He grew up in The Bahamas; she was raised in Florida. Now, years later, Kwame (B.A. Evangelism ’02, M.A. Bible Exposition ’03) and Jennifer Selver regularly board international flights from one country to another. They aren’t just visiting family, though; rather, their travels are part of Exalt and Exhort Ministries International, an evangelistic organization designed to honor Christ through preaching God’s Word.
“This is what I love to do—I love to exalt Jesus and encourage Christians,” Kwame said. “Whatever God calls you to do, that’s what you love to do.” For several years, this calling included working as an assistant pastor at New Testament Baptist Church in the Bahamas; yet last year, the Selvers knew that God was transitioning them from ministry at the church into evangelism. “It was God’s timing,” Kwame explained.
This past fall, Kwame began a new ministry, traveling internationally as an evangelist. At first, the Selvers didn’t have a name for the organization, but it soon came to them—Exalt and Exhort, based on the two things Kwame loves to do most. Already, God has used Exalt and Exhort to open several preaching opportunities for Kwame in both the Bahamas and the United States. In January and February alone, Kwame and Jennifer ministered in Florida, Texas, Iowa, and The Bahamas; and in March, Kwame preached at Haven Tabernacle Baptist Church in Pensacola for three weeks while the pastor was out of town. Later this year, Kwame is scheduled to minister in St. Martin, The Bahamas, and Papua New Guinea.
Although the Selvers serve at various ministries including schools, colleges, and camps, they thrive on helping small churches. “That’s my niche,” Kwame explained. “I don’t mind being at a church for three weeks and helping them organize a youth program, helping them with soul-winning seminars and actually going with them, and helping them with discipleship afterward. My mindset might be a little bit different—although we enjoy ministering at week-long revivals and conferences, we also love working with a church for three or four weeks.”
Because of their experience working at New Testament Baptist Church for ten years, Kwame and Jennifer know the struggles that pastors often experience as well as the typical needs of a small church. “We get it. We’ve been in their world,” Jennifer said.
So when they go to a church, Kwame and Jennifer try to find ways to really support the pastor and the work there. “We want to see what we can do to help a pastor,” Jennifer explained. Sometimes helping involves assisting with music, setting up for an event, or visiting people in the community; other times, it means taking over for a pastor who may have health issues. While they are at a church, Jennifer also focuses on getting to know the pastor’s family. Since she grew up in a pastor’s home, Jennifer explained that she has a special burden for pastors’ kids, especially their daughters.
Often, the Selvers find themselves being an encouragement simply through fellowshipping with the pastor and his family. Sometimes they will just stay up late after a service, letting the pastor and his wife talk and share burdens. Even when the nights get late and the Selvers have to travel the next day, they are ready to listen and encourage. “That’s where we get so much joy,” Kwame said.
Jennifer added, “What he [Kwame] really loves to do is encouraging people—it really is what he will do twenty-four-seven. Someone struggling, down and out, the underdogs, the ones people really aren’t paying attention to—[he] takes them under his wings.”
Looking back, Kwame is thankful for the education he received at PCC, which helped prepare him for his current work. Through his practical training classes, Kwame “knew what to anticipate when going somewhere to preach.” The key, though, was the focus on the Bible. “PCC taught [me] a passion to study God’s Word,” Kwame said. “To me that is vital!”
Another highlight for Kwame was the connection PCC gave him to the Bill Rice Ranch, where he was able to serve for one summer. During his time at the Ranch, Kwame began feeling God leading him to start a camp in his home country. A few years later, in 2006, Kwame started the youth camp, Camp Elienai. “God really laid this burden on my heart,” Kwame said, “because I said I would like something like this for my Bahamian people.”
Although the camp has been put on hold for the past two years because of hurricane damage, Kwame and Jennifer were able to see several teens dedicate their lives to Christ during the many years the camp was open. Some of those teenagers are current students at PCC. The Selvers hope that the camp will be able to open again one day—they are waiting for God’s direction and timing. If God allows, they would also like to see Camp Elienai used for more than just teen camp. “God has laid it on my heart to do more things throughout the year: family retreats, pastors retreats, pastors wives retreats. It’s endless what you can do with a camp,” Kwame said.
With their mindset of exalting Christ and exhorting Christians, the Selvers are constantly looking for ways to encourage others. Once, during a visit to PCC, Kwame and Jennifer asked the students they knew from back home to gather the rest of the Bahamian students. In all, approximately thirty students came together. One of these students, Shay Whyms (Jr., Bahamas), explained that the Selvers “took all of our names and said they would pray for us individually. They briefly told us about their ministry and encouraged us. Then, they treated us all to ice cream and coffee.”
Joya Sturrup (So., Bahamas), who has known the Selvers since she was a child, explained how the Selvers have influenced her life. “I went on my first missions trip with them to one of our out islands and was able to minister to a few girls there,” she said. “When I came back from that trip, I felt God leading me to teach music on our out islands. Both of them would remind me of my desires, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m here at PCC right now.” Then, Joya added, “There’s never a dull moment with Bro. K., [as] we call him. Whenever I’m casually around him, I expect to laugh; when he presents the Word of God, I expect to be challenged and enlightened.”
As they travel to churches, the Selvers try to encourage teenagers to consider going to a Christian college. Because, for Kwame, seeing even non-ministerial students serve was one of the things that made a difference in his life when he was a student at PCC. “The one thing that stood out to me were the different people I met who weren’t Bible majors. I knew guys who were pre-law and went on Christian service with me. I think that was the most impactful thing to me—those relationships,” Kwame said. “Several of those people I keep in touch with; several of them I preach for or have come to visit The Bahamas.”
Whether traveling from country to country, state to state, or island to island, Kwame and Jennifer plan to continue traveling as God opens doors “to exalt the name of Christ and encourage the saints to do the same.” They also hope that they will be able to see Camp Elienai start back up again soon. As Kwame waits to see what doors God will open, he plans to keep serving where he can through studying Scripture and preaching God’s Word because as Kwame said, “I have a burden to see people grow.”