Seeing the bigger picture: How MU is making a difference

Comments Off on Seeing the bigger picture: How MU is making a difference Written on May 31st, 2016 by
Categories: Newsletter, Pray For MU, Students

Recently I was flying home from the East Coast. As I looked down, I thought about how much perspective changes everything. The view from 30,000 feet is radically different than the one on ground level. Life moves fast, and often times we don’t see the bigger picture.

From God’s vantage point, the seemingly small activities on earth come into focus as part of a much larger picture. At Multnomah, we do lots of educational and biblical activities daily. Sometimes we wonder what the big picture looks like. Are we making a difference? A recent story illustrates that we are!


The Patersons

Nineteen years ago, a divorce ripped through the Paterson family. Seven siblings were scattered to pursue separate lives. But God had plans to reconstruct what was broken, and Multnomah would play an important role.

Monica was introduced to MU by a brother who lives in Oregon. When she visited campus, she immediately felt at home. “I was sold when my tour guide told me professors pray with their students,” she said. But Monica had three conditions for attending: her sister had to attend, all expenses had to be paid, and she had to be able to live with her sister at some point.

Dirks_Chapel_In_Spring-alt01Monica’s sister (who will be kept anonymous due to her field of work) was a missionary in Budapest. She was convinced she would never return to America. But God had different plans. One day He asked her: Will you go to America? Her immediate answer was, “No!” But gradually her heart softened. “Finally, I realized God is sovereign, faithful and knows best,” she said. So, with encouragement from her brother in Oregon, she applied to MU.

In the meantime, another brother, Jonathan, was in Missouri contemplating seminary. When he heard his sisters were headed to Multnomah, and that scholarships had helped make it affordable, he enrolled at Multnomah Biblical Seminary. “Soon my wife and I had jobs and a place to live,” he said. “My chances even looked
good to graduate debt-free.”

The family members settled into their studies and began to invest in one another. “God sent me to the best college for teaching me how to love,” Monica said. “The focus of this school is relationships.” She even plans to room with her sister in the near future, which fulfills her last requirement. It’s a testimony of God’s hand in even the smallest details.

Jonathan used to only see his sisters annually, but now he interacts with them daily, even if it’s just exchanging a hug in the hallway. “I’m getting to know them again,” he said. Next year, a fourth Paterson will join his siblings in Oregon. The scattered pieces are being gathered at last.

This is the big picture. Multnomah was a place of healing for this family because of God’s work through the faculty, staff, alumni and friends who support MU with their prayers, service and giving.


A few weeks ago, we celebrated 115 godly men and women who walked across the stage during graduation. Whether these graduates work for churches, nonprofits, local schools or corporate America, be encouraged that they know the Scriptures well and have high ambitions to transform the world for Jesus Christ! They were truly blessed by those who gave generously to Multnomah, and we challenged them to give back by supporting the students who come after them.

I want to urge you, like Paul urged the Corinthians, to participate in a collection for Multnomah students like our graduates and the Patersons. When Paul wanted churches across the ancient Mediterranean world to assist the needy in Jerusalem, he wrote these words in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2:

“Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.”

This is the message I’m sending our alumni and friends today. Every dollar we receive by June 30, 2016, will be matched thanks to God’s provision through a generous giver. We still need $211,445 to meet our scholarship goal. Would you ask God what part you might play in a student’s life by submitting a gift? Together we’re a part of God’s big picture!


G. Craig Williford

President, Multnomah University

give now

Campus Happenings, Spring 2016

Comments Off on Campus Happenings, Spring 2016 Written on May 23rd, 2016 by
Categories: Newsletter

MAGDJ program adds new online option

MU is set to launch an online version of the Master of Arts in Global Development and Justice (MAGDJ) program in January 2017. The 18-month program will kick off with two weeks in Rwanda, where students will take their first two courses, embark on study tours and connect with practitioners. All subsequent courses will be taken online, and students will take two eight-week courses at a time.

