Called to Faithfulness

Throughout the pages of the last several issues of APU Life we have intentionally focused on APU’s unwavering commitment to Christ-centered higher education. After all, how can we claim to be a God First institution if the Truth of God’s Word doesn’t permeate every crack and crevice of this place?

Such was my message back in August as 700 faculty and staff gathered in the Felix Event Center (and online) to usher in the beginning of a new academic year and the start of the fall semester. It was a powerful day of worship and prayer celebrating God’s faithfulness to APU.

At the heart of our gathering was a message I felt compelled by God to deliver—a reminder, if you will, of APU’s clear Christian identity and purpose. Having spent my first year immersed in APU’s mission and engaged with our many stakeholders, it was important to me that we commission this academic year with a very clear reminder of who we are and why we exist.

I led the community through the What We Believe document that is foundational to our mission. It outlines our core convictions as expressed through our Statement of Faith, Daily Living Expectations, Four Cornerstones, Statement of Academic Freedom, Evangelical Commitment, Statement on Diversity, Statement on Human Sexuality, and much more. If you’ve never read this document, I strongly encourage you to do so. It can be found on our website here.

I reminded the APU community of the challenges facing all of Christian higher education and the importance of us remaining faithful to God’s call on this institution. I described how this will require laserlike attentiveness and a daily commitment to stewarding the mission of APU in ways that honor and please God. And I talked about how faithfulness to mission will require bold decision making, anchored in courage and conviction, and a level of organizational attentiveness and resolve to stay the course.

I went on to say that APU will not compromise its biblical values and convictions. We will not succumb to the pressures of culture. We won’t let things slide. We will hold each other to the highest levels of accountability. We will pursue Christlikeness in our work, in our scholarship, and in our relationships with one another.

And we will make “faithfulness to God” our highest institutional priority.

Toward the end of my address, I asked the APU community to join me in recommitting ourselves to our time-honored mission—asking that we fully live into our identity and calling as a Christ-centered university.

I believe so strongly that what our culture needs now more than ever is a generation of students and graduates who are trained and prepared to be at the absolute top of their game professionally, and equipped with a winsome and articulate biblical worldview that points people to the saving message of Jesus Christ. As one of the largest faith-based universities in America, APU has a special calling and responsibility to be the aroma of Christ.

In many ways, our fall kickoff event was a watershed moment for the faculty and staff of APU, with many expressing deep gratitude for missional clarity and conviction. At the end of the day, we spent time in corporate prayer, asking God to guide and direct us and to bless the semester ahead—how appropriate as we celebrate 125 years since the founding of this university.

In the days that followed, I reached out to many of you directly, asking that you join me in a grassroots effort I’m calling AzusaPrays. To the hundreds and hundreds of you who emailed me directly, thank you! Thank you for agreeing to pray for APU every day as we seek God’s will and provision for this institution.

If you’re not yet part of AzusaPrays, I invite you to join today. Simply email me at [email protected] with the two words “I’m in” and I’ll add you to the growing list of friends and supporters who are petitioning God on our behalf. In return, I’ll send you a short list of monthly prayer requests that can be part of your regular quiet time with God.

As I begin year two of my time at the helm of APU, I do so recognizing the immeasurable power of prayer, and the incredible promise that APU holds to educate and disciple a generation of students to be salt and light. You are dear partners with us in this ministry, and your faithful support is greatly needed and much appreciated.

God is continuing to do incredible things through our faculty, staff, and students. Thank you for standing with us in the great work we call Azusa Pacific University!