Press Releases

Grounds crew keeps campus beautiful, builds community

No Comments » Written on April 20th, 2017 by
Categories: Press Releases, Students

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Blossoming flower trees, green grass and warmer weather are slowly pushing winter away. As the campus begins to welcome spring, one department stands out for their effort in the welcoming — the grounds crew. The grounds crew scored high in last semester’s satisfaction surveys. Their work to keep the campus beautiful has been noticed and appreciated by many.

Bible and theology major Michael Len works as a member of the grounds crew. He has been a member since his first semester at Multnomah two years ago. Some of the work Len could possibly do on any given day includes raking leaves, trimming rose bushes, mowing lawns and doing general cleanup around campus.

However, what makes this job fun to Len is the community around it. There are normally five other grounds crew members working alongside him throughout the year. “The community built when we talk about life while we do something like raking leaves with each other is great,” says Len. The grounds crew, he adds, enjoys playing small pranks on each other. And they all love their boss, Grounds Manager Ron Casey. “He treats us like family and genuinely cares about us,” says Len.

Casey’s favorite part of working as the grounds supervisor is getting to know the students and interacting with them, especially in the summer time. “Over the summer, we have a good routine where we meet in the morning and pray and read Scripture together for 20 minutes,” says Casey. “It is great to see answered prayers come around when we are together.”

With solid leadership and a close-knit community, the grounds crew is able to keep the campus of MU beautiful and welcoming. The individuals who work there find enjoyment in doing some of the “dirty work” on campus as they spend time in their Bibles and with each other. The hard work has not gone unnoticed, and the MU community is quite thankful for the daily tasks completed by the grounds crew.

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This post was written by Marketing Assistant Meghan Ward.

Global studies, MAGDJ students study abroad in Costa Rica

No Comments » Written on April 12th, 2017 by
Categories: Faculty, Press Releases

The following post is written by Giovanni Gravino, a student in MU’s MA in Global Development and Justice (MAGDJ) program.

Pura Vida! Over spring break from March 22 to April 3, students from the undergraduate Global Studies program and the graduate MAGDJ program set out on a short-term study abroad opportunity to Costa Rica. Our team was led by Dr. Greg Burch, director of Global Studies Department, who had previously lived and worked in Costa Rica for numerous years. His experience and relationships provided us with extensive insight into the Latin American society.

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On the grounds of La Montaña Christian Camps with the active Arenal volcano in the distance.

This trip, which is part of a course for both undergraduates and graduates, focused on youth and children in the Latin American context, as well as engaging in some of the cultural and recreational activities Costa Rica has to offer. We were exposed to effective ministry models, and it was a joy to learn from professionals who have a deep understanding of the context in which they are working. It was valuable to see these positive examples of what is working well with these organizations.

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Morning lecture with Alexander Cabezas and Mark Padgett.

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Basilica de los Angeles, a well-known Roman Catholic Church located in the city of Cartago.

Costa Rica is a respected and beautiful country, as well as being considered one of the most bio-diverse areas in the world. It is known as an environmentally sustainable country as well as a tourist destination that offers numerous activities and sights to see. The collectivist and polychronic culture was refreshing to be a part of. It was a good reminder of the importance of relationships. Being submersed into the language and culture was fun for us all.

Our cross-cultural experience began in Costa Rica’s capital city, San José, and each day consisted of lectures, site visits, and/or cultural and recreational activities. All of the lectures better equipped us in understanding the Latin American context within regard to youth and children, culture, religion, human rights and economic systems, and government policies. Along with lectures, we partook in site visits of a few Christian non-profits and learned from their models. Finally, being exposed to cultural and recreational activities provided us with great insight into the culture as well as memories that will be with us for a long time. These activities included visiting the Basilica de los Angeles, Volcán Irazu, Doka coffee plantation, Orosí valley, and even some Latin dance lessons, just to state a few.

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A trip to the beautiful Orosí Valley.

Two non-profit organizations we visited that stood out to us were Roblealto Child Care Association and Casa Viva. Casa Viva is one of the only Latin American organizations that centers on a healthy foster care program. MAGDJ student Amy Brownell highlighted that she was significantly impacted by these two organizations.

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Pamela Scianna, Development Director of Roblealto, giving a tour of the grounds.

Roblealto and Casa Viva are two organizations which have transitioned into a more just model of ministry with children at risk,” she said. “Instead of building orphanages and perpetuating the cycle of abandonment, these organizations assist families in working through their challenges and provide foster families for children who need to temporarily live apart from their families while they do the necessary work to become healthy and whole families once again. The holistic model these organizations provide help families and children in their physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health.”

