Faculty

New scholarship named after beloved professor

Multnomah University is adding a new scholarship named after Distinguished Professor Emeritus David Needham, who taught at MU for 44 years. The David C. Needham Scholarship is being made possible by a generous donation from two Multnomah alumni — a married couple who wish to remain anonymous.

A heart for missions

The couple, who met at Multnomah in the 1960s, was struck by Needham’s humble style of teaching and tender heart for students. They have a deep appreciation for the friendship they’ve cultured with Needham and his wife Mary Jo for the past 45 years. By providing a scholarship under Needham’s name, they hope to celebrate their former teacher while blessing current students who feel called to missionary work.

“We are pleased to be giving this scholarship to students who have a heart for missions, particularly unreached peoples and East Africa,” they said.

After serving as missionaries in the Mexicali Valley for 15 years, the couple began developing ministries in Tanzania and East Africa — an adventure they have been committed to for the past 20 years.

Transforming forces in the world

Needham-SizedNeedham was thrilled to receive the news of the scholarship. “I was happily amazed when I heard about it,” he said. “This scholarship is helping MU fulfill its mission — equipping students to become transforming forces in the world.”

The price of a college education is high, Needham added, but he thinks the new scholarship will be a big encouragement to students who want to serve.

“I hope that Multnomah will accomplish its goal of teaching them to live the Christian life and share it with others,” he said. “I hope that they will have the proficiency to share the Gospel with people around the world, and I hope that this scholarship will continue to grow year by year.”

A gift from David Needham

Since Needham’s retirement from Multnomah in 2008, he has kept busy teaching adult classes at his church and writing. He has published four books, including “Close To His Majesty,” which he is offering to the Multnomah community for free.

In lieu of payment, we invite you to consider giving a gift to a student through the David C. Needham Scholarship. Visit our donation page to contribute any amount you choose.

Download your free copy of “Close To His Majesty.”

A Call to Worship for the Tragedy in Charleston

Comments Off Written on June 19th, 2015 by
Categories: Faculty, General

The Multnomah community grieves the tragic loss of nine of our brothers and sisters in Christ at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Once again we find ourselves mourning because of a senseless and evil act of racially targeted violence. Our hearts are broken.

We echo this liturgy shared by one of our local churches in expressing our heartfelt cry unto the Lord on behalf of our kingdom family in Charleston. Read the rest of this entry »

Psychology major combines biblical truth with cutting-edge theory

MU’s psychology major mixes psychological theory — perspectives from the past and today's cutting-edge ideas — with biblical truth.

“This major is designed to answer questions about human nature,” says Psychology Department Chair Dr. Elliott Lawless. “If you like to ask questions, think deeply and help other people, then you are the type of student who would do well in this program.”

Learn more about our psychology program.

Four seminary students selected for two-week internship in Oxford

If studying ancient manuscripts is a dream come true, then studying ancient manuscripts at one of the world’s best universities must be paradise.

Four seminary students from MU have been selected to attend the Logos Conference, a two-week internship at 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.

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Haley Kirkpatrick (pictured) is studying in Oxford with classmates Becca McMartin, Daniel Somboonsiri and David Tucker.

Students from more than 60 schools across North America applied, but only 30 people were selected. Five additional students who participated in the 2014 internship were chosen to attend as second-year fellows. David Tucker and Becca McMartin will be attending the conference for the first time. Haley Kirkpatrick and Daniel Somboonsiri will be joining as second-year fellows.

Biblical Languages Chair Dr. Karl Kutz told his Hebrew students about the opportunity this winter and encouraged them to apply. McMartin, Kirkpatrick and Somboonsiri have assisted Kutz with two GSI projects, and Tucker has helped with one. Both projects focused on analyzing a never-before-seen Dead Sea Scroll fragment loaned to them from the Green Collection.

“These four are some of our best students, and I am delighted they have been selected,” says Kutz. “The invitation for them to participate speaks very highly of their skills and the quality of our program.”

McMartin says she waited on pins and needles to find out if she was chosen for the trip. When she heard the good news, she called Kirkpatrick, who had just received confirmation of her own acceptance. They screamed together in glee over the phone.

