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Growing givers’ hearts: An interview with VP of Advancement Steve Cummings

Comments Off Written on September 26th, 2014 by
Categories: Newsletter

True joy in giving

Steve Cummings stepped into his role as vice president of Advancement in August and hit the ground running. Cummings, who holds an M.Div. in Christian Education, brings 18 years of marketing and production experience to the position. For the past six years, he served as a senior director of development for Prison Fellowship Ministries, where he built relationships with donors in Hawaii, Alaska and California.

Cummings Family Photo

Steve Cummings with his family.

“I believe my calling is to serve God’s kingdom by growing givers’ hearts,” Cummings says. “I challenge them to become cheerful and sacrificial stewards who experience true joy in their giving while growing deeper in their relationship with Jesus Christ.”

MU President Dr. Craig Williford is delighted to have Cummings and his wife, Julia, join the Multnomah family. “Their deep commitment to Christ and desire to serve will contribute to our university mission,” he says. “Steve’s expertise in advancement has prepared him to lead us as we focus on equipping people to be faithful stewards.”

Steve and Julia have been married for 26 years and are proud parents of four adult children and one daughter-in-law. Julia will be continuing her counseling internship at MU’s Community Counseling Center, set to open October 15.

I asked Cummings to share a few highlights about his role at MU.

What made you want to work here?

Multnomah has always been, in my mind, one of the premiere biblical universities in the country and certainly the top one in the Pacific Northwest. I have known MU alumni and crossed paths with MU missionaries, pastors and others who either gave to Multnomah or served here, and the school was always so well spoken of.

When I received the call from Craig Williford in May asking if I was interested in joining his executive leadership team, there was never a hesitation on my part. I knew what Multnomah stood for and its commitment not only to the Scriptures but to spiritual formation and shaping students with a close-knit, stellar faculty. The decision was an easy one.

What are some things you like most about your job?

No hesitation here – the faculty and staff. My first 30 days here made me feel like I'd been here 30 months. The love for Jesus this Body of Christ has and for each other is simply amazing! There are no agendas here, no factions, no selfish attitudes. From the Board of Trustees to the President’s Council to the faculty, staff and student body – it’s a slice of heaven on earth here at these 25 acres in Portland.

The Advancement team I inherited is beyond amazing. They have jumped on board with open hearts and not looked back as we seek to build an advancement ministry at Multnomah the way God intends that will please Him and elevate givers' hearts heavenward.

I have a cool office, too, where I can look out and see students walking by, reminding me of why I am here.

How does your role fit into Multnomah’s mission?

Advancement leads this university in our mission and, as the leader, I take this responsibility very seriously. I depend on prayer and daily ask the Lord for His wisdom, favor and grace to accomplish what He sets out for us to do each day. I’m convinced that if we are faithful in the little things and to our calling, He will grant the success, the outcomes and the growth.

I am zealous about success and growth. I am zealous about prayer, faithfulness and serving together as a Body of Christ that pleases Him. When we do that, it brings a smile to the Father’s face, and I know then we have accomplished what He has set before us. Mountains like Mt. Everest are conquered one step at a time.

What are your hopes for MU?

That the Lord will gather His people for such a time as this to renew our hearts and do great and mighty things for the kingdom. The world is changing constantly and not for the better. There is a sense of urgency to what God has called us to do as we equip and train students to fulfill the mission of Multnomah as the Lord has directed us.

Our Advancement team is here to be used by the Lord to build a culture of generosity across the Multnomah campus and with God’s people who faithfully, sacrificially and generously give to Multnomah. Our role is to advance and facilitate every believer’s faith in and worship of God through a Christ-centered understanding of stewardship that is solidly grounded on Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Ex. 35:21).

If I can help start a revolution in generosity that causes the Multnomah family to grow in their love relationship to God through their giving to the kingdom – I will die a happy man. It’s not about the gift. It’s about the giver.

What are your hopes for our alumni and donors?

First – let’s do away with the term “donors.” People who give are God’s people who invest God’s money to do God’s work. We like to refer to believers who do that as “givers” or “partners.”

My only hope is this: That we can come together in a spirit of unity – for such a time as this – and mobilize our time, talent and resources to advance the cause of Christ until He returns.

We need your help in doing that. You are our best ambassadors. To reach our full potential as a university that God has for us, we need the Lord’s wisdom, favor and grace to share our message with other believers. We can invite them to participate with us in this great mission.

Service with a smile: Students build friendships off campus

A cloudy sky and thin veil of rain greeted more than 130 Multnomah University students as they left campus to participate in Day of Outreach on September 23.