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Learning about campaigns and the need to promote Jesus-like tenderness in our families, communities and society from World Vision Latin America’s Marcela Ballestero.

The local church also plays a pivotal role in this process. It was great to hear about so many cases leading to family reunification. “It was exciting to visit these organizations and learn about their work keeping families intact,” Brownell concluded. There is great importance in children living in a family unit. These models provided such great insight and enhanced our education regarding at-risk children as we learned from those working in this context.

Other organizations and speakers included ICADS (Institute for Central American Development Studies), La Montaña Christian Camp, World Vision Latin America, evangelical theologian Don Juan Stam, ESEPA Bible College and Seminary, and PANI (Costa Rica’s Child Protective Services). We gained knowledge from each of these various organizations and speakers, leaving us with much to reflect on.

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Dr. Greg Burch (left) and our Costa Rican contact, Alexander Cabezas (right) with Don Juan Stam (center) during our visit to his home as he passionately spoke on theology and mission.

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Getting ready for the Superman zip line over the cloud forest.

This educational trip also included eco-tourism, which plays a huge role in sustaining Costa Rica. We had the opportunity to explore the cloud forest in Monteverde and were able to tour butterfly gardens, hike, and zip-line through the vibrant and lush forest. One of our MAGDJ students, Jessica Resendiz, reflected, “In the cloud forest, I experienced the creativity and perfection of the Lord. His fingerprints were everywhere. It drew my heart to worship Him and refreshed my soul.” I believe all of us felt a divine connection with God at some point during this trip.

Our trip concluded with a debriefing time at the warm and sunny beach on the Pacific coast, before coming back to a rainy Portland, Oregon. Global Studies student, Tessa Shackelford explained that the end of the trip was incredibly relaxing. “It enabled me to simply pray and also reflect on what I learned over the past two weeks…I had a profound experience at the sheer magnitude and greatness of God”, as she spoke on the vastness of the ocean she stood in.

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In awe of the sunset over the Pacific Ocean during one of our last nights in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is truly a beautiful country. We had the opportunity to soak in all the flora and fauna, mountains, volcanoes, the beach, the people and the culture. God is the greatest artist and we were graciously astounded by the masterpiece of His creation. This experience was truly captivating as well as a joy to learn about and be engaged in the wonderful culture of Costa Rica.

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The lush and magnificent cloud forest in Monteverde.

The Global Studies Department offers a Global Immersion course (IS310) for undergrads and Topics in Global Development and Justice (IS660) for graduates. These courses include a guided trip to Costa Rica or Israel, with future study abroad trips being planned. Next spring, the course will be heading to Israel. For more information, please contact Dr. Karen Fancher directly at kfancher@multnomah.edu.

Two Hebrew students selected for research trip in Israel

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Multnomah seminary students Chad Woodward and Alyssa Schmid will embark on a one-of-a-kind research excursion this summer in Israel. The two Hebrew students will partake in several archaeological digs, take various tours of the Holy Land and learn about Israel’s history from the Bronze and Iron Ages up through the modern day.

Woodward views the trip as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “It’s always been my desire to experience the Holy Land and see the places mentioned in Scripture,” he says. “I think this trip has a great mix of work and sight-seeing.”

The month-long expedition is made possible by the Scholars Initiative, the research arm of the Museum of the Bible, one of the world’s largest private collections of rare biblical texts and artifacts. Multnomah has been connected with the Scholars Initiative since 2013, when Biblical Languages Chair Dr. Karl Kutz was chosen to translate a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls with four of his students.

Since then, MU has been trusted with even more research projects, which opened the door for students to apply for trips sponsored by the Scholars Initiative. Over the past three years, seven Hebrew students have been selected to attend the Logos Conference, a two-week internship at Oxford. Similar to the Oxford internship, the Israel trip is limited to students working on Scholars Initiative projects.

Kutz couldn’t be more proud of his students. He views the trip as a great addition to Woodward and Schmid’s academic experience.  “The chance to work on a dig is a tremendous opportunity,” he says. “The students will get to see firsthand how the archaeological process works and learn from scholars who have devoted their lives to this area of study.”

The trip, which starts in Jerusalem in mid-June and ends in Bethlehem in mid-July, will be an immense privilege for Woodward and Schmid, who are already so familiar with the ancient Near East. As the two students travel, they will take with them all the passions and skills gained during their time at Multnomah.

“I’m honestly humbled by this,” says Woodward. “I think the Hebrew program really supports their students well and creates amazing opportunities.”

Multnomah University launches six-year Doctor of Chiropractic program

Comments Off on Multnomah University launches six-year Doctor of Chiropractic program Written on March 15th, 2017 by
Categories: General, Press Releases, Programs, Students

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PORTLAND, Ore. – The path to a career in medicine just became a little less daunting for biology majors at Multnomah University.