“This is almost unbelievable,” says McMartin. “Studying a Dead Sea Scroll fragment is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And everything we do in Oxford will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity too! It’s humbling, and it’s an honor.”

Kutz, who was invited to lead three sessions of a Logos Hebrew language seminar, will join his students in Oxford for five days. 

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Daniel Somboonsiri (pictured) and Haley Kirkpatrick will attend the Logos Conference as second-year fellows.

“I am excited for them to have the opportunity to learn from other leading scholars in the field of textual research,” he says. “I am also glad they get to rub shoulders with other junior scholars from around the world who will become their peers as they continue in their studies and careers.”

As second-year fellows, Kirkpatrick and Somboonsiri will give presentations on the two GSI projects they have tackled. They’ll discuss the particular fragments they studied, how they analyzed them, processes in research they took and more. In addition to presenting their findings, fellows will also lead small group discussions. “Our schedule in Oxford is packed!” says Kirkpatrick. “Group discussions are a way for us to process the experience as it’s happening.”

Although the internship is a flurry of chapels, lectures, tours, discussions and tea times, Kirkpatrick hopes McMartin and Tucker can slow down to soak it all in. “My hope is that their experience in Oxford affirms for them how well God knows them and what he’s called them to do,” she says.

McMartin says they wouldn’t be going to Oxford if it weren’t for their teachers. “Our professors have accepted a huge responsibility by taking on GSI projects so that we could have this opportunity,” she says. “I’m so thankful for their investment in us.”

Kirkpatrick agrees. “I appreciate their emphasis on teamwork, and I appreciate recognizing and encouraging strengths in your teammates,” she says. “Our professors have a keen understanding of the language complimented by curiosity. They invite their students into the process. I still think we have the best Hebrew program in the country.”

Learn more about MU's Hebrew program.

‘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.”

Teachers, scholars and leaders: Faculty add to a rich legacy of scholarship

A lot of great things are happening at Multnomah – new majors, new online degrees, new athletic programs – but one thing hasn’t changed: our commitment to providing an exceptional academic experience firmly rooted in God’s Word.

josberger_featureimageOur professors express this commitment by cultivating biblical wisdom in our students and publishing works that add depth and meaning to their respective fields. They’re experts in biblical exegesis, language and theological research – and they’re keenly aware of the complexities of modern society.

“Our faculty serve as thought leaders in their particular academic areas,” says Dr. Craig Williford, Multnomah’s president. “Their research, publications, speaking and teaching are all anchored in the authoritative Word of God.”

Multnomah’s rich legacy of scholarship continues to this day. Current Multnomah faculty members have authored more than 20 books covering a wide array of topics. They include Al Baylis, Derek Chinn, Brad Harper, Rebekah Josberger, Rex Koivisto, Rick McKinley, Paul Louis Metzger, Daniel Scalberg, Wayne Strickland and John Terveen.

“They know that God’s truth provides the proper foundation for all our academic explorations,” says Williford. “Combining their commitment to the Bible with being on the forefront of research provides the best quality educational experience for our students.”

Visit our faculty page to learn more.

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?"

Multnomah makes history with acceptance into NAIA, Cascade Conference

PORTLAND, Ore. – Multnomah University is excited to announce that it has been accepted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC). This is a historic achievement for MU because the NAIA is the largest sports association the institution has been involved with since the University’s establishment in 1936.

I am thrilled that MU has been accepted into the NAIA and the CCC,” Athletic Director Lois Vos said. “This historic time is directly related to the hard work each person has invested in MU to make it an athletic department that stands for excellence and for making it the best experience we can for the student athlete. We are truly blessed!” Vos has been serving at Multnomah for 26 years, and she said this is the most significant development during her tenure as athletic director.

The NAIA oversees sports programs at more than 260 small colleges and universities. The student athlete is the center of the NAIA experience, and the organization is dedicated to character development. Each year, more than 60,000 student-athletes in the NAIA compete in 13 sports and 23 national championships.

