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.
“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.