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‘Our outreach is extensive’: Students volunteer down the street, across the world

Collectively, Multnomah students provide more than 38,000 hours to communities each year — and their contributions span the globe.

They serve as role models for at-risk teens in Portland. They partner with nonprofit agencies in the greater community. And this Friday, the men’s basketball team is heading to Taiwan for a trip filled with service projects, community outreach and basketball games.

The Lions will compete in nine games, including Lovelife, a high-profile annual event that raises awareness and money for children with cancer. Teammates will present the Good News during each half-time.

“This trip is important because it’s an exceptional opportunity to share the gospel,” says sophomore business major Tanner Schula. “God has blessed us with the platform of basketball for ministry. Through basketball, we can first connect with the Taiwanese on a personal basis — and then share Christ.”

During the nine-day trip, the Lions will visit several schools, churches and an assisted living facility.

“It’s exciting that a small Christian school can have such a large capacity for ministry,” says Schula, “This trip displays Multnomah’s expansive reach.”

‘What Multnomah is all about’

Head Basketball Coach Curt Bickley puts a heavy emphasis on outreach and community service; he’s led his teams on mission trips to the Czech Republic and Taiwan for the past seven years. This is the fifth time the Lions are traveling to Taiwan.

“We’re looking forward to seeing old friends, spreading the Gospel, and playing basketball in a great place,” says Bickley. “It’s very exciting that our university has such an emphasis on mission work and that we get to take part in such a great trip.”

The athletes don’t stop serving when they’re back in the States. For the past eight years, the Lions have hosted a free basketball clinic for children at a Native American reservation in Washington. The clinic gives the team an opportunity to impart their skills — and share their faith. “Kids have gotten saved at these events,” says Bickley.

The Lions also volunteer at Providence Children’s Hospital, just down the street from campus. The athletes connect with boy and girls, some of them terminally ill, for a few hours each week. They play games, read, color or just talk.

“Our outreach is extensive,”says Bickley. “This team reflects what Multnomah is all about.”

Communicating values through action

The trip to Taiwan closely follows another service event Multnomah has observed for decades — Day of Outreach. 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.

Senior psychology major Brenna Coy has been attending Day of Outreach since she transferred to MU as a sophomore. “Volunteering encourages me and other students to reach out to our neighborhood,” she says. “It builds bridges in the community.”

Theology and philosophy professor Dr. Mike Gurney agrees. He appreciates the opportunity to impact local organizations while interacting with students outside the classroom. Multnomah requires half of its professors to participate in each Day of Outreach event.

“As Christians, it’s not just about what we say; it’s also about what we do,” he says. “We want to communicate our values through action.”

One fall, Gurney and Coy joined a group of student volunteers at Portland Metro Arts (PMA), a nonprofit community arts organization in Southeast Portland. For several hours they dusted, wiped, polished and swept.

Nancy Yeamans, PMA’s executive director, supervised as students bustled around her. A vacuum hummed in the background, and the smell of Windex hung in the air.

“I know you think that cleaning is probably not a big deal,” she said. “But to us it’s a huge deal because we rely a lot on volunteers. It’s meaningful beyond what you can imagine.”

‘We need to love people’

Besides international trips and Day of Outreach, students participate year-round in Service Learning, a campus-based program that connects them with local nonprofits. Students volunteer weekly at more than 70 organizations across the Portland metro area. They also gain priceless wisdom from field specialists who double as mentors.

“We’re committed to helping students integrate what they’re learning in the classroom with real life,” says Service Learning Director Dr. Roger Trautmann. “Whatever service God puts on their hearts is a possibility. From skateboarding to helping the homeless, from children’s ministry to working with seniors, we can connect them with more than 1,500 churches, ministries and service organizations.”

Sophomore Bible and theology major Katie Mansanti says Service Learning connected her to Adorned in Grace Design Studio, an outreach to at-risk teen girls in Northeast Portland. People donate all kinds of fabrics to the nonprofit, where volunteers like Mansanti teach the girls how to sew. The studio aims to prevent sex trafficking by empowering young women to become advocates on behalf of their sisters and friends.