MU to launch biology program in fall 2016

Multnomah University’s new biology program will open the door to an array of career options for students who are serious about faith and science. “I’m excited that our students will be able to prepare for graduate studies in medical, dental and veterinary doctoral programs,” says Admissions Counselor Becca Ovall.

Seminary students selected for internships at Oxford

For the third year in a row, Multnomah seminary students have been selected to attend the Logos Conference, a two-week internship hosted at Oxford and sponsored by the Scholars Initiative. Students from more than 60 schools in North America submit applications, but only 30 students are chosen for the trip.

Degree Completion Program expands offerings

The Degree Completion Program is adding a degree in applied psychology, set to launch in fall 2016. Students can expect a practical approach to psychology that will equip them to apply psychological concepts to everyday issues. The department also has changed the name of the business and ethics degree to business management and the biblical foundations degree to biblical studies.

Spring Thaw energizes, educates 650 students

For the seventh year in a row, Multnomah hosted Spring Thaw, a weekend retreat for local youth groups. The event saw 650 high school students enjoying dynamic teaching, interactive games and plenty of space to experience God outside their usual routines. “It’s a good way to build community and fall more in love with God,” says local youth director Michael Calquhoun.

Where do you find yourself in the growing process? Person to Person, Spring 2016

Comments Off on Where do you find yourself in the growing process? Person to Person, Spring 2016 Written on May 23rd, 2016 by
Categories: Newsletter

Michelle Underwood is Director of Alumni Relations at Multnomah.

What an amazing week! My time was filled with celebratory activities honoring our graduates and 50-Year Alumni Society members. As they shared their stories with me throughout the week, I was reminded of the privilege it is to participate in what God is doing at Multnomah.

Don, a 50-Year Alumni Society member, stopped by my office to share his excitement over the 50-year reunion. He said the event was much more than a time to reconnect — it was a place where God showed up in a powerful way.

Professor Emeritus David Needham, who served as the keynote speaker, painted God as a wise farmer who knows the unique conditions different kinds of seeds need to mature.

“God knows what we need to grow,” Needham said. “Too often we’re looking at others, pitying them because they’re going through too much, or we’re judging them because we feel they should be stronger in their current conditions. We need to trust God with one another. Each biography is unique to its owner.”

Where do you find yourself in the growing process? Are you struggling under heavy burdens, or are you walking easily without pain? Wherever you are on the spectrum, I pray that the reminder of these truths would encourage your hearts today. As we applaud our new graduates and honor our 50-Year alumni, I hope each one remembers the supernatural reality of God’s love for them.

What are we raising anyway? Fanning the Flame, Spring 2016

Comments Off on What are we raising anyway? Fanning the Flame, Spring 2016 Written on May 23rd, 2016 by
Categories: Newsletter

Have you noticed that the world teaches us to handle our money a certain way? Our culture trains us to:

steve-cummings - office

Steve Cummings is Vice President of Advancement at Multnomah.

1. Enjoy our money. (Usually we over-enjoy it, which lands us in debt.)

2. Repay the debt created by overspending.

3. Save for future needs once we’re out of debt.

4. Give, if and when anything is left over.

God, on the other hand, teaches us to manage our money by inverting this order: Give first, then save, repay and enjoy. Reordering our priorities according to God’s principles results in more peace, deeper generosity and greater financial freedom.

Multnomah doesn’t do fundraising. For us, it’s all about “faith raising.” Why? Because we believe God is primarily interested in growing our faith, not getting our money. And when we grow in our faith, giving will naturally occur. We’re committed to staying connected with you and sharing stories that are both meaningful and inspiring.

Only after showing you the fruit Multnomah is producing will we invite you to exercise your faith through giving. We desire to grow your hearts to be rich toward God (Luke 12:21). We don’t want something from you — we want something for you! That’s why we encourage you to be generous no matter where God asks you to deploy His resources.

We’re asking the Lord to provide $211,445 by June 30 to complete funding for this past year’s student scholarships. You can participate with your gift online by visiting or texting the word “multnomah” to 77977.