The premier Christian education fostered at Multnomah, combined with the Champions of Character program developed and promoted by the NAIA, establishes a perfect environment in which Lion athletes can flourish,” said David Lee, MU’s cross country and track and field coach. “We are thrilled that the NAIA, with its caring-for-people history, has included us as a member. MU's coaching team is encouraged at this announcement and will be strengthened by joining ranks with some of America's finest coaches.” Lee coached in the NAIA and CCC for 13 years before joining MU.

The CCC has evolved into one of the NAIA’s most formidable leagues. It sanctions championship competition for men and women in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, and track and field, along with baseball for men and softball and volleyball for women.

Multnomah joins CCC member schools College of Idaho, Concordia University, Corban University, Eastern Oregon University, The Evergreen State College, Northwest University, Northwest Christian University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Southern Oregon University, Walla Walla University and Warner Pacific College.

“On behalf of CCC, we congratulate Multnomah University on their acceptance to the NAIA,” Commissioner Robert Cashell stated. “Director of Athletics Lois Vos and her staff worked tirelessly the last 10 months in preparation for this historic day for MU athletics. We  look forward to a long and positive relationship with MU as we welcome our friends to the league as official members.”

“This is an extremely exciting time for Multnomah University,” said Curt Bickley, who coaches men’s basketball for the Lions. “Personally, I did not think I would ever see this day, but now that it is here, I am fired up about the potential and possibilities for our institution, and specifically for our basketball program.”

About Multnomah Athletics
Multnomah Athletics began in the 1950s with men’s basketball and expanded to include women's volleyball in the 1960s. In 2014, MU added six new programs (men’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s golf) and now features 10 teams with the recent addition of men’s and women’s track and field. Before joining the NAIA, Multnomah competed in the National Christian College Athletic Association.

About Multnomah University
Multnomah University is a fully accredited, private, non-denominational, Christian institution of higher education located in Portland, Oregon, with teaching sites in Reno, Nevada, and Seattle, Washington. Composed of a college, seminary, graduate school, degree completion program and online distance-learning program, Multnomah issues bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees, as well as professional certifications and endorsements. For more information, visit multnomah.edu.

Right at home in Reno

When Pastor Mike Stewart decided to spring for a Master of Divinity degree, he knew he couldn’t look far from home. The 43-year-old’s roots had burrowed into Reno, Nev. — and into the church he and his wife planted 10 years ago.

So when Stewart discovered Multnomah’s Reno-Tahoe campus, he was delighted. “I love the convenience of experiencing world-class education 15 minutes from my office,” he says. “With my family being planted in Reno, an accredited resource like Multnomah is a God-send.”

'Equipped to minister'

MU’s presence in Reno-Tahoe was a long time in the making. Conversations began more than 15 years ago when several church and business leaders from northern Nevada approached Multnomah about the possibility of creating a Bible college in Reno.

“Many of our young people were leaving Reno for their college education,” says Dean of Students Tony Slavin. “But then they would never return to Nevada. We needed a place where they could be equipped to minister in the church here.”

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Director of Reno-Tahoe John McKendricks and Dean of Students Tony Slavin.

'Filling a role no one else is filling'

In 2008, MU’s board of trustees approved a recommendation to merge with a little school in Reno called Meadows Bible Institute. After the board at Meadows accepted, both institutions negotiated an agreement that would transfer all Meadow’s assets to Multnomah. Under the direction of former president Daniel Lockwood, the agreement was signed that summer, and the first accredited biblical university in Nevada was born.

“We’re filling a role that no one else is filling,” says Director John McKendricks. “And we’re maintaining connections with the broader faith community.”

Slavin agrees. “What’s going on in the classroom is inseparable with what’s happening in local churches,” he says. “Students are gaining a hands-on approach to ministry from well-educated pastors.”

'A strong biblical foundation'

One of those students is Alina Bjerre, a 25-year-old kindergarten teacher earning her Bible and theology degree. Like Stewart, Bjerre has deep roots in Reno and wanted an education close to home.  Multnomah was the perfect fit. “I was so excited about what I would learn here,” she says. “I see value in getting this degree. We should all have a strong biblical foundation.”

