Pray For MU

Greetings from the Vice President — Fall 2015

No Comments » Written on November 2nd, 2015 by
Categories: Alumni, Newsletter, Pray For MU

Dear Multnomah Family,

I am on a journey to grow my heart to be rich toward God (Luke 12:21).  It hasn’t always been easy, as I used to see my money as…well...MY money. That is, until God got a hold of my heart one day in a very subtle way. It was about 6 years ago, but it seems just like yesterday. I was working for Prison Fellowship, enjoying my new role of raising resources for the kingdom and encouraging those that God put in my care to be generous. I pulled up to the post office with 200 letters tucked under one arm.  I was excited to sow seeds of biblical truth and encourage others to respond, no matter where God led them to give.

As I walked up, I saw a young man, 19 or 20 years old, standing near the door holding a 3x5 card. He needed $3.00 for a bus fare and lunch.  I did what we all do.  I avoided eye contact and kept moving.

Side note: I used to love to collect change in my car ashtray: quarters, dimes and nickels. I loved to watch it pile up. I never used it. My family knew not to touch “Dad’s coin tray.” It’s for looking at and admiring the collection as it grows. It made me feel like I was saving up for something special, for some rainy day that never came. It gave me a sense of control. Because, after all, it was MY money.


So, I’m standing in line with this mass mailing I’m sending out for God to help His people be generous, and instantly I hear the Holy Spirit nudge me and quietly speak into my heart:  “You know all that change you have in your ashtray? I want you to give it ALL to him.” 

But LORD! I immediately protested, That’s MY... — but as soon as I said the word “my,” I stopped. Here I was being the “good messenger of God” and the Spirit was speaking to me to lead by example. How could I encourage others to give generously when I myself needed to let go of “my stuff” and see it as His? Everything I have been blessed with is “His stuff.” I am just privileged to manage it for my Master.

After mailing my letters, I went immediately to my car, with exuberant joy in my heart for what I was about to do. I couldn’t wait to see the expression on his face. It took me awhile to scoop out the  $30 worth of change and get it all into my two cupped hands, but I did it, and I walked up to him with a huge ear-to-ear grin.

“Hi, I’m Steve. What’s your name?”  He gets a pen out and writes his name down for me. It turns out he is deaf. “Mark,” he scribbles. I said, “Mark – God asked me to give this to you. It’s for you. He wants you to know He loves you and is taking care of you.”

You should have seen his eyes bug out. He only needed $3. I just gave him $30 of God’s money!

I wish I could say Mark came to Christ that day, but I don’t know. But I do know that I will never forget that day. God changed my heart that day — or should I say my wallet? I took a major step forward in my journey of generosity and haven’t looked back. Who do you think was blessed MORE: Mark or Me? I believe it’s always the giver who receives the greatest joy. It is a joy to steward all that God has entrusted to us: our time, our talent and our treasure for the kingdom.

steve-cummingsThat’s exactly what we are fostering here at Multnomah. Not because God needs our money. He already owns it and is really the “Chief Fundraiser” here at MU. God wants our hearts. I pray you stay engaged with us and grow with us in your journey of generosity.

Steve Cummings, M.Div.

Vice President of Advancement
Multnomah University

Students experience the power of service, prayer

The sky was blue and full of sunshine on September 29 as the busyness of the day unfolded. On Multnomah’s campus, about 30 graduate and seminary students were gathering for Day of Prayer. Off campus, 150 undergraduate students were serving the neighboring community for Day of Outreach.


'A great connector'

Once every fall and spring, undergraduate students volunteer at several locations in the Portland community. A volunteer site can be anywhere: a nonprofit, a community center, a school. Even a MAX station. MU cancels classes for the day so students can devote their whole morning to service.

The commuters waiting to ride the nearby MAX Light Rail brightened up as Multnomah students offered them steaming cups of coffee and fresh donuts. Freshman Megan Flikkema loved the opportunity to brush shoulders with people she wouldn’t normally meet.

“It’s a great connector,” she said. “It’s an easy way to pass out breakfast and talk about Jesus.” Flikkema was right: Many students took time to engage in meaningful conversations with people they encountered, listening intently to their life stories.

Summit student Trevor Grant saw Day of Outreach as a way to respond: “In the last three months, I’ve really been convicted about how much we’re called to help out in the community,” said the freshman. “So [Day of Outreach] is good timing.”


'Faith without works is nothing'

Not far down the road from the MAX station, another group of students wandered through the Montavilla neighborhood, praying for their neighbors while they searched for trash littering the yards, gutters and sidewalks. Although a seemingly small act, the residents responded positively. One man even hollered his sincere thanks from his car before turning onto the busy street.

“It’s important, especially at Multnomah, to get out into the community,” said Brittany Bowling, a business and organizational psychology major.