Once every spring and fall, students volunteer at several locations in the Portland community in need of their time and energy. A volunteer site can be anywhere: a nonprofit organization, a school, a community center. Even a neighbor's home. MU cancels classes for the day so students can devote their whole morning to service.

OutreachFall2014_1"Now we get to give"

The living room at ElderPlace Laurelhurst, a care facility for seniors on Glisan Street, is a bright space filled with round tables where students talk and laugh with elderly men and women over cups of juice and coffee. Colorful flags hang from the ceiling and a giant white teddy bear looks down from an old piano.

Senior Olivia Morud is chatting with Phyllis, a curly-haired woman with blotchy hands and tiny glasses. The two have just finished playing a card game. Morud, an English major from Scappoose, Ore., says she loves being able to listen. "They have so much to say, so many stories," she says. "As students, we are given so much in the classroom. Now we get to give."

Volunteering is important, she says, because Jesus was a servant. "He would be doing this if he was here today," she says."It's close to his heart."

OutreachFall2014_2"A real picture of the Gospel"

Volunteers at Harrison Park School on 87th Avenue, their shoes caked with soil, are constructing a community garden. Some students build raised garden beds while others clear away debris and pull weeds.

Freshman Kimberly Marshburn and junior Maggi Schlosser are filling a garden bed with dirt. Marshburn, a Bible and theology major from Bakersfield, Calif., has been attending MU for only a month, but she's excited to serve the community so soon.

"I was talking to some students the other day who were concerned that we'd become secluded at MU," she says. "But this day shows me that we're living what we say we are. School is the practice zone and then we get to go out and live life together. It's a real picture of the gospel."

"A desire to serve"

OutreachFall2014_4Just a few blocks from campus, senior Cory Howatt is starting a lawnmower in front of a small pink house. Dotty, an wispy woman with hunched shoulders and worn moccasins, looks over her property.

"I've lived in this house for 66 years," she says. "My husband died 30 years ago, and this yard is too much for me to keep up." She smiles. "You guys have been coming to see me for a long time now."

Several volunteer sites, including those featured in this story, are permanent fixtures on the sign-up sheet. That way, students can nurture
friendships over time.

OutreachFall2014_3Howatt, a pastoral ministry major from Koloa, Hawaii, says the day shows people who Christ is through students' service. "Who we get to work with is the best part," he says. "I get to meet people like Dotty."

"We serve out of a desire to serve," he adds. "We may not benefit from any compensation, but we benefit from building relationships."

Be A Part Of SEVEN

Comments Off Written on September 8th, 2014 by
Categories: Events

What is SEVEN?

Seven is a week-long event focused on praying for Portland.

When is SEVEN?

Sunday, September 21 through Saturday, September 27.

Where can I get involved in SEVEN?

There are five participating regions within the Portland metro area. Groups in each region meet at a different location each night of the week to pray and worship together. On the final day of SEVEN, all regions will gather in downtown Portland.

seven_instagram_3Click on a region to view a schedule.

  1. SEVEN Clark County
  2. SEVEN East
  3. SEVEN Portland
  4. SEVEN Southeast County
  5. SEVEN West

How is MU involved in SEVEN?

Multnomah will be hosting Night 6 in the SEVEN East region. We're the first university to host a SEVEN event, and we're honored to serve our community this way.

Come to the JCA cafeteria at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 26, for communal worship and prayer for our city — and all the people who live in it.

Want to spread the word on social media?

Let people know about SEVEN by using these images on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets.

Join the conversation by using the hastag #sevenpdx when you share thoughts and photos.

Students Arrive with Different Dreams, Common Purpose

Comments Off Written on August 22nd, 2014 by
Categories: Events, Students

Business owner. Teacher. Counselor. Our new students have different goals, but they all want to make the world a better place, wherever God leads them. Their first step? Multnomah University.

NSO2014_photo1Incoming students from across the U.S. — some from as far as Germany — congregated on campus August 21 to kick off MU’s four-day orientation. Director of Student Services Dr. Karen Fancher said the event’s name, Heaven’s Poetry Etched on Lives, was taken from Ephesians 2:10 — “For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago.”

“We believe God has specific things meant for you,” she told the group of new students. “Remember that you are unique. Don’t ever feel like you have to look a certain way or be a cookie-cutter Christian — be yourself, and engage with others in the way you’re created to.”

NSO2014_photo2Louie Idlett feels called to engage with others through the marketplace. The business major from Longview, Wash., hopes to start his own company one day, and he’s confident that MU’s biblical foundation will help him succeed. “As a Christian, you’re called to keep a higher standard of business,” he said. “It’s not all about the profit margin. It’s about loving God, loving your community and loving what you do — because you’re doing it for Him.”

