The earliest declaration of the university motto, God First, appeared in the early part of the 20th century, reflecting the community's desire and commitment that the institution remain spiritually alive and vitally Christian. An early publication affirms that heartfelt intent, stating, "It is the foremost thought of our every activity, the principal lesson of every class and the utmost desire of every soul." Our God First approach infuses how we move forward into God's preferred future, holding fast to our identity, mission, and purpose.
These two words exemplify a guiding principle for us that both captures and focuses our commitment to providing the highest levels of education and service to our students, our community, and the larger world. As an institution of higher education, we see beyond the bricks and mortar and consider our university to be a living structure, composed of competent and compassionate believers who vitalize our mission and purpose with an understanding of the distinct calling Azusa Pacific has to be an excellent academic institution distinguished, too, by our warmth, our relational nature, and our desire to serve the world as Christ followers.