MU is teaming up with University of Western States to offer an accelerated program that allows students to earn a Doctor of Chiropractic degree in six years. The program involves three years of biology at Multnomah and three years of study at UWS, saving students an entire year of academic work and tuition compared to the traditional DC route.

“This is a first for us – this is a new day,” said Dr. Daniel Scalberg, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Multnomah. “It means that we’re now in the same league as Portland State and Oregon State, who have the same agreement. For students who are motivated, they can be a fully certified DC six years from the time they arrive at MU.”

Under the agreement, MU students will be admitted to UWS when they complete the pre-chiropractic program with a minimum 3.25 GPA. They’ll finish their fourth year of undergraduate work at UWS to earn their biology degree, and then they’ll be poised to wrap up the DC program two years later.

Multnomah students will have access to state-of-the-art lab facilities and equipment at UWS, which offers numerous degree options for aspiring allied health professionals. Students also will have access to the admissions staff at UWS to ensure a smooth transition between schools.

“Our students will be able to call their Admissions office anytime, and their folks will be excited,” Scalberg said. “They will welcome our students as their own.”

For more information, visit the Doctor of Chiropractic page.

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About Multnomah University

Multnomah University is a fully accredited, private, non-denominational, Christian institution of higher education located in Portland, Oregon, with a teaching site in Reno, Nevada. 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.

About University of Western States

University of Western States, located in Portland, Oregon, offers a Doctor of Chiropractic degree program; master’s programs in Exercise and Sports Science; Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine; and Sports Medicine; master’s and doctoral programs in Sport and Performance Psychology; and a Massage Therapy certificate program. The university also provides health services in four Portland locations through the Health Centers of UWS clinic system.

Hebrew, Th.M. student accepted to Ph.D. program at Wheaton

Comments Off on Hebrew, Th.M. student accepted to Ph.D. program at Wheaton Written on March 6th, 2017 by
Categories: Faculty, Press Releases, Programs, Seminary, Students, Theology

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Master of Theology and Hebrew student Daniel Somboonsiri has been accepted to the Ph.D. in Biblical & Theological Studies program under Dr. Daniel Carroll Rodas at Wheaton College. Congratulations, Daniel!

What does this opportunity mean to you?

I'm really still in shock over having been chosen. I knew a few years ago that Dr. Carroll Rodas was the mentor who could best equip me for the research I want to do. I started reading his books, and the books he had read. We started emailing back and forth so that I could do whatever it took to be mentored by him.

After years of preparation, I was the one person chosen this year to work with Dr. Carroll Rodas. While I still do not know how God will provide for my family during my Ph.D. studies, I am overjoyed to have been selected. I had a rough childhood. To be where I am today is the miraculous grace of God, for which I am gratefully undeserving.

How has MU’s Hebrew program helped get you to where you are now?

Multnomah has one of the best Hebrew programs in the world. Though it is a smaller university, our Hebrew program is highly esteemed by those in academia who know of it. During the interview process, I was never asked to prove my capability with Hebrew. It seemed as though my Ph.D. supervisor was well aware of the language training I had received. Beyond the nuts and bolts of knowing the biblical languages, I was given the opportunity through Multnomah to co-author three papers on three unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls. While there was a lot of "on the job" learning for these projects and help from my academic mentors, those projects are now listed on my CV and likely helped me get noticed in the highly competitive Ph.D. application process.

My Ph.D. research will also lean heavily on what I have learned through The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins. My research will integrate cultural studies and the Hebrew Prophets. Dr. Paul Metzger has been instrumental in training me to be an astute student of cultural issues and their relevance to biblical studies. Through my work with New Wine, I was given the opportunity to serve as editor on "Prophetic Lament" by Soong-Chan Rah, which also contributed to my development and application for Ph.D. studies. During the Ph.D. interview process, I was asked about my involvement with New Wine on issues such as interfaith dialogue and advocacy for the poor. In all, it is the overall development process, both academic and spiritual, which has prepared me to move on to study and teach at the highest level.

What are the highlights of MU’s Hebrew program?

We, the MU Hebrew family, do life together. We bond through learning the Hebrew Scriptures. We learn and pray together. This probably wouldn't happen at a larger university. The classroom size allows Dr. Becky Josberger and Dr. Karl Kutz to really invest in our lives and foster community.

Dr. Kutz, with the help of Dr. Josberger, has put together a method for teaching biblical Hebrew that is unlike anything else. They teach Hebrew in a way that brings the language to life and allows it to stick without memorizing hundreds of rules and charts.