Hebrew major Darren Warren stuffed some litter from the street gutter into a large plastic bag. “Faith without works is nothing,” said the freshman. “Being the hands and feet of God is precisely what God is all about.” You could tell Warren meant every word — he looked eager to support the event’s mission.


'God weaves our stories'

Back on campus, graduate and seminary students were gathered together for a morning of prayer and fellowship. Daytime classes were cancelled so students could step back from studies and set aside time dedicated to seeking God. The quaint and quiet prayer chapel proved to be the perfect setting for the event.

Master of Divinity student Aimee Pahl was the organizer for Day of Prayer. She was deeply encouraged by what took place during the prayer time, and was especially impressed by students’ vulnerability as they lifted each other’s requests to the Lord. “[God] weaves our stories so that we understand each other, especially when we’re praying for one another,” she said.

The three-hour prayer session brought Kā‘ili Wells some much needed peace. “I just needed to reconnect with God,” said the seminary student. “I needed worshipful, prayerful rest.” Wells also mentioned the importance of creating a time and a place for seminary and graduate students to come together; with their schedules, it can be easy for them to become exclusive.

Although there has been a lot going on in Wells' life, he left Day of Prayer feeling refreshed. “It’s funny, because I’m tired,” he said, chuckling. “But I also feel rejuvenated.” The power of prayer does some amazing things.

The best days are ahead

“Now Moses was 80 years old, and Aaron 83 years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.”
Exodus 7:7


Dear Multnomah family,

The significance of this simple verse is often overlooked. Moses had been through a lot up until this point in his life. But at 80 years old, he was just getting started! The exodus from Egypt, the wilderness wanderings and the Promised Land awaited him. But first he must risk everything and stand before Pharaoh.

As Multnomah nears its 80th anniversary, Moses’ story reminds us that some of our best days are yet ahead of us. And just as Moses had Aaron by his side, we have the MU family — alumni, friends, staff, faculty and students. Aaron gave Moses confidence and courage. The MU family strengthens us every day with love, support, prayers and service.

MU is entering a new chapter as we expand our degree programs, sports and online offerings (check out for more details). We move forward deeply committed to prayer, outreach and the Bible, living out our mission in a way that’s relevant in today’s world. Just as we started in 1936 as a response to what the Pacific Northwest needed then — we respond today to what the world needs now.

This intentional response has brought about some exciting changes:

The business program’s growth is certainly a reply to the world’s clamor for more business graduates. But in a culture obsessed with money and power, business leaders who are ethical, fair and conscientious are needed more than ever.

That’s where our graduates come in. One of them, Dave Munson ’96, is accepting our Alumnus of the Year Award later this month. Even though Munson graduated long before our business major was around, MU equipped him with the foundation he needed to launch Saddleback Leather Company, his thriving business that crafts high-quality luggage, wallets, backpacks and more.

“Even if I knew the path of my life back then…even if I knew that one day I’d own Saddleback, I would go to Multnomah again,” says the CEO. “It was instilled in all of us there to be honest. There was a constant pounding on the drum for integrity.”
Munson hasn’t only applied those principles to his personal life — he’s built his entire business around them. Saddleback is committed to investing in its employees and cultivating a sustainable work environment for them. Read Munson’s full story.

Support from our Multnomah family helped Dave go into the world and make a difference. It prepares our graduates for careers in service to Jesus. And it sustains our mission: helping students become spiritually-formed and culturally-engaged servant leaders. Thank you for standing with us over the years like Aaron beside Moses! Will you boldly move forward with us and participate in an inspiring opportunity?

A wonderful friend of Multnomah has chosen to match — dollar for dollar — every gift* from MU alumni who have never given to MU or have lapsed in their giving. This friend will also match every gift from current givers that goes above what they gave last year. For instance, if you gave $1,200 last year and give $1,500 this year, the friend will match the $300 increase in your giving. Here is the really exciting part: This friend has committed up to $500,000 to MU!

Would you consider partnering with MU in response to this wonderful opportunity? Think about it: If every one of our alumni gave $80 in honor of our 80th year, we could meet the matching gift of $500,000 and launch more graduates like Dave Munson.

Please prayerfully give according to your ability. No gift is too small. To participate with your gift, fill out our gift form.

Your prayers, service and offerings strengthen Multnomah’s impact every day. Stand with us, like Aaron with Moses. Imagine all God has in store for us!


Rev. G. Craig Williford, Ph.D.

*All gifts must be received by June 30, 2016.

Highlighting God’s blessings

"Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world." Isaiah 12:4-5

Why are we praising God and proclaiming his glory over the whole earth? Why are we rejoicing at Multnomah? There are a host of reasons! God has had his hand of blessing upon us this year, and I want to share some highlights with you. You can also get more details at

Accounting concentration

studying_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.

Business & Organizational Psychology degree

MU 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 an 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

MU’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. program)

Multnomah 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.

