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Christian universities have the unique ability to understand education from the perspective that we are all made in the image and likeness of God. We teach students how to lay down selfishness for the sake of the common good of the community in which they live. That is what we’re all about. We’re about higher education at the highest level that it can be offered, and adding to it these value propositions at the same time. 

There is a part of higher education in the United States that’s becoming so tribalized and politicized. Groups to the far right and far left are fighting for universities to bear their brands, a process that has worn out presidents, and they’re quitting like crazy. The ability to have civil conversation and talk about hard issues is disappearing on campuses across the country. That can be different at Christian schools. 

We are a community whose bond is our fellowship in Jesus Christ. That makes us one. Even though we may have radically different ideas, we have the ability to talk about those ideas, to ask the hard questions and to discuss things in ways that are respectful and that do not make us enemies of one another. Instead, this actually makes us wiser, because we are attempting to understand other perspectives than our own. Christian universities have that capacity.

A second capacity is that an economic world is trying to turn a college education into nothing more than a money making widget. You go get this degree so you can go make more money. And the reality is, liberal arts education in a Christian university is as much about learning how to be a good citizen in the world, a good neighbor, a compassionate person who sees the needs of others and ultimately, the kind of person that neighborhoods are built around.

The third thing is that we talk a lot about at Trevecca is being a community. The loneliness and isolation of Generation Z is rampant. It’s as serious of an epidemic as Covid was, and may over time kill as many people as Covid did through anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation and just desperation about life. At Trevecca and other Christian universities like it, the size, the student-faculty ratio and the people we employ as coaches, resident directors and professors are meant to draw students into communities that actually teach them relational skills. Students can learn how to have neighbors, how to be good friends and how to develop trust within a community.

Finally, Christian higher education has the ability to introduce someone to a vibrant faith in Christ that will be an empowering resource for their whole life. During their four years of college, students may meet the Christ who walks with them all the days of their lives and helps them through the hard times.

For instance, there are jobs that are consistently hard to fill, like public school teachers or social workers. These are hard jobs. What we believe is that if Christ calls a college student into public school teaching or social work, it’s our job to come alongside that student and give them the skills they need–and then their faith in Christ gives them the courage and stability to stay in a hard job in a place where they are desperately needed. If I’m just in those two careers for the money, I’m going to have my eye on a door every day looking for somewhere I can make a better salary. But for us, we’re able to bring Christian value to that work and help them to see that they’re actually fulfilling God’s calling on their life. 

Christian higher education is more important in our current landscape than it has ever been before. It is a beacon of hope, equipping students to become confident and kind followers of Christ who excel in their work and thrive in their calling.

Dan Boone, D. Min. – President of Trevecca Nazarene University,

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