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Christian higher education is a form of mission work

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Dr. Michael V. Carter is president of Campbellsville University

By The Staff

Each October, the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities and its member and affiliate institutions mark Christian Higher Education Month.

House Resolution 300 in June 2003 declared the special month, which celebrates the role of Christ-centered colleges in America’s history and in students’ lives.

Campbellsville University, located in south central Kentucky, is one of those colleges.

This year, the theme of Christian Higher Education Month is  “Serving Those in Need,” as based on Matthew 25:35-40 (The Message). In particular, verse 40 says, “Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me – you did it to me.’”

In today’s world, we can find some common observations that most people would agree on, no matter their age, ethnic heritage, political affiliation, or chosen religion or spiritual commitment. 

For example, most would agree that our world is changing very rapidly and that it is difficult for most to stay abreast of the social, cultural, and economic change we are now facing. Secondly, most are concerned about how to steer this change so that “life is better” or improved not only for tomorrow, but for our children, grandchildren, and their children. And thirdly, most see tremendous challenges in order to “improve life” or “make it better.”

The Psalmist (Psalm 25:4-5) of long ago, wrote, “Show me thy ways, O Lord; Teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me.” This scripture tells us that we must be open to know the ways of God and that we will learn these from them being “taught” to us.

The very essence of Christian higher education, especially in the Baptist tradition, is in the degree that we allow the transformational teachings of the Christian faith to permeate the learning environment of the university. 

In recent years, Christian college and university trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, and coaches have been engaged in numerous conversations via conferences, publications and workshops to assist one another in the quest of how to be increasingly effective in view of our rapidly changing world.

This quest to examine and assess “how we do Christian higher education” is one of the foremost initiatives at Campbellsville University. In our daily work, in our five-year strategic plan, and in our blueprint for the future, Vision 2025:  Preparing Christian Servant Leaders, we are dealing with the issues that directly affect us as Christians in a world where daily change is the norm. 

We are asking the difficult questions and exploring the ethical dilemmas that face each of us who profess the Lord Jesus as our Savior and Lord.  

Some of these discussions are difficult as families and individuals face the challenges brought from living in this age (whether personal issues stemming from addictive behaviors or the economic challenges of ministering to the “least of these”). At Campbellsville University and other Baptist universities, we are sincerely trying to wrestle with these issues from a compassionate and Christian perspective.

This is why Christian higher education is so important and why it is really a contemporary form of “missions.”  Our mission is about excellence in the classroom, lab, or wherever the setting, but we are about so much more. We are also about the quest to bring our faith through our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, led by the Holy Spirit, to the world in which we live. 

Please pray for the work of the Board of Trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, and coaches at Campbellsville University and similar universities – as we pursue the integration of our Christian faith and academic learning and as we work to help students of all ages to “Find Their Calling.”

Dr. Michael V. Carter is president of Campbellsville University.