Bjerre is building that foundation with the help of some talented and caring faculty. “The professors are fascinating to listen to and passionate about what they teach,” she says. “And they’re so personable — I feel like I can talk to them about anything.”

But what stands out to Bjerre the most is the unique community Multnomah attracts. “People come here with different interpretations, but we all love Jesus,” she says.

'Diversity within our unity'

Slavin feels the same way. “We have amazing students spanning across all ages and representing 17 denominations,” he explains. “MU creates an atmosphere that encourages diversity within our unity. These students have become my family and friends and co-learners. We teach them how to study and how to think, but not what to believe.”

That’s something Stewart has greatly appreciated. “There's a grounded, practical feel to the classes and intended outcomes at Multnomah,” he says. “I've been able to connect so much of what I’ve learned to the church I pastor. MU also provides a place for students to gather in a neutral environment for fellowship and discussion. My education has been valuable, but the relationships I’ve developed have been invaluable.”

Learn more about Multnomah Reno-Tahoe.

Seminary professor launches new book about freedom

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Pastor Rick McKinley

Rick McKinley, MU professor and lead pastor of Imago Dei Community, has published his fifth book — "The Answer to Our Cry: Freedom to Live Fully, Love Boldly and Fear Nothing." The Multnomah Biblical Seminary alum planted Imago Dei in 2000 and travels widely to share local movements, such as Advent Conspiracy, with the broader Church.

Get a free copy

Today MU's marketing department is kicking off a book giveaway contest. Go to Twitter to share your answer to "What does freedom mean to you?" and Instagram to answer "What does freedom look like to you?" Use the hashtag #mufreedom to qualify. Three winners will be announced at noon on Friday, November 7. All winners receive a free copy of McKinley's new book.

Enjoy this excerpt from "The Answer to Our Cry":

Answer to our cryThe form that freedom takes in Scripture is relationship with God. This is the gravity that holds our lives together so that we can enjoy the life that God has given us. We call this the gospel: the Good News that God hears our cry and sent his Son to give us freedom. We might think about this saving story as a narrative that has five parts: creation, fall, redemption, restoration, and consummation. • Creation: A good God created a good world in perfection so that we could enjoy him and everything he had made. • Fall: Humankind fell away from this God, and the sin that happened in the garden led to spiritual and physical death. We all are alienated from God. • Redemption: God did not leave us to our own despair. He came after us by sending his Son to live the life we should have lived, die the death we should have died, and bring about a new creation both in us and in the world. • Restoration: This good God is currently restoring all things through Jesus and bringing about his new creation so that the world changes (and we change too). Pockets of new creation are breaking forth in the old creation, and new life is the beginning to dawn. • Consummation: One day God will bring his creation and us together into a new perfection. That is what he originally created in the Garden of Eden. All pain and suffering will be done away with because this good God is making everything new. Creation, fall, redemption, restoration and consummation. And it really is good news! However, that’s not all there is. God’s nature and being are the main text of the story, and our experience of creation, fall, redemption, restoration, and consummation are the subtext. Without the main text, the subtext doesn’t make much sense (or even exist, for that matter). I believe the reason so many followers of Jesus are still crying out for freedom and still finding themselves bound up in slavery is because the don’t understand the most important part of the story — the part where we discover who this good God really is. The reason this is so important is because our freedom is dependant on it. If our freedom is dependent on form, then the form of our freedom is relationship with the good God of the Bible. We will never be free until we experience who this God is through an actual relationship with him. Freedom comes from desiring God for who he actually is, not what he has done for us. When we focus on only what God has done for us, we don’t relate to God for who he is. When that happens, we are dragged into a whole new kind of religious slavery. Our freedom is predicted on our being in an actual relational union with the God of the gospel. This means we will have to look up from the subtext of what God has done for us and fall in love with the God who is, well, everything. Being loved and in love with this God is the form that freedom requires to be experienced. We will never be free until we love God for who he really is. Taken with permission from "The Answer to Our Cry" by Rick McKinley (p. 24-26)

Interested in buying Rick McKinley's book?