Tara Osburn, from Hillsboro, Ore., dreams of teaching in South America. The elementary education major said she was attracted to Multnomah’s close-knit community. “I like the family feel and the small classes here,” she said. “And I like my teachers knowing who I am.” Osburn is also looking forward to being a Lion — she’ll start playing on the women’s basketball team this year. “Coach Tim is awesome,” she said. “And I’m excited to get some guidance from the more experienced players.”

NSO2014_photo3Jordan Lovell, from Medford, Ore., plans on being a counselor. The psychology major said Multnomah’s professors drew him to the university. “I thought they were great teachers,” he said.  “I’m most excited for my classes with them.” Lovell is passionate about equipping himself to help people through life — emotionally and spiritually. “The great thing about getting a psychology degree at MU is that you also get the Bible and theology degree. That way, you stay balanced and don’t go too far to one side.”

Staying balanced — and staying true to God’s unique call on your life — is what MU is all about.

Steve Cummings Joins MU as Vice President of Advancement

Comments Off Written on August 4th, 2014 by
Categories: General, Press Releases

PORTLAND, Ore. — Steve Cummings has been selected as vice president of Multnomah University’s Advancement Department.

Read the rest of this entry »

Connecting Continents: Students Reach Out to Rwanda

Comments Off Written on July 24th, 2014 by
Categories: Missions, Students

This summer, a group of MU students traveled to Kigali, Rwanda, to serve alongside former MU professor, Dr. Garry Friesen, who now teaches at the Africa College of Theology. During the trip, the team visited The Dream Boys, a nonprofit program that feeds and educates homeless Rwandan children.

"Getting to spend time with these boys was one of the main highlights of our trip," says sophomore Heidi Birch. "We got to play games with them, read them Bible lessons, act out skits, and teach them how to make bracelets. I will never forget the love that radiated from their hearts. This trip has changed my life forever."

Read the full story, Impacted by Love: My Trip to Africa.

Reflections on a Life of Faith and Service

Comments Off Written on July 10th, 2014 by
Categories: Dr. Lockwood

In light of Dr. Dan's passing, we've created a special page honoring his life and time at Multnomah.

On our Tribute to Dr. Dan page, you can:

  • Share your favorite memories of Dr. Dan
  • See how Dr. Dan has touched the lives of others
  • Watch his last chapel recording
  • View the official press release
  • Listen to Dr. Dan's memorial service recording
  • Read our commemorative story

Koby Krikac: No Boundaries

Comments Off Written on July 1st, 2014 by
Categories: Students

koby_mainAsk Koby Krikac why he chose Multnomah and you'll get a threefold answer: "One, it has the best language programs; two, it’s a biblical university; and three, it’s in Portland, and Portland’s weather is awesome," he says.

That last reason might seem odd — especially coming from a Los Angeles native. But Krikac wouldn't have it any other way. "I love how you can watch the seasons change here," he says. "You see God's beauty everywhere."

The Greek major has big dreams, and MU is proving to be the perfect launching pad. The senior is set on one day translating the Bible into a different language and planting a church in France with his wife. Studying at MU has been the first step toward that goal.

"Multnomah gives you the opportunity to master biblical languages," he says. "I’m learning from scholars who are professionals in their fields, so I have no boundaries of how much I can learn. I can grow as much as I want to!" Krikac says he plans on being fluent in both Greek and Hebrew (his minor) by the time he graduates in December.

Studying the languages is hard work, but the opportunity has given Krikac a deeper appreciation for God’s Word. "Certain flavors and colors of the Bible come out more when you read it in a different language," he explains. "What I’ve learned has given the Word a new depth."

Living on campus has made Krikac’s experience at MU even better. "The community really is a family," he says. "You get to know people quickly, and there are opportunities to invest in others."

And when it comes to investing in his education, Krikac is happy he chose a school that values financial aid as much as he does. "MU definitely helps you where you are," he says. "The grants and scholarships really help you out, but the things you learn here are priceless."

Krikac admits that some might see Multnomah's small size as a negative. But he encourages everyone to look past the surface. "You get such a quality education here, but in an intimate setting," he says. "And you get such great one-on-one moments with your professors. Plus, MU makes it possible for you to get two majors in four years — why wouldn’t you do that? This place faithfully teaches the Word of God and prepares you for life."

Multnomah University Updates — Summer 2014

Seminary Students Attend Oxford

Seminary students Haley Cloyd and Daniel Somboonsiri have been selected to attend the Logos Conference, a two-week internship in Oxford sponsored by the Green Scholars Initiative (GSI). Only students working on GSI projects were invited to apply for the summer conference, where world-renowned academic experts will teach them history, theology and textual studies.

