It is good to be with you today. I
think it's important that I give you a regular update on Northwest
Christian College so that is my purpose today.
I know you care about higher education
- I know I do; I know you care about higher education in
Disciples-related colleges - I know I do - I'm at my third Disciples
institution and in my 26th year of working at Disciples-related
colleges; and I know you care about what's happening at Northwest
Christian College, one of those Disciples colleges. And so I come to
share with you something of what is happening at NCC.
It takes a strong, active Board of
Trustees to make a college great; we have such a Board…we have
trustees like Linda Korth and Ada Lee. I hope you will join me in
thanking Linda and Ada for their service to NCC.
Are there any former trustees here
How about current faculty and staff?
Former faculty and staff?
Former students and graduates?
[Note: There were many
congregation members in the above categories]
I titled my remarks today: Working on a
Building; the context for our scripture reading today suggests that as
Christian disciples, we are all God's fellow workers; we all have gifts
and are needed in the ministry of the church; we serve in different ways
but we all serve; we each have a distinctive task and we are all
essential to a functioning and growing Church; it takes many working
together to build the Church; one very important part of building the
Church has always been building colleges; in our church heritage, higher
education has always been important -- it has always been important to
educate workers for the Church and to nurture and empower a
well-educated laity to carry out ministry in all walks of life; and so
it is higher education and NCC that is our focus today
Not all church-related colleges look
equally church-related and so this is an important topic; does NCC look
church-related? Does it look like we are working on a building for our
In March of 2004, when I was first
introduced to the NCC community as the next president, Frank Morse
presented me with a hard hat meant to symbolize our intention to grow
and build. Grow and build, we are doing. It is an exciting time to be at
NCC and to participate in the shaping of our future and to be working on
Working on a building is the title of
an old gospel song, played mainly as a bluegrass gospel song today. And
it's essentially a song about serving our Lord. "I'm working on a
building, I'm working on a building, I'm working on a building for my
Lord, for my Lord. It's a holy ghost building, it's a holy ghost
building, it's a holy ghost building for my Lord, for my Lord."
With many committed leaders dedicated
to our vision, mission, and values, and bringing many gifts, we are
indeed working on a building for our Lord at Northwest Christian
We are on the move. We are committed to
being one of American's great Christian liberal arts institutions.
We have come a long way since 1895 but,
yet, we try to preserve what is most important to us…even 112 years
later. Purpose then: educating workers for the Church.
Today: we haven't forsaken that, and
indeed the Bible is still a central part of our curriculum, but our
purpose is broader as we think of preparing students for ministries in
all walks of life…Bible and Christian ministry…yes, but also,
teacher education, business, accounting, exercise science, mathematics,
human services, psychology, counseling, communication, health care
administration, and so on.
That happens in the context of our
vision, mission, and values. They are as follows:
Vision: to be a college
known for its integration of excellent academic programs, a foundation
in the Christian faith, and a focus on teaching leadership and ethics.
Mission: to develop competent,
ethical leaders for service in the workplace, community, Church and
Values: academic excellence,
faith commitment, ethical leadership, character development, caring
community, global engagement
This language is reflected in
everything we do.
Our vision, mission, and values set the
stage, then, for a liberal arts education in a faith-based, Christian
context focused on preparing competent leaders of character for service
to Christ and humanity.
What, in turn, do we hope will happen?
That we prepare students well, ready to
go out into an increasingly complex, diverse, and interrelated world
- a solid academic background
- the ability to think critically and
broadly and to communicate effectively
- a strong foundation in character and
- the ability to integrate faith with
the rest of one's life (work, family, community, relationships,
- a readiness to be responsible,
global citizens with a strong service commitment
- the ability to solve problems and
- the ability to celebrate diversity
and work effectively with others
- the ability to be flexible and
- the knowledge and commitment to be
ethical decision-makers and competent leaders
- a commitment to make a difference in
the world, to make this world a better place in which to live - a
more just, loving, peaceful, and humane world.
So with that as a backdrop and knowing
that we are working on a building in which Jesus Christ is the
foundation, what are some of components of that building?