Volunteers provide snacks, help with homework, offer workshops, run a mentorship program and lead a Bible study. “This is a safe place for them to hang out after school and have someone to talk to,” Mansanti says.

Mansanti’s knack for sewing and heart for teens was a perfect fit for the studio. “It’s nice to take something that’s second nature to me and share it with these girls,” she says. “We all need someone to nudge us along and tell us we’re doing a good job.”

Volunteering may be a time commitment for students, but Mansanti doesn’t see it as a burden. “Service Learning allows you to give back,” she says. “Helping people is important to God. We need to love people and be Jesus to them.”

Youth Ministry major gives students firsthand training, global opportunities

MU’s youth ministry major gives students firsthand training, unforgettable internships and global opportunities — from Germany to Japan.

"We get to take everything we learn in the classroom and apply it hands on," says youth ministry major Kayla Linscott.

Youth Ministry Chair Rob Hildebrand challenges his students to serve passionately and think big. "This major is designed for people who love God, love young people and want to make this world a better place," he says. "The youth worker has one of the most important jobs in the church. Young people are looking for guidance. What could be more important than having people love and care for them?"

Students in MU’s Summit program can earn a B.A. and M.Div. in five years

Multnomah University is launching Summit, a five-year Bachelor of Arts/Master of Divinity program that reduces the time and cost traditionally spent on the individual degrees. “Summit is an opportunity for people to get into ministry sooner,” says Roy Andrews, dean of Multnomah Biblical Seminary. “It’s five years of your time — not seven — and costs about 30 percent less than it would to take the programs separately.” The savings amount to $41,000, and that’s before scholarships are added.

Summit will target high-achieving high school seniors who aspire to be church leaders. Some students will receive full-tuition scholarships covering the undergraduate portion of the program. The scholarships are primarily designed for recent high school graduates, although transfer students with a minimum 3.0 GPA will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Additional scholarships are available for Summit students who don’t receive full-tuition scholarships.

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Andrews says anyone may join the program as long as they’re prepared for the academic rigor and intensive training. “Summit’s program director will help potential students figure out if they’re called to pursue ministry,” says Andrews. “Then they’ll discern if students are ready for the program. Some students might not have thought about it and just need to be exposed to it. But it’s not about arm wrestling them into it; it’s about introducing ideas.”

Besides MU’s standard admission requirements, eligible students will need a minimum 3.5 high school GPA and an additional reference letter from a church leader. “We want to affirm from their church’s perspective that they’re a good candidate,” Andrews says.

Once students jump into the program, they’ll be immersed in classes, service learning, mentored ministry and internships. “All these things are ingredients in the recipe for making people prepared for full-time ministry,” says Andrews. “Our students will get a lot of guided practical application. Though we’re condensing two programs, we won’t sacrifice the quality of either.”
Summit students will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Theology before earning a Master of Divinity. To remain enrolled, they must maintain a 3.0 GPA and meet all character and activity requirements for the program.

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Andrews is confident Multnomah’s option will stand out from other five-year B.A./M.Div. programs. “Some products look the same on the shelf, but when you see how they’re produced, you realize they’re different,” he says. “The other programs do a fine job educating people. But we give great attention to the Word of God, and it’s part of MU’s ethos to hold in tension the two commandments of Christ: loving God and loving your neighbor. With a thankful heart, we think we’re the best at doing that.”

Summit will launch in fall 2015 thanks to a $565,000 grant from The Kern Family Foundation, an independent grant-making organization based in Waukesha, Wis. The foundation, which funds broad-impact, long-term programs, is committed to promoting strong pastoral leadership and educational excellence.

The grant will be used to support a program director, student scholarships and marketing efforts.

“The Kerns are passionate about getting young people into ministry faster with little to no debt,” says Andrews. “Summit graduates won’t be bound to the indebtedness that prevents many from getting into vocational ministry. We do have a responsibility to help these students, so this is a great gift.”

Learn more about Summit.

