Summer Celebration 2013 began Sunday night, June 30, and continued through Tuesday, July 2, as more than 4,000 people streamed to campus for worship, fellowship, fireworks and spiritual activities of all types. At each keynote session, themed “Practicing the Way of Jesus: The Message of the Sermon on the Mount,” Lipscomb paid tribute to one who has served God with enthusiasm throughout their lifetime.
Charles Strobel, founding director of Nashville’s Room in the Inn program; Robert Randolph, chaplain at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Marco Diaz, liflong Christian and minister who began a preaching training school in Chattanooga, were each honored with a Kopio Award.
From left to right, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Kopio Award recipient Charles Strobel and Lipscomb University President L. Randolph Lowry.
The Kopio Awards’ name comes from a transliteration of a Greek word that is used to describe a person who labors to the point of utter exhaustion with the help and for the glory of God. Lipscomb established the Kopio Awards to honor those individuals who give of themselves in this manner in service to God and the community.
Charles Strobel, founding director, Room in the Inn
During the Sunday evening worship and keynote activities, Lipscomb University presented Charles Strobel, founding director of Nashville’s Room in the Inn program, with a 2013 Kopio Award, given annually at Summer Celebration.
“Charles Strobel has tirelessly served this community for decades,” said President L. Randolph Lowry. “We thank him for practicing the way of Jesus and appreciate all that he has done to make a difference in this community and to our students. We thank God for him.”
A native Nashvillian, Strobel started Room in the Inn, a citywide ministry helping the homeless of Nashville, in 1986. The mission of the program is “to provide programs that emphasize human development and recovery through education, self-help, and work, centered in community and long-term support for those who call the streets of Nashville home.”
Today, the Room In The Inn is a combined effort of more than 150 Nashville-area congregations. By creating small shelters using the space and volunteers they already have, congregations offer hospitality and hope to guests who would otherwise find themselves on the streets. Room In The Inn was able to provide shelter for 1,260 individuals last year from November 1 through March 31.
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean recognized Strobel’s impact on the community.
“Charles Strobel is a hero, and I don’t use that term lightly,” said Dean. “His work through Room in the Inn has literally saved thousands of lives. What he has done through this program is true service to God and to our community. And, through it all, he has remained a humble man of God. It gives me great pleasure to be here and to be a part of honoring Charles Strobel, one of the most amazing men I know.”
Deby Samuels, vice president for university communication and marketing at Lipscomb, was a member of Room in the Inn’s first board.
“He gave us a way to come together as a community to make a difference in the lives of those who live on the streets,” she told the audience. “He opened a door and added a little leaven that has taken this ministry to churches throughout Nashville and to 15 other states.”
Strobel credits his mother for words that inspired him to help others.
“My mom always told me that people don’t have to be nice to you,” he said upon receiving the award. “And, she’s right. They don’t. I learned to never take for granted the kindness of other people. What we do in this program is to be kind to others. Thank you for your kindness to me and to the people served by Room in the Inn.”
Room In The Inn’s Campus for Human Development operates year-round as Nashville’s only single site of services for the homeless. Programs include education, support services, The Guest House, respite care, transitional housing for veterans, Odyssey, and the congregational helpline.