Steve Cummings

P.S. Catch the latest news or give as God inspires you with our new MU mobile app. Download it today on the App Store or Google Play.

Natalie’s Story

Comments Off on Natalie’s Story Written on March 18th, 2016 by
Categories: Newsletter

Music major Natalie Correll shared her testimony with listeners at a recent event for friends of Multnomah. The following is a condensed version of her speech. 

Multnomah plays a leading role in my life story. I thought I had everything planned out perfectly, but at the last minute all my plans came to a hault. After I’d graduated high school, in summer 2009, I was traveling in Europe for a short-term mission’s leadership training. My team leader asked me why I hadn't considered Multnomah; some of his kids had attended, and he had nothing but positive comments for the MU community. I had been to a few youth events at Multnomah, but I had never considered it as a prospective university.

My 19 year-old self that summer was enduring a heap of pain and shame as I was going through the traumatic ending of a unhealthy relationship. My world was being shaken to the core, making me question who God was and how He was going to use me — a very lost girl — to change the world around me. Despite my broken heart, God had a plan that was rapidly unfolding. After talking with my leader during our trip, and through heaps of prayer, I decided to submit my application to MU while I was in Europe.


While I was still out of the country, my parents were generous enough to meet with Admissions and the Registrar’s Department to figure out the details. In the trusting relationship I had with my parents, we decided together that God was leading me to Multnomah. After such a painful year in my life, I wanted to live, breath and eat the Word. There was nothing that I wanted more than to become a woman who loved my heavenly Father more than myself. I was so tired of choosing my own path and refusing the acceptance of Christ.

After my first two weeks of classes, I realized very quickly that Multnomah was home for me. This was the start of something new. My story, once characterized by ash and death, was now being revitalized into beauty, new growth and the reality of flourishing! God, through the renewal of my mind, cast hope where darkness raged out of control. At the core of who I was, God was speaking a message of value and giving me genuine desire for unity, friendships and cause. This was all hitting me within the first two semesters at Multnomah.


Over the next three years, my perspective started to look very different. I became much more aware of the value in personal leadership, and I changed dramatically:

  • I used to think if I took what I considered to be authentic friendships and used them like networking cocktail mixers, I could really gain some life traction.
  • I used to think I had to be somebody important to accomplish things, but I started to realize Jesus uses ordinary people more.
  • I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but I started to become more afraid of succeeding at things that didn't matter.
  • I used to think Jesus motivated us with ultimatums, but I now know He pursues us in love.

I started to see that Jesus asks us to join the adventure of a sincere faith in Him so He can direct our hearts, not our self-promotion. Multnomah created an environment of accelerated growth that prompted me to start asking real questions. Would I take what I thought defined me and leave it behind, or would I let God define who I was instead?

In my second year, I became very involved with our Student Life team as a Resident Assistant, started leading a chapel worship band and jumped into a Jazz Ensemble! And as my junior year approached, my best friend and I felt lead to plan an event for the youth of this generation to become more aware of the injustices happening just one street away on 82nd Avenue. We co-founded a human-trafficking event ministry called the Isaiah Project. With the help of our student friends and Karen Fancher’s wisdom and insight, we had over 350 students packed into Central Bible's auditorium for an evening of learning and inspiration. These youth groups and their leaders not only heard ways of identify human-trafficking and insight into its reality, but they were also empowered by the Gospel Story that gave insight into why we should do something about this in the first place. We viewed the issue through a Jesus lens!


As I was finishing my third year at Multnomah and planning for the next, another surprise came around the corner: I enrolled at Hillsong International Leadership College in Sydney, Australia. Even though I knew this adventure would set me back one year from graduating with my bachelor’s degree, I knew this opportunity was from the Lord, so I went after it. I spent the entire year of 2013 in the land down under.

