Missions

MU’s global studies program prepares students for work around the world

MU's intercultural studies program was recently renamed the global studies program. But the switch is more than a name change. I sat down with Global Studies Chair Dr. Greg Burch for the full scoop.

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How is global studies different from intercultural studies?

Global studies provides students with everything intercultural studies did, but changing the name opened up the opportunity to add five concentrations:

  • Global Ministry
  • Children at Risk
  • Culture and Diversity
  • Applied Linguistics
  • International Regional Studies

These concentrations are interdisciplinary. So a student might take an English class on minority voices. Or say you have a student who wants to work in the Middle East after they graduate. Now they can spend a semester over there. Want to translate the Bible? Applied Linguistics will teach you how to preserve culture while giving the written word of God to those who haven't had access to it. Our concentrations provide students with better skills to work in their area of interest.

Why was this change made?

Over the past couple of years our department has been researching a way forward for our program given the complexities of our globalized world. We noted that the intercultural studies program had remained virtually unchanged for a number of years, so we assessed the program through student focus groups and one-on-one interviews. We got the sense that the current program was not connecting as well as it could with this generation of students who were living in a highly complex mission environment.

What kind of feedback were you getting from these focus groups and one-on-one meetings?

Students talked about needing practical skills and a targeted education. Now these concentrations get to the skills they wanted. We’ve also indicated potential career options around each concentration.

Another thing they mentioned was having redundant classes. So I removed an entire class and combined other classes.

What are you most excited about as you move forward?

The Children at Risk concentration. I’ve worked with street children and children at risk for over 10 years. That’s what God has made me for. This concentration prepares them for national and international work with kids.

We’re also enlarging the opportunities students will have for vocational ministry and marketplace jobs. I’m excited about the fact that we’re getting beyond that secular/sacred divide in missions that was so ingrained in many of our Bible colleges and seminaries. We have come to realize that we must engage with our culture and world in vocations that are relevant to where people are at.

Some students are not in the position to raise support for missions the traditional way. But there are things they can do beyond missions work. Their calling can be found in governmental or secular organizations. They can have salaries and still serve Christ in their mission. Others will still feel called to serve with faith-based missions agencies, and we still prepare people for support raising and missionary service.

There is a crisis in missiological education today. The culture of missions is changing, but a lot of missions programs haven’t changed. We’re trying to get ahead of the curve, and we’re trying to engage where we are today without watering anything down.

Who is this program for?

If you’re interested in serving people, working with ethnic groups, church-planting, international vocations — this is critical for you. You’ll be given the tools to thrive. If you want to be a transforming force in the world, these classes will help. Each concentration has its values and provides practical skills in those areas.

What are the benefits of getting the Bible and theology major with the global studies major?

You’ll be well-rounded. You’ll become someone who loves God’s Word. And if you work with non-faith-based organizations, where you might be a minority as a Christian, developing habits of spiritual discipline will be all the more important.

Also, understanding global theology helps us understand what other people are thinking, so we’re not surprised with different ways of processing. We need to think openly when learning from the global church. Our faculty does a wonderful job preparing students for that.

Join the party

The Global Studies Department is having a celebration/informational meeting, and you're invited!

Friday March 13
10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.*
Bradley Hall, B3

Intercultural studies students will learn about transitioning to global studies, and others can hear details about the new program. There will also be food, music and a time of international worship.

*This time counts toward chapel credits

Learn more about our global studies program.

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.

National Award Caps Remarkable College Experience

Erik Mendoza has been playing basketball for as long as he can remember. Like most kids, he learned the basics from dad in his front driveway. But unlike most kids, Mendoza began attending the Chicago Bulls Training Academy when he was 8. It was the '90s in Chicago. The Bulls were heroes; Michael Jordan was a king.

Mendoza, a die-hard Jordan fan, stayed at the academy until he was 15. After playing all four years of high school, he was ready to compete at the college level. A small school didn't appeal to him. He definitely wasn't planning on going to Multnomah.

erik_main‘Jesus has changed my life’

Mendoza’s step-dad and step-grandfather had attended MU. They had great things to say about the close-knit school in Portland. So despite some misgivings, Mendoza decided to visit.