What are you hoping to do with your Ph.D.?

My emphasis will be on social ethics in the Hebrew Prophets. My research proposal is to look at Micah through the lens of the social sciences and literary analysis to show how Micah can in part be recognized as social theory. In Micah, God condemns an wicked society that fosters poverty and oppression of all sorts. In contrast, Micah envisions a future world ruled by God in which nations live together in community without war and oppression.

While my Ph.D. work will focus on the book of Micah in its ancient context, my life's goal is to research, teach, and write on how the biblical prophets can serve to shape the life of the Church and the Church's engagement of culture in ever changing contexts.

Want to read more student stories? Check out our student stories page!

MU celebrates fall graduation

Comments Off on MU celebrates fall graduation Written on December 19th, 2016 by
Categories: Press Releases, Students

Last Monday, 73 Multnomah students gathered with friends and family members at Central Bible Church to celebrate graduation. As each student walked across the stage, they shook hands with University President Craig Williford and received their diplomas.

Below are some pictures taken from that night. Well done, graduates! We are very proud of you all.

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MU celebrates grand opening for Veterans Resource Center

Comments Off on MU celebrates grand opening for Veterans Resource Center Written on November 21st, 2016 by
Categories: Press Releases, Students

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If you walked through the JCA Student Center on Veterans Day, you would have seen tables decorated in red, white and blue with food and drink on top. A watermelon carved to resemble a bald eagle was the centerpiece of this patriotic display. A podium, surrounded by chairs, stood in front of an American flag. This small area was set up to celebrate the grand opening of The Multnomah University Veterans Resource Center.

The resource center, located in the JCA’s West Lobby, will be a safe place for veterans in the Multnomah community to receive support from their peers. Veterans can shop at the center’s food pantry, browse pamphlets for off-campus resources, and connect with plenty of friendly veterans. The resource center will be open weeknights, and the food pantry will be open Saturdays.

Multnomah’s community of veterans will be working hard to create a place where the brotherhood and sisterhood of military service can support one another in a place of understanding. The center will be completely run by student volunteers, with oversight provided by Veterans Faculty Advisor Dr. Michael Gurney.

At the grand opening, retired Air Force Col. and MU Board of Trustees Member Brent Mesquit spoke to Multnomah’s veterans on behalf of the university. “Thank you for your sacrificial service to our great nation,” he said. “It is held in high regard at Multnomah University.” After  Mesquit’s acknowledgments, the student veteran who started it all was given the chance to speak.

Psychology major Matthew Comprix used to run the resource center out of his on-campus apartment. He’s elated to have a new space where he can continue serving his fellow veterans. “Every one of us gave of ourselves, with the possibility of giving all of ourselves, for the greater good of our great nation,” he said. “Student veterans need an outlet for their servant hearts. To serve other veterans and the community they’re in is a great outlet for them.”

 

The resource center needs volunteers!

If you’re interested in volunteering at the Veterans Resource Center, contact Matthew Comprix at mcomprix@my.multnomah.edu. You do not need to be a veteran to volunteer.

If you are interested in earning Service Learning credit through volunteering at the resource center, contact Dr. Roger Trautmann at rtrautmann@multnomah.edu.

Global ministry trends and issues, part 8: Mission training in the 21st century

Comments Off on Global ministry trends and issues, part 8: Mission training in the 21st century Written on October 6th, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, Missions, Press Releases, Programs, Students

A few years ago I was invited to consult on a mission and development project that was focused on caring for at-risk kids. As I approached the residential group home where several dozen young people were being cared for, I couldn’t help but notice the despair in the eyes of the mission volunteers and caretakers of the children. You see, the missionaries were passionate about seeing young lives transformed by the gospel. There was no doubt in their sincerity to see these lives restored, but the tools and training they had received did not match the challenges they were facing.

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Whether it be working with at-risk youth and children or church planting, cross-cultural workers need proper preparation. When our academic and training programs fail to properly prepare them for the immensely difficult task of working in a new culture, communicating with a different set of standards and training in specializations needed in the field, we prevent them from fully thriving. Fortunately, some see the need and will seek additional training, some will burnout and unfortunately others will cause harm to the very ones they seek to care for. Sadly, this was the case with the group mentioned above and they were eventually closed by the local government authorities despite our best efforts.