Multnomah University Updates — Spring 2015

Comments Off Written on April 16th, 2015 by
Categories: Alumni, Newsletter

Torah unrolls new learning opportunities

Torah_blogLast fall, Ken and Barbara Larson gifted a rare and valuable Torah to Multnomah Biblical Seminary. The Torah, a parchment scroll on which the first five books of the Old Testament were written, is hundreds of years old and was likely used in a synagogue in Eastern Europe.

The scroll’s formal dedication was hosted on campus February 5. “We can feel your enthusiasm in the air,” said donor Barbara Larson. “We’ve been impressed by your faculty and students, and we’re excited for what this Torah will do for the school.” Hebrew professor Dr. Karl Kutz says the scroll will help students learn about scribal work and the transcription process.

The dedication was followed by an on-campus colloquium, where Ancient Manuscripts Expert Dr. Scott Carroll treated listeners to the scroll’s history and features. “If this Torah could talk to us, imagine what it could say and what it’s seen,” said Carroll. “It was preserved through the Enlightenment and the Holocaust. Through a wonderful turn of Providence, it’s in your community now.”

Read the full story.

Spring Thaw energizes, educates 650 high school students

Spring Thaw 15 Blog 2MU’s sixth annual youth retreat led by Dr. Rob Hildebrand proved to be another success this March. The event drew 650 high school students who stayed on Multnomah’s campus for 44 hours filled with exciting games, rich theology seminars, comedy skits, worship, a petting zoo and limo rides.

Volunteers composed of MU students and staff planned, built and facilitated the retreat. A small group of students majoring in Youth Ministry took on larger leadership roles and served as interns. Four Multnomah professors led theology seminars covering topics ranging from missions to modern-day dilemmas.

“You guys put a lot of effort into Spring Thaw,” says Austin Thompson, a senior from Gladstone First Baptist Church. “And it’s not about getting people to attend MU — it’s a chance for people to come together. I think that’s an amazing, selfless thing for a university to do.”

Read the full story.

MU to launch a five-year B.A./M.Div. program

summit2_featureimageMultnomah University is launching Summit, a five-year Bachelor of Arts/Master of Divinity program that reduces the time and cost traditionally spent on the individual degrees. “Summit is an opportunity for people to get into ministry sooner,” says Roy Andrews, dean of Multnomah Biblical Seminary. “It’s five years of your time — not seven — and costs about 30 percent less than it would to take the programs separately.”

Once students jump into the program, they’ll be immersed in classes, service learning, mentored ministry and internships. “All these things are ingredients in the recipe for making people prepared for full-time ministry,” says Andrews. “Our students will get a lot of guided practical application. Though we’re condensing two programs, we won’t sacrifice the quality of either.”

Summit will launch in fall 2015 thanks to a $565,000 grant from The Kern Family Foundation, an independent grant-making organization based in Waukesha, Wis. The grant will be used to support a program director, student scholarships and marketing efforts.

Read more about Summit.

Business & Organizational Psychology degree set to launch this fall

FallGrad2014_featureimageMU will launch a business & organizational psychology degree in fall 2015.

Graduates will be skilled at assessing an entire organizational domain and focusing on aspects that affect the organization’s bottom line. Areas of occupational focus include:

  • Efficiency of the work environment
  • Conflict managements
  • Effectiveness of marketing campaigns
  • Motivation and performance
  • Stakeholder involvement

Graduates will utilize their training to create business policies and methodologies with the goal of improving the organization’s ability to better meet the expectations of its customers and stakeholders.

For more information, contact Admissions at 503-251-6485 or admissions@multnomah.edu.

Business Department announces concentration in accounting

Bernie_featureimageIn fall 2015, MU will launch an accounting concentration under its business program.

The four-year program will be rigorous. The degree is 127 credits, including 24 credits of accounting. All classes will be taught by practitioners in the field.

Students will be prepared for CPA licensure in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. The program will also provide excellent preparation for the Certified Management Accountant Exam and the Certified Fraud Examiner Exam.

For more information, contact Admissions at 503-251-6485 or admissions@multnomah.edu.