Ultimately, it was the people that won him over.

"I was excited to move out West," he said. "And I had this curiosity about my faith."

Mendoza had been raised in the Church, but he was uncertain about what he'd learned there. Things changed when he moved onto campus his first year.

"When I came to MU, I was tired of an empty life," he said. Four years later, Mendoza is a different man. "Jesus has changed my life," he said. "He has given me so much peace."

Mendoza was also given endless opportunities to mature as an athlete and a Christ follower. His heart for others did not go unnoticed: This year, he was honored with the Pete Maravich Memorial Award, a national honor that annually recognizes an outstanding NCCAA senior who has shown excellence in competition, skill, academics and service.

‘I didn’t want to leave’

A year into Multnomah, Mendoza wasn't sure he was going to stay. He had developed a strong interest in business and marketing. At the time, MU had yet to launch its business program, so Mendoza considered transferring to a different school. He couldn't do it.

"I had made such good relationships here," he said. "I didn't want to leave."

The more he spoke to people about his interest in marketing, the more he felt a pull toward a psychology degree. Ultimately, he decided he could stay at MU and work toward the business world.

‘I've learned so much’

And that's exactly what Mendoza has done. During his sophomore year, he began working as a product tester for one of the world's top sports brands, Adidas. Every couple months, he'd take a pair of prototype shoes home and "wear the heck out of them." Over the next several months, Mendoza would take detailed notes on how the shoes felt, performed and stood up to countless hours in the court. Then he’d submit his observations to Adidas before starting the process all over again.

After two years of testing shoes, Mendoza interned in the product development department. The rapport he's built with Adidas, coupled with the experience he's gained at MU, has opened several doors for him. Since graduating in May, Adidas has hired him as a full-time retail marketing specialist for its basketball, baseball and football divisions.

"I have no marketing experience," Mendoza said. "But through earning my psychology degree, I've learned so much about how people work. To translate that into marketing has not been that hard; it's actually given me a boost in how I view marketing."

Mendoza hasn't only learned how people think, he's also come to appreciate others more than ever. His second major, Bible & Theology, has helped him do that. "I love the layout of the program — that you get to go through the whole Bible in four years," he said. "And I appreciated the teaching. The professors are fantastic; they make it such a strong program, and they relate the Bible to real life."

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A better and stronger person’

But it's the basketball team that's been the driving force in Mendoza's life these past four years.

"The team was the catalyst for me being at this school, learning what I've learned," he said. "It was always the one constant thing in my life."

Mendoza thrived while playing for the Lions. He served as team captain for three years. Basketball coach Curt Bickley puts a heavy emphasis on missions and community service; he's accompanied Mendoza and his team on mission trips to the Czech Republic and Taiwan. Mendoza has also volunteered, alongside his teammates, at Providence Children's Hospital for the past four years.

"All these things make the basketball team more than a basketball team," he said. "Coach Bickley is a fantastic role model. He creates men. He'll be blunt with you. But if you stick around, you'll come out a better and stronger person. He's one of the people here who has impacted me the most."

‘It’s been a good four years’

It was because of Bickley that Erik was nominated for the Pete Maravich Memorial Award.

"It never crossed my mind that I'd be nominated," Mendoza said. But Bickley had been impressed by Mendoza's growth during his time at MU, and he recommended him to the group of coaches that determines the award-winner.

The coaches voted for Mendoza.

When Bickley called him with the news, Mendoza was shocked. "I hadn't known I was even nominated until he called me and told me I'd won," he said. "I was pretty blown away."

The award seemed to come at the perfect time.

"I had been really anxious and scared about my basketball career ending, and I was trying to ignore it," he said. "It was bittersweet — but amazing — to see how God wrapped up my time here: The season came to an end, I made my last shot and then I found out about the award.

"I felt like it was God's way of saying, 'You've done a good job here, but it doesn't have to be sad. It's been a good four years, but it's time to move on to the next phase.'"

