CHRISTIAN HIGHER EDUCATION MONTH
SEPTEMBER 26, 2016
In 2003, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring October as Christian Higher Education Month. While thirteen years have passed since this resolution was passed, October still remains an important month as we have the opportunity to to recognize hundreds of colleges and universities in Canada and the United States that are committed to Christ-centered higher education. I had the privilege of working at three such institutions in my career, all of which are associated with the Association for Biblical Higher Education or the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, and continue to develop Christian leaders for the 21 century who can think, live, and serve effectively in the Church and the world. In semi-retirement, I am now working with leaders of many different types pf Christian institutions through consulting activities such as executive coaching, strategic planning, and board development and training. I count it a privilege to be able to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education.
Steven Garber, in his classic book entitled The Fabric of Faithfulness: Weaving Together Belief and Behavior during the University Years, discusses three characteristics that he believes any successful college or university needs to include:
1. Forming friendships with others who share the same worldview.
2. Finding faculty who can incarnate that world view.
3. Framing a world view in a pluralistic world.
Permit me to reword these characteristics in a way that they will more closely be applied to the hundreds of Christian colleges and universities that we recognize during the month of October.
1. A Place to Belong "Forming friendships with others who have the same worldview."
A Christian college is not just an academic community, it is a Christian community. Students live, pray, worship, compete, perform, work, serve, and sometimes even debate together. Students have the privilege of learning and growing in a company of friends who have and are further developing a Christian worldview.
2. A Place to be Led "Finding faculty who can incarnate that worldview."
Education is more than reading books, completing assignments, taking exams, and spending hours in the classroom. The activities just cited my result in a degree but education or learning is much more than an academic exercise. Christian higher education provides the opportunity for students to build relationships with caring faculty and staff.
3. A Place to Become "Framing a Christian worldview in a pluralistic world."
A Christian college provides a sense of meaning in terms of how students can relate to their world. We believe there is a personal God who gives meaning and purpose to the world in which we live. We believe that meaning and purpose come through redemption, a personal relationship with God's son, Jesus Christ.
So, as we celebrate Christian Higher Education Month, let's remember that Christian colleges and universities are committed to Christian values--A Place to Belong, A Place to be Led, and A Place to Become.
Larry J. McKinney
Higher Education Consultant