Christ, equip them to serve

By Larry Gritton

Published: March 1, 2021

The ultimate goal of our work at Oneida Baptist Institute is to point young people to Jesus and equip them with the tools to live a life of service to Christ and others.

Larry Gritton

In essence, we strive to "call out the called." Our nation needs another Martin Luther King, Jr. We need another Billy Graham. Perhaps our nation's and world's next great Christian leader currently walks the halls of Oneida Baptist Institute. One young person encountering Jesus through our work potentially has a generational impact.

It is always a blessing to hear about former OBI students who live their lives for Christ. The following is a message I recently received from a friend of OBI. It was a great reminder of why we do what we do at Oneida. When considering the social unrest that currently exists in our country, this friend's story also hit home in that regard. If we want patriots, we must teach and raise up patriots. Our sense of self has, unfortunately, long overtaken our sense of national pride, unity and support.

This OBI friend wrote:

"My mother loved OBI. She had many, many fond memories. She left us a picture album and an autograph book that documents her activities and friends.

"Mom told me several stories. One was that she sometimes took meals to OBI's founder, James Anderson Burns, in Anderson Hall when he was an invalid.

"My parents met at Oneida. A story that puts my parents at a crucial point in history is this: On Dec. 7, 1941, my dad, 'Jack Smith,' went to a store in town. While there, he learned of the attack on Pearl Harbor. While he walked back to campus, he saw my mother and a friend. He gave them each a candy bar and told them the tragic news. His patriotism, at age 15, was stirred. He pledged that as soon as he was old enough, he would 'join up.' The day after he turned 18, he enlisted in the Navy. He did not graduate with mom because he enlisted on Jan. 8, 1944.

"Our family has many ties to Oneida. My maternal grandmother, 'Sally Smith,' was a 1911 graduate. Christian education has been carried through my family. Our three children graduated from a Christian high school. One grandson also graduated from there and three grandchildren are current students. We have four grandchildren who graduated from another Christian school and our son teaches science at a Christian school. Our spiritual heritage owes part of its strength to OBI.

"God bless OBI — staff and students!"

Please pray for our work as we strive to raise up God-fearing and patriotic young men and women.


Larry Gritton is president of Oneida Baptist Institute in Oneida, Ky.