MU Basketball Team Shares Gospel in Taiwan

tipsCoach Curt Bickley shares the details of the Lions' mission trip to Taiwan this month. 

Multnomah in Taiwan

The basketball team flew to Taipei on May 9 and spent the week playing basketball games and sharing the Gospel. We were able to share the Gospel publicly 12 times during the week.

Thanks to our Taiwan missionaries for all their help and for making this trip work:

  • Uwe Maurer
  • Rex Manu
  • Dave Freeman
  • Garrett Freeman
  • Dan Long

Games

We played 8 games in 6 days. At each game, we were able to share the Gospel with the other team and their fans at halftime. All the teams were very open to listening to the mission of our trip.

We handed out bracelets that said Multnomah University on one side and John 3:16 on the other. We told the crowd to Google both. Our interpreters were great, and there were times when we even used guys from the other team to interpret.

TAIWAN TECH

Bethany Christian School

We visited Bethany on Tuesday morning. Stevie Sansone and Davey Walker shared their testimonies with the kids after I spoke. We played Hot Box free throws with the kids and had a great time.

bethany

Taichung Elderly Home Visit

Rex Manu set up a great visit for our guys. We listened to Grandma Wu share her life story, and then the residents listened to me share mine. Our guys then massaged the arms and hands of the elderly and then Rex shared the plan of salvation. Eight people who wanted assurance of a home in Heaven raised their hands.

ELDERLY HOME

granny

Kinmenn Islands

We flew out to the Kinmenn Islands and spent the day on scooters riding around both islands before we made our way out the the only school on the island. We spent time with the junior high, gave them Jeremy Lin books and shared the gospel. It was the first American basketball team to ever visit their school.

FOOD

SCOOTERS

Love Life Basketball Game

Saturday night was a special treat for everyone: We played the SBL All Star team (Taiwan Pro League). The purpose of the game was to raise awareness and money for kids with cancer. We did not know how big of an event it was until we showed up and saw hundreds of fans lined up to get in an hour before the game.

During the introduction of players, each player from both teams came out with one of the children. Blackie Chen prayed for the kids with both teams out on the court.

TEAM

At halftime, I was able to share the Gospel with over 700 fans and players. After the game, we spent time with everyone involved. We actually won the game by a score of 63-56, surprising most. Our guys represented MU extremely well that night; it was a great success.

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 Thank you to all our donors that made this trip happen! 

— Coach Bickley

Check Out Our New D.Min. Track: Global Evangelism

We sat down with Dr. Derek Chinn, director of MU's Doctor of Ministry program, to find out more about the degree's latest track, global evangelism.

Space is still available, and classes start June 2. If you have questions about this track or want to register, contact Dr. Chinn by emailing dchinn@multnomah.edu or calling 503-251-6732.

What's the purpose of the global evangelism track?

Dr. Luis Palau

Dr. Luis Palau

This track is in line with Multnomah’s goal of equipping its students for global mission. The education our students receive is biblically-grounded and academically rigorous, and it deliberately integrates what's learned in the classroom with ministry that takes place in the real world.

How will the track prepare students for missional work?

The majority of the students are already evangelists. They are currently doing the very thing God has gifted them to do, and they will continue to evangelize to those who don’t know Jesus and train local congregations to share the Gospel.

Getting a D.Min. degree will give them the opportunity to study more in-depth the theological underpinnings of evangelism, learn about different strategies and methodologies for evangelism, develop a better understanding and appreciation for the work that builds and sustains evangelistic ministry, and learn from fellow evangelists serving in different contexts.

How is this track distinct from programs offered by other seminaries?

evangelism_tim

Dr. Tim Robnett

Students participate and study with instructors who are actively engaged in evangelism around the world. The faculty mentor, Dr. Tim Robnett, is president of Tim Robnett Ministries, and he actively trains and mentors evangelists, locally and internationally. International evangelist Dr. Luis Palau is the senior lecturer for this track and will participate in the instruction. Guest lecturers are respected educators and practitioners in evangelism.

How is the track enriching in terms of professional, spiritual and personal development?