Here are some building bricks I thought
you'd appreciate hearing about: examples of how we are faithfully living
out our V/M/V and examples of what we look like as an institution today.
1) Enrollment target of 1200
2) New name looms in our future: NCU;
not altering fundamental nature of our purpose/programs; 1895 mission
encompassed in new mission;
3) Expanded curriculum, new majors and
programs; have added exercise science, accounting, and mathematics in
the past few years and the number of program offerings will continue to
expand…and, of course, with this, appropriate growth in our faculty.
We have 3 categories of programs: traditional undergraduate,
Professional Studies Program for working adults; graduate programs (3);
English, arts, health care looming in our future
4) We offer classes in Eugene, Roseburg
and Klamath Falls, we are about to launch a pilot MBA program in Hong
5) Growing Bible and Christian ministry
6) New School of Christian Ministry
7) A commitment to a strong music
program that is ministry-driven: we have a large NCC Community Choir, a
NCC Chamber Ensemble; and then VIRTUE, our traveling group that visits
churches on most weekends
8) Students are heavily involved in
learning outside the traditional classroom; some travel and study abroad
(increased emphasis on this); several students have participated in an
archaeological excavation in Israel; students have traveled to Seattle
to see a Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit; students have participated in debate
tournaments; it is important to us to have students and faculty
collaborate on various research and other scholarly endeavors; all
students participate in internships, including a number in church
9) Master Plan: first of all, we have
three new facilities in various stages of development…Pomajevich
Faculty Building (completed), Center for Teaching and Learning (former
Sigma Nu fraternity being remodeled), Graduate and Professional Studies
building (medical office building - we are leasing bottom floor); Center
for Christian Ministry and the Arts, prayer tower, residence halls,
student union; border signage; trying to acquire additional properties
10) New athletic programs: to
basketball and softball, we have added women's volleyball, men's and
women's cross country, and men's and women's soccer; next year, we start
men's and women's golf; we have joined the NAIA and the Cascade
Collegiate Conference; the NAIA works with institutional members in
nurturing character development in our student-athletes…respect,
responsibility, integrity, leadership, sportsmanship…so we will be
very involved in that program. One recent demonstration of that: our
basketball teams put on a basketball clinic for elementary school
students at a school in Springfield, a school where 87% of the families
live below the poverty line, a school that cannot afford exciting events
for the children like basketball clinics. Here's the really good part:
our students decided to stay involved with the school beyond just doing
11) New financial aid system that
rewards students who have shown evidence of not only strong academic
achievement but also strong faith commitment and church involvement,
leadership, and strong character.
12) Following the development of our
new V/M/V, we developed a statement we call: Our Commitment as a Campus
Community: As a Christian institution of higher learning, we are
committed to being a caring, welcoming community characterized by
diversity, inclusiveness, respect for all people, and a passion for
social justice. This is in addition to our nondiscrimination policy. And
we are an increasingly diverse campus and one very committed to justice
and respect for all people.
13) We reach out to the community in a
variety of ways and build relationships: we have hosted a Global Day of
Prayer on our campus; we hosted several hundred local high school and
college students who slept on the NCC lawn one night in a show of
support and concern for the children of Northern Uganda caught up in the
consequences of a long-running war; we take our Christmas and spring
concerts out to local churches; we have hosted the Lane Co. MLK, Jr.
Celebration on our campus the past two years; we are represented at
events like the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast, the Interfaith Breakfast (to
be hosted on the NCC campus this year), NAACP events, the Asian
Celebration; VIP Days and home receptions at the president's house;
14) We are heavily involved in service
projects…faith is put into action in many ways: Adopt-a-family
Christmas gift drive; Habitat for Humanity; assisting the Salvation Army
in its holiday drive; sponsoring and serving at the Lane Co. Fair
Pancake Breakfast; 20 students went to Mozambique in May for mission
work in which they gave care to AIDS orphans; our students have gone to
New Orleans and done hurricane cleanup work; they have traveled to
Bosnia on mission work; they have gone to many places like San Francisco
in addition to Eugene and Springfield and done service projects like
working with the homeless; in Feb., students raised money for a project
called Joy to the World: spreading joy to the world through the gift of
animals. Students raised money to buy a package of animals from Heifer
International to give to a family. This package includes two sheep, four
goats, a heifer and two llamas. Once the family receives their gift,
they will be trained on how to effectively take care of their animals so
that they can benefit from having them.