Cloyd has been working on MU’s GSI Dead Sea Scrolls project since last fall, and Somboonsiri began analyzing the fragment this spring. Biblical Languages Chair Dr. Karl Kutz has been directing the project. “I’m not surprised Haley and Daniel were selected,” he said. “They are both very capable. I’m very proud of them.”

Spring Thaw Unites 800 High School Students

The fifth annual youth retreat led by Dr. Rob Hildebrand proved to be another success. More than 800 high school students filled Multnomah’s campus for 44 hours filled with unforgettable games, teaching, laughter, worship, Disney characters and donuts. They left feeling inspired, united and encouraged.

More than 200 volunteers — composed of MU students and staff — planned, built and facilitated the April retreat. A small group of students majoring in Youth Ministry took on larger leadership roles and served as interns. "I think it's great that MU can open up and do this for us," said Tim Blank, a senior from Abundant Life Church in Sandy, Ore. "It says a lot about the school. I'm glad I got to be here."

MU Partners with Portland Police

Multnomah hosted an all-day training exercise with the Portland Police Bureau's Rapid Response Team (RRT) on campus in April. The RRT, a group composed of 70 law enforcement members, spent the day practicing crowd control procedures and techniques. More than 30 law enforcement officials from the Portland metro area, Washington and California observed the scenarios.

Sgt. David Abrahamson, RRT member and former Multnomah student, led the training. For Abrahamson, the opportunity to join Multnomah in a communal effort was inspiring. “This process has blessed all of us,” he said. “MU has gone above and beyond to help us. I can't say enough good things about this school.”

College and Grad School Hire New Leaders  

Dr. David Manock has been selected as director of Multnomah’s Master of Arts in Counseling Program. A licensed marriage and family counselor, Manock has nearly two decades of experience running a private practice. “I’m looking forward to learning how I can help the MAC students succeed as professionals,” he said. “I’m committed to excellence in clinical counseling so that students will know their craft and find their place in the community.”

The University has also hired Lee Sellers to lead its undergraduate Business Administration program. Sellers, who holds an MBA, has owned and operated his own consulting business for more than 14 years. “I enjoy challenge, and I’m excited to build something at MU,” he said. “I want to develop a world-class program that prepares students to go into the real world and make connections with people that reflect the Gospel.”

Seminary Offers Free Lectureship Series to Public

Multnomah sponsored an opportunity for the general public to hear from some well-respected speakers the University had brought in for its DMin and MAAT programs. The free lectureship series, geared toward ministry practitioners, gave the speakers a chance to talk about their unique ministries and what they saw as relevant for the local church in the current culture.

The guest speakers were George Hunsberger, professor of missiology at Western Theological Seminary; Josh Butler, pastor of local & global outreach at Imago Dei Community; Terry Muck, executive director of The Louisville Institute; Hugh Halter, author and speaker; Carolyn Custis James, the president and founder of Whitby Forum; and Christena Cleveland, associate professor of reconciliation studies at Bethel University.

MU Applies to Cascade Collegiate Conference 

The Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) approved Multnomah University’s membership application, moving the Lions one step closer toward conference participation during the 2015-16 season. MU’s membership in the CCC is contingent on admission to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. MU will apply to the NAIA in September, and a decision is expected next spring.

“It is a great honor for Multnomah’s application to be accepted by the Cascade Collegiate Conference,” said Dr. Wayne Strickland. “We could not be more pleased to be associated with such a prestigious conference, and we look forward to building lasting and meaningful relationships.”

Rachel Piñon: Defining Her Faith

Comments Off Written on June 23rd, 2014 by
Categories: Programs, Students

rachel_mainWhen Rachel Piñon was looking at colleges, she was struck by the genuine nature of the people she encountered at Multnomah. And now that she’s finished her freshman year, she's convinced she chose the right place.

“This community is unmatched,” says Piñon. “I was welcomed so warmly by the people here.”

Piñon always wanted to attend a smaller school, and MU’s close-knit community has turned out to be a perfect fit.

“Living on campus helps you learn how to care for others,” she says. “People feel really blessed and loved here.”

That sense of openness extends to her interactions with professors. “They genuinely care about students’ spiritual growth,” says Piñon. “If you’re down, they help you get up.”

The Intercultural Studies major plans to be a missionary. Last month, she traveled to Kigali, Rwanda — along with a group of MU students — where she taught Bible stories to Rwandan children and ministered to the Kigali community. The trip helped Piñon apply what she’s learned at Multnomah.

Until she graduates, MU continues to equip Piñon with a grounded biblical perspective she deeply appreciates.

“My dream is to go to an unreached people group and translate the Bible into their language,” she says. “I always wanted to know my Bible better. Being at MU is an opportunity for me to hold out my faith to God and define what I believe...it's helping me become my own person.”