It was a year of studying worship music, creating stage designs for international conferences and diving into a deeper love for the Church. Multnomah had prepared me with a biblical foundation so that I could experience all that God had planned for me that year. My life was transformed eternally as my world became very big; I was able to work alongside people from France, Germany, Canada, Indonesia, South Africa, America, England, The Netherlands and Egypt!

In all honestly, there were some very hard, physically-taxing times in Australia, as I was dealing with a ruptured disk in my back. But there were so many moments where I was blown away by God’s faithfulness and provision. This was definitely a time when Jesus was teaching me (in the words of Bob Goff) that “I have an invitation every morning when I wake up to live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does.”

wedding pictureGod used every last experience at Multnomah and at Hillsong to launch me even further into His presence. Since I came back to the States in January 2014 and began my senior year at Multnomah, I have been overcome with thankfulness that God led me to MU, which ultimately led me to a life filled with Christ. The legacy has touched me and my husband (whom I also met at Multnomah), as well as some of my closest friends, who will be in my corner forever.

Because of the leaders who established Multnomah’s culture and foundations a very long time ago, so many students have been given the opportunity to answer God’s whisper to humanity: “It's your move.” I picture Heaven leaning over the rails, waiting to see what we will do with our lives in response to and for Him. Thank you for investing in Multnomah. The students here are looking to the future with the expectation that God can and will use them to make a difference. Thank you.

Transforming lives in challenging times

Comments Off on Transforming lives in challenging times Written on March 17th, 2016 by
Categories: Newsletter

Dear Alumni and Friends of Multnomah,

Dirks_Chapel_In_Spring-alt02This February we held a series of events at Multnomah to celebrate 80 years of God’s faithfulness to this beloved institution. About 250 alumni visited campus for Homecoming, and a week later we hosted another event with some friends of MU. At the latter function, Natalie Correll, who works in our Admissions Department and graduates in May, shared a powerful testimony (read it here).

Natalie’s story reminds me so much of two verses in John 8:


As God’s Word took root in Natalie’s life, the truth set her free! But her story is just the tip of the iceberg. Disciples like Natalie are constantly experiencing transformation at Multnomah. But it takes time. Jesus invested in His disciples for three years, preparing them for effective ministry. Likewise, we pray that our 762 undergraduate, graduate, degree completion and seminary students come to know truth while they continue being prepared for what God has in store for them.

This is happening today in various ways.  Let me share three examples:


Professor Jay Held, chair of the pastoral ministry department, meets with a student.

It’s happening in the classroom. Just last week, Professor Jay Held, our pastoral ministry department chair, interrupted his class with an impromptu “field trip” to call on a student who was hurting. The student had received news of the death of a friend back home and had chosen to skip class that day. Professor Held and his class located their classmate across campus, loved on him, and prayed with him. That intentional act touched this freshman deeply as he felt the truth of how much God and His people cared for him.


Students listen during a chapel session.

It’s happening in chapel. Just last month, Tasha Irwin (a senior in our MA in TESOL program) received a life-changing message from MU alum Marcus Brotherton, who shared a powerful truth in chapel. “Marcus challenged us to learn to love ourselves as our heavenly Father loves us,” she says. “That resonated with me so deeply. To love our neighbors as ourselves, I understand. But the part I often forget and struggle with is loving myself as God loves me!”


Associate Dean of Students Rich Ward hands out gift bags to students in celebration of Encouragement Week.

It’s happening in Student Life. Just last week, Associate Dean of Students Rich Ward launched a new event — Encouragement Week — because he wanted each student to feel supported amidst the stress of midterms.“When people know that they matter, they feel that they belong,” he says. Ward had surprises planned for each day of the week, and his team hung encouraging posters around campus that spoke truth to passing students: “Stay strong, “You can do it,” and “We are always praying for you. Bible and theology major Jennifer Kildal was one of the many students who loved the event. “It’s so cool to be at a school where they actually appreciate their students,” she says.


Dr. Derek Chinn, director of the Doctor of Ministry program, prays with a group of students.