Students will use their professional ministry skills in the church and for the community to equip believers in the ministry of evangelism. They are expected to nurture their personal relationship with God and mature in personal character. Participants in this track will have ample opportunity to reflect on and develop a process of adaptation and application of biblical principles in the area of evangelism.

What makes this program stand out?

The experience that Dr. Robnett and Dr. Palau bring to the classroom is outstanding, and I can't think of any program that brings these types of skills and experience to bear. Dr. Robnett’s deep understanding of how evangelists are gifted and wired significantly shapes how instruction will occur, what coursework is assigned, and what topics will be covered.

Want to find out more about Multnomah Biblical Seminary? Check out our seminary page

Basketball Team Seeks Support for Mission Trip to Taiwan

The MU Lions and their coach, Curt Bickley, will be taking a mission trip to Taiwan May 10-19. Bickley has been coaching men's basketball at Multnomah since 2003. This will be the sixth mission trip he has taken with the Lions and the fourth mission trip to Taiwan.

The team will work with Taiwan Sunshine, a nonprofit that supports special needs children by providing outreach and special events, such as the Hero Games, which is similar to the Special Olympics. During their trip, the Lions will volunteer at the Hero Games and run various basketball clinics around the country. The team members will not only have the chance to teach children the rules of the game; they will also get to share the Gospel with them.

basketballteam_mainEleven team members will be traveling to Taiwan, and each of them needs to raise $2,000 to cover expenses for traveling, food and lodging. The team has shared the following prayer requests with the Multnomah community:

  • Successful fundraisers
  • Spiritual, mental and physical preparation for the trip
  • Safety while traveling
  • Eternal results from their ministry

The Lions are still hard at work raising money for the trip. The cutoff date for donations is April 20.

Want to contribute to this mission trip? Include the following information with a check made payable to "MU Athletic Tour":

  • Your name and address
  • The amount you're donating
  • The name of the player whom you're supporting (This is optional. You may choose to help a specific player or donate to the general fund.)

Send this information, along with your gift, to the following address:

Multnomah University, Athletic Department
8435 NE Glisan St.
Portland, OR 97220

Remember: Only checks made out to "MU Athletic Tour" can be accepted. Donations over $20 are tax deductible. Your financial gift cannot be refunded. Contributions are solicited with the understanding that MU has complete control and discretion over the use of all donated funds.

The MU Lions are grateful for your support!

For more information about Multnomah Athletics, check out our athletics page.

Truly Holistic: MA in Global Development & Justice Flourishes

The inaugural year of Multnomah's MA in Global Development and Justice (MAGDJ) is in full swing. The program, launched last fall, equips students for a lifetime of fruitful service in the vast world of justice initiatives, poverty alleviation, disaster response and compassion projects. I'm happy to highlight this program, especially in light of the two justice-centered events MU hosted last week: the Global Missions Conference and the Justice Conference Portland. The MAGDJ ties in beautifully with Multnomah's holistic approach to the world's toughest problems. I sat down with Intercultural Studies Chair and Director of the MAGDJ, Dr. Greg Burch, to find out more about this dynamic degree.

'A globally-focused graduate program'

imageBurch earned his bachelor's degree at Multnomah in 1994, and then immediately jumped into global development work in Venezuela. He ministered to homeless youth for several years before moving to Costa Rica to teach at a seminary.

One day, he received an email from MU's Intercultural Studies Chair, Dr. Tom Kopp, who asked him what he thought a globally-focused graduate program in humanitarian studies would look like. Many students had been asking about such a degree, and Kopp wanted to turn their hopes into a reality.

Burch sent Kopp his thoughts. The program never got off the ground, but when Kopp retired from Multnomah two years later, Burch applied for his position. He got the job, and moved with his wife and two kids to Portland. As soon as he began working at MU in summer 2012, Burch threw himself into crafting a program proposal for an MA in Global Development and Justice. The board and accreditors approved it, and a new major was born.