Intercultural Studies is now Global Studies

Greg_featureimageMU’s intercultural studies program was recently renamed the global studies program. Students will specialize in one of four new concentrations:

  • Applied Linguistics
  • Children at Risk
  • Culture & Diversity
  • Global Ministry

“Over the past couple of years, our department has been researching a way forward for our program given the complexities of our globalized world,” says Global Studies Chair Dr. Greg Burch. “If you’re interested in serving people, working with ethnic groups, church-planting, international vocations — this program is critical for you. You’ll be given the tools to thrive. Each concentration has its values and provides practical skills.”

Read the full story.

‘God is on the move’: MU launches new programs, opens more doors for students

Comments Off Written on April 14th, 2015 by
Categories: Athletics, Programs, Students

As summer approaches and students glimpse relaxation on the horizon, MU isn't slowing down. In fact, we're launching several initiatives and exciting opportunities that will enhance the student experience for years to come.

"God is definitely on the move at Multnomah University," says Vice President of Advancement Steve Cummings. "Blessing after blessing keeps arriving. More and more students are realizing that MU will prepare them for a meaningful career and saturate them in God’s Word, no matter how they choose to make a kingdom impact."

Here are the latest academic programs, news items and distinctions:

Accounting concentration

Bernie_featureimageIn fall 2015, MU will launch an accounting concentration under its business program that will prepare students for employment in the field of accounting as well as ready them for the Certified Management Accountant Exam and the Certified Fraud Examiner Exam. The program will also provide a significant portion of the requirements necessary to sit for the CPA exams.

Business & Organizational Psychology degree

studying_featureimageMU will launch a business & organizational psychology degree in fall 2015. Graduates will utilize their training to create business policies and methodologies with the goal of improving the organization’s ability to better meet the expectations of its customers and stakeholders.

Biology degree

MU plans to offer a biology degree in fall 2016. More details to come.

Global Studies degree

rachel_mainMU’s intercultural studies program was recently renamed the global studies program. Students will specialize in one of four new concentrations:

  • Applied Linguistics
  • Children at Risk
  • Culture & Diversity
  • Global Ministry

Summit (a five-year B.A./M.Div. degree)

summit2_featureimageMultnomah is launching Summit, a five-year Bachelor of Arts/Master of Divinity program. Summit students will save more than $41,000 in tuition, cut their time in school by two years and receive a Summit Scholarship. The program will launch in fall 2015 thanks to a $565,000 grant from The Kern Family Foundation.

Fully online undergraduate and seminary degrees

FallGrad2014_featureimageStarting in fall 2015, MU will be offering the following programs fully online:

AAOT acceptance

The Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree now satisfies all MU freshman and sophomore general education requirements.

NAIA approval

Athletics Banner BlogThe Lions have joined the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC), which is considered to be one of the top small-college athletic associations in the country. The CCC is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Each year, more than 60,000 student-athletes in the NAIA compete in 13 sports and 23 national championships.

Track and field

CrossCountry_thumb2Multnomah will launch a track and field program in spring of 2016.

Giving record

Multnomah has seen a record year in giving: 2014-2015 were met with the highest number of donations MU has accepted in the past five years.

Learn More

Contact Admissions at 503.251.6485 or admissions@multnomah.edu for more information.

Multnomah University adds track and field to the sports lineup

Comments Off Written on April 10th, 2015 by
Categories: Press Releases

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Multnomah University Athletic Department is excited to announce the addition of men’s and women’s track and field for the 2015-16 school year.

“We are so thankful for the support and encouragement that we have received from our administration as we continue to grow our athletic offerings here at MU,” Athletic Director Lois Vos said. “Adding track and field is a big step for MU, and we are blessed to have such an experienced and caring leader in Coach David Lee to get things started.”

As coach of both cross country teams, Lee led the Lions to an extremely successful inaugural season. The men’s team qualified for the NCCAA Division II national race, and Nathan Meeker became MU’s first individual national champion. Sindy Larson, meanwhile, also ran in the NCCAA Division II championships, becoming the first female athlete from MU to compete at the national level.