I could share even more inspiring stories about our students; amazing things are happening on campus every day. But despite these wonderful testimonies, we continue to face an increasing number of challenges. Here are a few of the pressures we face on a daily basis:

1.   Attempts to prohibit or limit MU’s free practice of our biblical beliefs and standards (a recent local news story illustrates this dilemma).

2.   The addition of regulatory standards from the Department of Education and the state of Oregon that will hinder our student enrollment growth and increase costs to students (read more about these issues).

3.   Retaining students who want to continue their Multnomah education but lack the resources to do so.

4.   Growing enrollment for our online programs.  It takes time and resources.

5.   Our Student Aid Fund goal this year is $1.5 million. To date, we are relying on God’s people to help us make the final $405,000 to meet this goal. The good news? Every gift given through June 30 will be matched, dollar-for-dollar.

give now


Even though these issues are challenging to navigate, I’m so encouraged by the responses of our friends and alumni. Why? Because so many of you consistently display generous hearts toward Multnomah, even when we don’t ask for it. Yet God’s Spirit moves you, and your response is to give! I recently heard from one alum who attended our 80th Homecoming celebration: “We thoroughly enjoyed the Alumni Homecoming, Craig,” he wrote. “I noticed that a collection was absent, and I think this encouraged me to give even more, which I will do.” What a beautiful response! I was so energized by this alum’s experience.


I wrote this letter because I wanted to share with you the amazing transformations taking place on campus — and to let you know we’re facing real challenges too, so you can know how to pray for us and follow God’s lead in joining with us. We can only navigate this university with His help. Will you join our MU Prayer Warrior team? Will you participate in what God is doing at Multnomah as He directs you? Students are coming to know the truth, and it is setting them free! We invite you to invest and share in what God is doing at Multnomah.

Growing in generosity,


Rev. G. Craig Williford, Ph.D.
Multnomah University

give now

Multnomah community celebrates 80th birthday

1 Comment » Written on February 22nd, 2016 by
Categories: 80th Anniversary, Alumni, Newsletter, Students


On February 12, graduates from almost every year of MU’s history met in the JCA Student Center. As they shared in a banquet celebration, the room was rich with stories, and the air was steeped in nostalgia.

“Being at Multnomah was one of the best experiences I’ve had,” said Alex Paterno ’11.

Bonny Lloyd ’59 agreed. “For me, Multnomah was life-changing,” she said. “I’m still teaching the Bible to young women. It’s been my life.”

University President Dr. Craig Williford addressed the importance of upholding Dr. Mitchell’s vision of loving the Savior as Multnomah continues to expand its program options. “More than ever before, the world needs MU graduates who know the Bible,” he said.


Distinguished Professor Emeritus David Needham reminded everyone to reflect on the Lord’s steadfast love over the years. “We’re here to affirm the faithfulness of God,” he said. “The God who is faithful is the God who will always love us.”

As MU moves forward in a flurry of new programs and initiatives, a time to pause and reflect on our past is a welcome oasis. “The school has come a long way,” said Mildred Dunham ’44. “My time at Multnomah was a lot of fun and a great learning experience.”

A lot may have changed, but 80 years later, one thing remains the same: Multnomah is serious about providing a life-changing education deeply rooted in God’s Word.

Campus happenings

Comments Off on Campus happenings Written on February 22nd, 2016 by
Categories: Athletics, Events, Newsletter, Students

MU ranked No. 2 on list of safest colleges, universities in Oregon

The 2016 Safest College Campuses national rankings, published by, are based on key statistics and student reviews.
Top-ranked colleges offer a safe and healthy environment with little or no campus crime, drugs and alcohol usage. “We watch out for each other and take care of each other,” said Director of Campus Safety Josh Harper. “This is a large part of making our campus safe to live, work and learn in.”

MU celebrates 10 years of providing free English classes to local immigrant communities

For 10 years, MU’s TESOL program has been offering free weekly ESL classes to its diverse neighbors. “ESL meets a practical need in our community,” says TESOL Director Kristyn Kidney. “It brings the world together through dialogue and friendship.”