'A fabulous place to prepare'

Students received the program with open arms. Karen Sele says she always knew MU was an intentionally Bible-based university, but she wasn't prepared for the personalized care and customized teaching the MAGDJ program gives her: "I'm impressed that the most intensive assignments are flexibly structured to complement each individual’s focus," she says. "The members of our cohort bring a valuable tapestry of backgrounds, experiences and views to our discussions. After only one term of learning and supporting each other, we’ve developed a deep community of friendship which will extend beyond this program as we come alongside God in his work of restoration here and around the world. If God is calling you to this kind of work, Multnomah is a fabulous place to prepare!"

Sele and her classmates will completes 300 hours of internship before graduating. Burch is currently helping students find their ideal internship matches; he's compiled a list of organizations they can work for, and is busy writing several letters of recommendation. His students are applying to International Justice Mission, World ReliefSamaritan's Purse and several other well-respected for-profits and nonprofits. "We do a good job of networking with organizations who can hire our students after they get their degree," he says. "I want my students to go all over the world after they graduate."

Serving in a quality way

Burch says his students are very different from one another, but they're all earning a MAGDJ degree for the same reason — they have a deep desire to help others and to make the world a better place. "These students are amazing," he says. "They're so passionate about reaching out to people on the fringes of society."

But it takes more than passion to work in the field. Early burnout is a common issue. "Many people only last about two years when they work with a group like at-risk youth," says Burch. "But I want our students to be able to serve a lifetime." Burch and his team of professors make it a priority to train students in the art of soul care, self-care and spiritual formation, "so they can serve in a quality way," he says.

Although Burch dreams of growing his program, he's more concerned about making sure his students are equipped to tackle anything that comes their way. "I'm not numbers-focused," Burch says. "I want to mentor my students and walk with them."

'Truly holistic'

There are other global development and justice degrees out there, but Burch recommends MU's program for a few good reasons: "It's faith-based and truly holistic," he says. "We incorporate spirituality into the curriculum. We want the people we help to develop in their relationship with God and grow in their leadership abilities. A lot of programs just focus on the financial aspect, but humans are whole beings, and we have more than economic needs."

Burch says there are more jobs in this field than anywhere else. More than 1.9 billion people live on less than $1 per day. Sixteen thousand children die from curable diseases each day. "If you're looking to get rich, then this type of work isn't for you," Burch says. "But if you're looking to serve people and see lives change — this is it."

To learn more about this program, check out the MAGDJ page and read Dr. Burch's article.

MU will also offer a part-time MAGDJ program at its Reno-Tahoe site beginning fall 2014.

M.A. in Global Development & Justice

1 Comment » Written on April 16th, 2013 by
Categories: Faculty, General, Missions

By Greg Burch

It was early morning when I was huddled around a fire with ten boys, ages 8 to 13, preparing to work in the community market in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Each Saturday these boys would show up at 5 a.m. to get their “choice” wheelbarrow preparing to carry client’s groceries around the market and then either back to their cars or homes like caddies. For a number of weeks I joined them, hoping to learn about the lives of young workers and to observe how Bolivian Christians reach out to this group of children. In some cases, these children live on the street. Others live at home and help out by providing some of the family income. Compared to some working conditions around the world, these boys are fortunate. Read the rest of this entry »

Alumni in Oaxaca – Casa Compasiva

Alumni in Oaxaca – Casa Compasiva

We have eight children and I love birth, so when God nudged me to start a birth center in Oaxaca, Mexico, it seemed like the logical next step in our long-term family ministry here. We could use compassionate maternity care to reach women with the love of God! Read the rest of this entry »

On the Flip Side – School for At-Risk Teens

On the Flip Side – School for At-Risk Teens

Cameron (B.S. '06) and Deidre Potter (B.A. '05)

Alumni Cameron and Deidre met at Multnomah in the fall 2003 while working on Multnomah Community Outreach team together. After spending most of their Spring Breaks on missions trips to Compton, California, they developed a passion for educating inner city youth. In February of 2007, a year after they got married, Cameron and Deidre responded to the call that God had placed on their hearts and left Portland, moving by faith to Los Angeles. Read the rest of this entry »