“Coaching at MU is a privilege, and the responsibility of starting programs from the-ground-up is especially joyous,” Coach Lee said. “Getting acquainted with new coaching partners as we share the anticipation of what God has planned for the Lions is a big part of my joy. Everywhere I recruit, the name Multnomah is well received because the school's administration, faculty and staff have held true to the earliest core values of the founders. I hope that our new athletic endeavors meld well with the spiritual heritage that is such a key part of MU and that we'll be recognized  for athletic excellence in the future.”

With the addition of the track and field squads, Multnomah now features 10 teams. Over the past year, MU Athletics has grown by leaps and bounds by adding six programs: men’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s golf. The Lions have a distinguished history in men’s basketball and women’s volleyball.

Pending acceptance into the NAIA, all of the teams will compete in the Cascade Collegiate Conference during the 2015-16 season. The NAIA offers 23 different track and field events for student athletes. Madison and Portland Christian high schools have graciously given MU the go-ahead to use their facilities for training in the various track and field disciplines.

DCP student Brian Wiggs: ‘My professors gave me a new hope, a new vision, a new direction for my life’

Brian Wiggs never imagined he could mix his knack for mechanics with his heart for street children. But during a trip to Honduras, he realized he could teach the young men there to fix cars and earn their own wages. “God told me this is where I was going but that I had to prepare,” he says.

And when Wiggs heard about Multnomah’s degree completion program, he knew where he wanted to prepare. “I had the support of the degree completion office and the support of professors that encouraged me,”  says the leadership and ministry major. “They gave me a new hope, a new vision, a new direction for my life.” Read Brian's story.

Spring Thaw energizes, educates 650 students

Whimsical obstacle courses, lanky wooden structures and exotic Egyptian relics peppered campus. Youth Ministry Chair Dr. Rob Hildebrand and his youth ministry majors had spent months building props, planning games and booking entertainment. Now they waited. Anticipation hung in the air.

Buses and vans packed with youth groups slowly rolled into parking lots. Hildebrand watched as 650 high school students began pouring into campus. Then he began to cry.

“It was beautiful to see their energy and excitement over the work we put into it,” he says. “This event says to them, ‘You’re important to us, you’re important to the church, and we love you.’”

‘A catalyst for community’

Spring Thaw 15 Blog 1For Hildebrand, every piece of Spring Thaw is significant. The wild games, the powerful speakers, the silly comedy sketches and the rich theology seminars each play a distinct role in developing students during the three-day retreat.

“Some people think they should be in classes all day, but you can’t expect them to be able to sit down for 20 hours and listen,” says Hildebrand. “The truth is that we learn from watching people and interacting with them. Activities break down barriers between kids and their leaders. It’s a catalyst for community.”

Hunter Johnson, a junior from Mountainview Church, agrees. “I’ve been bonding with my youth mentor this weekend,” he says.

STcamel_featureimageStudents were treated to a variety of activities during the weekend, including bacon bonfires, real-life Mario Kart, a petting zoo, limo rides and a color war. April Fancher-McKinzie, a sophomore from Central Bible Church, loved meeting Curly, a towering camel who visited campus Saturday afternoon.

“Spring Thaw brings youth groups closer to each other, and we get to meet new people,” she says.

‘We’re learning from the best’

But Hildebrand doesn’t stop with games and entertainment. Spring Thaw hosts a main speaker who teaches four sessions during the event. There are also four theology seminars led by Multnomah professors.

STtheology_featureimage“The theology seminars are something I love about this retreat,” says Hildebrand. “Sometimes youth ministry can be shallow. But kids are deeper than you realize; they grapple with tough issues. This is a way they can hear from thinkers who have spent many years studying the deep issues of life.”

Fancher-McKinzie attended Stump the Prof, a seminar where Dr. Brad Harper answered students’ theology questions, which included:

  • How do you know if God speaks to you?
  • Is war ever OK?
  • Does God love something because it’s right or is it right because he loves it?
  • Can you be gay and be a Christian?
  • How does free will work when God is in control of everything?

“It addressed a lot of questions that come up in everyday life,” says Fancher-McKinzie.