15) Students have formed a number of
interesting and meaningful organizations: some are academic-related like
the Psychology Club and the Ministry Club; others include the Native
American Student Union - that organization recently sponsored an event
to improve students' inter-cultural communication especially as it might
apply to those considering ministries in other cultures or planning on
working on Native American Reservations.
16) The Red Tent Club (Empowering women
to discover who they are in Christ and become self sufficient ethical
leaders) The purpose of the Red Tent is to be a club that supports
women's equality, justice, wellness, safety, and spiritual development
with a variety of different activities and programs based upon the
values of Northwest Christian College.
17) Our student programs department
puts a big emphasis on leadership training; we have an annual Leadership
Summit that even draws students from other campuses.
18) Strong student ministries program
led by our campus pastor, Steve Poetzl; note, here, that we did not have
a campus pastor until Steve came on board; here's how Steve puts it:
Student Ministries and Spiritual Development are at the core of the
Northwest Christian College experience. We believe the process of
building and equipping men and women to be leaders of the future must be
founded on a strong relationship with God (the Father, Son and Holy
Spirit). Campus Ministries emphasizes developing the whole person, body,
soul, and spirit. The spiritual formation is done within the following
Our Four Wheel Drive:
- Embracing the Lord: chapel on W and
F; evening chapel twice a month; small group Bible Study programs;
retreats…one example is "Finding my vocation"…focused
on juniors and seniors seeking God's calling in their lives
- Embracing the Campus Community:
e.g., student-athlete chaplain program
- Embracing our City: like the Urban
Plunge trip to San Francisco or the Habitat
for Humanity project in Eugene
- Embracing the Nations: e.g., the
mission trips to Haiti, Bosnia, and Mozambique
Offering opportunities to grow
spiritually is a central vision of Northwest Christian College as we
strive to promote a faith commitment to Christ and to equip students to
take that faith into the workplace, community, Church, and world.
19) We are nurturing knowledge of our
college and church heritage through events like Founder's Day and the
Stone-Campbell Symposium. And we nurture our church relationship through
things like hosting the Disciples Regional Assembly in April of 2008 and
hosting a Disciples-sponsored Anti-Racism Training event.
20)We have launched a Center for
Leadership and Ethics and a Trustee Lecture Series on Leadership and
So how can you tell we are working on a
building for our Lord?
- Our documents; our language
emphasizing our Christ-centeredness
- The centrality of the Bible in what
we do and the integration of faith and learning as central
- Preparing students to be leaders in
ministries covering all walks of life; prepared to be leaders of
character is service to Christ and humanity
- Witness our growth in ways
compatible with our V/M/V; School of Christian Ministry; mission
- Focus on leadership development,
justice, diversity - compatible with Disciples 2020 Vision
- Christian remains our middle name
even with a new name on July 1, 2008
We are making a difference in the lives
of students and our institution is making a difference in our community
and the world-at-large.
Our world is in need of ministers,
teachers, accountants, business professionals, therapists, health care
professionals, scientists, government officials, CEOs, PTA presidents,
and citizens-at-large who are knowledgeable and skilled, principled and
strong in character, committed in faith, and well-prepared to lead and
We are fortunate that Northwest
Christian continues to be a leader in producing such individuals.
The beauty of an education at NCC: the
vision of our College meshing with vision the student brings for
himself/herself…with the result being a transforming of that student's
life in ways that student did not dream possible when entering the
hallowed halls of NCC.
Thank you for your continued prayers
and support. We couldn't do what we do without you.
How can you help us?
- Give us names of prospects
- Be an advocate for us
- Financial support
- Assistance if we come calling on you
to help rally others around our cause
It takes all of us to work on a
building for our Lord.