Fully online undergraduate and seminary degrees

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

  • Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Theology
  • Master of Arts in Biblical Studies
  • Master of Arts in Theological Studies

AAOT acceptance

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

NAIA approval

The 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

Multnomah will launch a track and field program in spring of 2016. More details to come.

Thank you

We couldn’t have done any of these things without you. I want to personally thank you for your generous support. Your prayers, service and offerings strengthen Multnomah’s impact every day.

Matching gift

Multnomah was blessed by an anonymous friend wanting to broaden our support base by matching $2 for every $1 given by first-time givers or lapsed givers (those who have not given in over a year). Our friend will donate up to $400,000.

We’ve almost met our match

Today we are shy of this goal by just $41,896. We are calling everyone to pray and seek God’s will for what their gift of participation could be. Will you join us?

A gift of any size, according to your ability, is all God asks of you. Every gift matters. We invite you to share in this joy of giving to God’s exciting work at Multnomah!

I hope you have a blessed summer.


Rev. G. Craig Williford, Ph.D.

State of the University Address: A Message from Dr. Craig Williford

Comments Off Written on April 7th, 2015 by
Categories: Alumni, Newsletter, Pray For MU

Dear Alumni Family,


Greetings from Portland. I pray God’s presence in your life is strong and clear these days. Here at Multnomah University, we are fast approaching the end of the semester and graduation.

Each month we gather as a community of faculty, staff and administration for what we call Lionshare. The name is a combination of our athletic mascot, a lion, and our purpose for meeting — to share and update one another on what’s happening in the MU community. Each meeting we celebrate, communicate, encourage and pray. During this month’s Lionshare, I gave a State of the University address restating our university-wide commitment to Christ, the gospel and biblical integrity. I thought you might enjoy reading some of these thoughts.

Before I began my address, I asked our employees, “Why do you serve at MU?”  They listed the quality of our students, MU’s commitment to biblical integrity, MU’s godly faculty, how lives are impacted, and their belief in our mission and values. You might give many of the same answers if I asked you.

I followed this discussion by answering why I choose to serve at MU. I serve at MU because:

  1. I believe in Christian higher education, and I believe God meets and molds students at MU.
  2. I love showing students how to be a godly influence in all walks of life.
  3. I understand how critical biblical wisdom and power are to all human existence, so I value our biblical commitments.
  4. I enjoy the pursuit of Christ through the exploration of truth at a learning community committed to the Bible and honoring Christ.
  5. I fell in love with the people and community of MU.
  6. I respect the global impact of our alumni and professors.

During the next section of my address, I explained what we mean when we say “MU is building a biblical university.” As MU seeks to combine the strengths of a traditional Bible College with the strengths of a traditional liberal arts school, these are some of the unique characteristics you’ll find:

  • A place where we focus on pursuing biblical wisdom and power
  • A place where the study of the arts and sciences collaborate and collide with the study of Bible and theology to provide clarity to life’s most important questions
  • A university where the integration of our faith to all areas of study is intentional and comprehensive throughout the educational experience
  • A university where students learn to think and live biblically
  • A university that designs spaces where the Holy Spirit can craft a love relationship with his children
  • A university where students are shown how to be a godly influence for the enrichment of their communities
  • A university where God’s creativity is modeled in a learning environment filled with curiosity and creativity
  • A university where deeper levels of understanding are applied through the wise application of learning theory and educational technology
  • A university that skillfully connects theoretical and concrete learning
  • A university where students prepare for a career and discover a life that matters

In the month ahead, you’ll hear even more about this distinctive.

In the final section of my address, I gave numerous updates on new degrees and programs that we’re building. These include:

  • Four accredited, fully online degrees launching in fall 2015
  • A new residential degree in business and organizational psychology launching in fall 2015
  • A new concentration in business accounting launching in fall 2015
  • A new biology degree launching in fall 2016

We’re also launching Summit, a five-year B.A./M.Div. program, this fall. Summit provides a way for spiritually and academically gifted young leaders to complete a B.A. and M.Div. degree in five years instead of the usual seven years. Some students will receive full-tuition scholarships covering the undergraduate portion of the program. Additional scholarships are available for Summit students who don’t receive full-tuition scholarships. Check out our Summit page for more information.

This update simply cannot explain all the new programs, degrees and other exciting news. Keep watching our website and our monthly alumni updates for more information. Please continue to pray and stay in touch.



G. Craig Williford, Ph.D.

A Greeting from Dr. Craig Williford

Dear Alumni Family,

It’s an honor and a great privilege to assume my role as Multnomah’s fifth president today. I’m humbled by the legacy and rich heritage of Multnomah University and want to personally thank each of you for the ways you have represented Multnomah with godly distinction.