Austin Thompson, a senior from Gladstone First Baptist Church, feels the same way. “The seminar was very beneficial to me,” he says. “It helped me understand the Bible more clearly.”

He was also impressed by the professors’ knowledge. “I feel like we’re learning from the best,” he says. “They are people to look up to.”

Supporting the work of the kingdom

Spring Thaw 15 Blog 2It’s Thompson’s second year at Spring Thaw, and he’s soaking in all the information he can. “I’ve only been a Christian for two years, so everything I take in is new to me,” he says. “I’ve become spiritually closer to God and am learning more of his Word.”

Hildebrand says that’s what Spring Thaw is all about. “This event allows us to utilize the assets the Lord has blessed us with to support the work of the kingdom in dozens of our area churches,” he says. “We’ve had people say, ‘Spring Thaw changed my life,’ but really it’s Jesus who changed their life.”

“You guys put a lot of effort into Spring Thaw,” says Thompson. “And it’s not about getting people to attend MU — it’s a chance for people to come together. I think that’s an amazing, selfless thing for a university to do.”

Kenya native and global development & justice student Max Olwa: ‘Living in this community is uplifting’

Max Olwa might be 9,000 miles from home, but he knows he’s in the right place at the right time.

“I came here from Kenya, but I feel like I’ve always been a part of this place,” says the MAGDJ student. “Living in this community is uplifting.” Read Max’s story.

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The ultimate youth retreat: Spring Thaw strengthens churches, educates students and develops leaders

What do Indiana Jones, theology seminars, a real camel, MU’s campus and 650 high schools students have in common? That's right: Spring Thaw. The weekend retreat, open to high school youth groups and their leaders, kicks off Friday, March 27 and concludes Sunday, March 29. Every year brings a unique theme, and 2015 is a mixture of ancient Egypt and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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This year MU will host 625 high school students and 103 youth leaders on its campus.

Youth Ministries Department Chair Dr. Rob Hildebrand has been running the event since its debut six years ago. "I do this because I really believe it's important to the kingdom," he says. "Spring Thaw has helped build community in youth groups, strengthened churches and brought kids to Christ. It helps kids experience solid teaching and grapple with deep thoughts in a world that is often shallow."

Six years ago, Andrew Alfeche was one of those kids. He remembers his first time at the retreat like it was yesterday. "I fell in love with Spring Thaw," he says. "It was an  incredible experience."

During that weekend Alfeche stayed in an MU student's dorm room, where he overheard theological discussions that sparked a nagging interest in the Scriptures. "Hearing how passionate that student was about explaining the Gospel made me excited," Alfeche says, "I thought, 'If students here know the Bible that well, I want that too.'"

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Spring Thaw has been hosted on campus for the past five years. Youth groups from all over the Northwest attend the event.

Two years later, Alfeche enrolled at MU. He's been volunteering at Spring Thaw ever since. "I always enjoy it so much," he says. "It's a lot more than a youth retreat. It's giving students a passion to follow Christ."

Volunteers like Alfeche have always made Spring Thaw possible. Several MU students and staff members plan, build and facilitate the retreat each year. A small group of students majoring in Youth Ministry take on larger leadership roles and serve as interns.

"This event gives them a chance to participate in some advanced youth ministry training," says Hildebrand. "They'll finish their weekend knowing they had a significant part in leading one of the larger youth ministry events in this region. It's very good experience for them in terms of skill development and résumé building."

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Students are treated to comedy skits, theology seminars, real-life Mario Kart, a bacon bonfire, bubble soccer and more.

The retreat is hosting a main speaker, Sid Koop, who will speak several times during the weekend. High school students will also attend theology seminars led by MU faculty. Hildebrand believes students learn best when they're in a balanced environment, so he developed plenty of activities, including comedy skits, a bacon bonfire, real-life Mario Kart, bubble soccer, hockey and a color war.

"Spring Thaw is a lot of work," he says. "But I believe it's important to the work God is doing in the Pacific Northwest, and I’m glad to be a part of that."

Registration is full, but visit the Spring Thaw Facebook page for more info about this retreat.