Lions team up with Tim Tebow Foundation, local church for Night to Shine

The women’s basketball team joined with the Tim Tebow Foundation and Central Bible Church to present Night to Shine, a prom
for people with special needs. More than 100 churches around the world were chosen to host Night to Shine events on Friday, February 12, 2016.

Roger’s Café celebrates five years of coffee and community

Five years ago, students voted to name MU’s new coffee shop after Roger, a beloved community figure who has been cleaning tables, arranging napkins and befriending students as a faithful volunteer for more than 35 years. The café has been a irreplaceable fixture on campus ever since.

Students collect food for Giving Tuesday, donate proceeds to Oregon Food Bank

Through the month of November, students, faculty and staff added non-perishable foods to large white barrels stationed around campus. The food drive culminated in a celebratory chapel on Giving Tuesday (December 2), a globally celebrated day dedicated to giving back. The full barrels were then given to the Oregon Food Bank.

Multnomah thanks supporters with a gift from the heart: Fanning the Flame, Winter 2016

Comments Off on Multnomah thanks supporters with a gift from the heart: Fanning the Flame, Winter 2016 Written on February 22nd, 2016 by
Categories: 80th Anniversary, Alumni, Newsletter, Pray For MU
steve-cummings - office

Steve Cummings is Vice President of Advancement at Multnomah.

What a delight it is for me to serve at Multnomah amidst sold-out disciples of Jesus Christ and countless others like you who have walked this campus, studied God’s Word and grown deeper in your faith. These 25 acres have been a sacred space in Portland for 80 years and counting as God continues to transform lives in and out of the classroom. Multnomah has an amazing legacy rooted in God’s faithfulness.

We are fostering a culture of generosity that is taking root and bearing fruit in amazing ways. We are proclaiming truth, and people are responding in obedience. Here at MU, we tell our students, staff, faculty alumni and friends: “We don’t want your money.” Instead, we urge them to deploy God’s money to accomplish God’s purposes. In that light, we celebrate what we want for people — not from them. We want everyone to enjoy with us the privilege of participating in God’s work.

Bless you, dear friends of Multnomah, for your prayers and support! We could not do what the Lord has called us to do without you. We would like to say thank you in a tangible way. We have a free copy of “Ignite Your Generosity – A 21 Day Experience in Stewardship” for anyone who would like one. Request your copy by sending an email to or by leaving a message with your name and phone number at 1-877-9-ALUMNI (877-925-8664).


Reflecting on God’s faithfulness and anticipating the future: Person to Person, Winter 2016

Comments Off on Reflecting on God’s faithfulness and anticipating the future: Person to Person, Winter 2016 Written on February 22nd, 2016 by
Categories: 80th Anniversary, Alumni, Events, Newsletter

Michelle Underwood is Director of Alumni Relations at Multnomah.

Earlier this month, alumni, friends, faculty and staff gathered together to celebrate God’s faithfulness at our 80th anniversary homecoming event. Guests had traveled from as far east as Massachusetts, as far north as Alaska, and as far south as southern California. Some even came all the way from China. We saw a remarkable representation of alumni spanning the years 1944 to 2015. It was a beautiful reunion, a wonderful time for reflecting, reminiscing and remembering all God has done since our founding in 1936.

Our theme for the evening was “Celebrating God’s Faithfulness” — apropos for commemorating our 80th anniversary. As Professor Emeritus David Needham led us in prayer, we were reminded of the Lord’s great faithfulness and steadfast love. What a consolation it is to know that God never changes. What he was yesterday, he is today and will be tomorrow. He is faithful.

In the midst of a changing world, the reality of this truth is comforting and reassuring. We closed our time together with the familiar hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” declaring that in every season of life — winter, spring, summer and harvest — we can attest to the witness of his great faithfulness, mercy and love.

As we look ahead, anticipating what God might have for us these next 80 years, my prayer is that he would continue to give us grace to look away from ourselves and move toward a deeper dependence on him.