The strength of any university lies within the quality of its alumni, and Multnomah University is strong because of the ways you've invested your life in service to others — either in the marketplace or vocational ministry, locally or around the world.

As president, I want to express my complete and unreserved affirmation of Multnomah’s faith statements, mission and core values. As a biblical university, our continued aim will be to integrate the Bible into all aspects of our educational experience as we prepare alumni to be biblically competent, academically proficient, spiritually formed and culturally engaged. We trust that God will continue to infuse our future alumni with servants’ hearts and faithful lives — just like yours.

I’m excited about what lies ahead. MU faces some external and internal challenges, like many other faith-based universities. But we’re committed to prayerfully embracing these challenges while also identifying the exciting opportunities that exist as we seek to expand the work of the Gospel. As we seize these opportunities, we’ll continue to add new majors and grow our online course offerings to ensure that as many people as possible are able to benefit from the Multnomah educational experience.

I invite you — a vital part of Multnomah’s ongoing legacy — to join with us in this critical effort. If I may, I’d like to challenge you in the following three ways:

  1. Continue to tell your story. Prospective students seek advice from people they trust — people like you. Historically, our alumni have proven to be our strongest recruiters, so use your influence to motivate people to attend MU. You might even consider taking more course work yourself. We continue to expand our degree offerings and would love to have you back on campus.
  1. Join us in prayer. The board and I are calling the MU community to a day of prayer Saturday, August 16, and we would love to have you join us on campus that day. You also can join us through the spirit of prayer from wherever you live. I believe that prayer places us in a posture of humility that enables us to hear God’s voice and wisdom. Our plan is to pray in every classroom, office, dorm and gathering space throughout the entire campus as we ask God to use our human interactions in these spaces to help us fulfill our mission. We desire a strong presence of Christ on our campus and endeavor to create relationships, spaces and experiences where the Holy Spirit can transform our students. We will give more details regarding our day of prayer soon.
  1. Be a part of Multnomah’s ongoing legacy. Prayerfully consider how you might invest your time, talents and treasures to support MU in its eternally-focused mission.

I look forward to meeting you and hearing from you in the days and weeks ahead.

With deepest appreciation,


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.

You’re Invited to Day of Prayer


Multnomah University will hold a Day of Prayer on Friday, March 7. This is a day when daytime classes are cancelled, and students are given the opportunity to step back from studies to have a time dedicated to worshiping and seeking God together. The theme of this Day of Prayer is “Reflections of Grace”. This will be a time to reflect upon the amazing grace of God which has been extended to us, and how our hearts are responding to God in receiving His grace and in extending it to others.


Students will meet in the JCA student center from 9 to 10:30 for a session of worship in song, reflection and prayer. MU's Chair of Pastoral Ministries Department Dr. Valerie Clemen will guide the time of reflection. Participants will have a short break and then gather in small groups to pray for one another from 10:45 to 12 noon. The small group prayer times will be led by students. The students will meet in affinity groups with their majors and minor, and the seminary and graduate students will meet together for prayer as well. In the afternoon students are invited to participate with at least two other people in prayer walks around the campus. The goal is to cover one another and the ministry of MU in prayer.

Student Feedback

Dr. Val Clemen

MU's Spiritual Life Committee conducted a recent survey which asked students what they would most appreciate on Day of Prayer. At times the spring Day of Prayer has been held at a retreat center off campus. However, 72% of the students in this survey said that they would prefer to stay on campus. Thus, the Day of Prayer will be held at MU, with an invitation to prayer walk over our campus as well. Students also indicated that they wanted intentional time focused on personal reflection and praying for one another. It was encouraging for the Spiritual Life Committee to hear how highly students valued prayer and wanted to grow in the area of personal prayer. It is our prayer that this time together will strengthen us in our relationships with the Lord, strengthen us as a community honor the Lord, and align our hearts even more with the heart of God.

About the author

Dr. Karen Fancher has worked at Multnomah University since 1998. She is the assistant professor of Pastoral Ministry and the dean of seminary students.



Multnomah University Updates — Winter 2014

Presidential Search

Subsequent to Dr. Dan Lockwood’s announcement of his intended retirement, MU’s Board of Trustees formed a search committee and launched a nationwide search for a new university president. After Lockwood stepped down from the presidency November 1, 2013, the board appointed Dr. Wayne Stickland as interim president.

Read the rest of this entry »

Morris Dirks to Lead MU’s Day of Prayer on November 20

Multnomah will host a Day of Prayer from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, November 20, at the JCA Student Center. Dr. Morris Dirks, who has been a pastor for more than 25 years in the Pacific Northwest, will lead the event. Dirks has a doctorate in leadership and spiritual formation and recently published "Forming The Leader's Soul: An Invitation to Spiritual Direction." He is the founder and director of SoulFormation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing the spiritual and emotional health of Christian leaders. Read the rest of this entry »