 

Mission education and training (on both the undergraduate and graduate level) must continue to reinvent itself in the coming years. The field of mission training, as I argued in my first blog post, must keep pace with global changes and issues. This means that mission education must also keep up and even in some cases lead the way on strategy and best-practices. Mission programs are by nature an applied discipline. Developing practical skills is critical to whatever field one aspires to work in. Jim and Judy Raymo conclude that, “Skills and training are essential for successful workers of every generation” (39). As described by Moreau, Corwin and McGee, training can take place through informal, nonformal and formal opportunities (173). While all of these areas are important for mission preparation, I deeply believe that formal academic training provides students with the best opportunity to establish themselves and prepare for a thriving ministry and career in international and local contexts.

The World Evangelical Fellowship recently identified four critical skills as essential for lessening attrition rates and providing an environment in which future cross-cultural workers will thrive. They are: Spirituality, Relational Skills, Ministry Skills and Training (Taylor xiv-xv). I would argue that both undergraduate and graduate programs related to the field of mission, international development and global studies should seek to incorporate these components.

Spiritual Formation: There is no substitution for spiritual formation. One’s spirituality must seek to develop an intimate relationship with God. This will prove critical in those moments of despair and hardship. J.D. Payne discusses the importance of “being continually filled with the Spirit of Mission (Eph. 5:18)” as part of our daily task in serving Christ in mission (165). One of the goals of formal Christian training should include, “genuine growth toward spiritual maturity” (Moreau, Corwin and McGee 173). This growth should be nurtured while the student prepares to serve cross-culturally. This takes place through the integration of spiritual discipline practices in the classroom and assignments related to this.

Interpersonal Skills: Relational skills provide an atmosphere for which team-work and friendships can develop. Academic programs in this field must focus on demonstrating humility and teachability as two key skills. These skills can be nurtured in students preparing to serve on a team (especially a multicultural team). According to Moreau, Corwin and McGee “these attitudes are built on proper self-appraisal” as we encourage mission students to reflect on their purpose and service in the kingdom (176). Teachability is a critical skill in developing global partnerships. Students should be prepared to learn from others from different cultural backgrounds. “A teachable person is one who recognizes the inherent worth and wisdom of others” (Moreau, Corwin and McGee 176). Most agree that “loud, impatient, demanding people with weak interpersonal skills often fail on the mission field and in team situations” (Raymo and Raymo 45).

Ministry Skills: These skills are another critical piece to developing and preparing future cross-cultural workers.        Learning to disciple others is critical to forming leaders who will bring transformation. Whether students are working in humanitarian contexts, business contexts, diplomacy or other areas, discipleship must be emphasized. Cultural sensitivity is also an area that must be developed inside the classroom through simulation activities and group interaction.

Another area that deserves attention is professional development. Professional skills must be viewed as part of our training. Integrating both ministry skills and professional skills not only opens up more opportunities for students of mission, but provides them with the foundation they need to succeed. One of the ways to develop these skills is by providing practical experiential opportunities.

Practical Training: When working with a multicultural team or engaging with unreached people groups one notes the critical training in cross-cultural communications and competency. This is often times referred to as Cultural Intelligence. These skills can be discussed in the classroom, but must be developed on the field. This is where experiential opportunities such as internships and practical assignments move the student from the classroom to a real-life laboratory. Guided internships provide opportunities to develop these skills. According to researchers Jim and Judy Raymo, internships are an essential tool in preparing cross-cultural workers in today’s world (50). Another viable means for ensuring an experiential learning environment is through study abroad programs. In particular, study abroad programs that incorporate first-hand interaction with the culture and social realities is most valued. These and other experiences are key for practical training.

“Equipping God’s people to accomplish the missio Dei in the twenty-first century will require more diversity and cooperation than has been known hitherto” (Elliston 232). The complexity of mission training has only increased. As Edgar Elliston rightly notes, the preparation for global mission engagement will require more diverse efforts.

Andrew Kirk calls for a listening of two voices when reading Scripture. We are to listen to the voice of God (Scripture) and the voice (cry) of the people. This process will help us to combine the “universal nature and intention of the Christian’ foundation document with the particular reality of every situation into which the message and life of Christ comes” (14). The cry in our world today has been highlighted in the issues and trends discussed in this eight-part series. The voice of God will continue to shed light on healthy global engagement with these issues and many more that we will face in the coming months and years as we seek to be salt and light in our communities and world.

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If you would like additional information on either the B.A. in Global Studies or the M.A. in Global Development and Justice degree programs, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Greg Burch via email at gburch@multnomah.edu

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Works Cited

Elliston, Edgar. “Moving Forward from Where We Are in Missiological Education.”  In Missiological Education for the 21st Century: The Book, the Circle and the Sandals, edited by Edgar J. Elliston, Charles Van Engen and J. Dudley Woodberry. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1996.

Moreau, A. Scott, Gary Corwin and Gary B. McGee. Introducing World Missions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2015.

Payne, J.D. Pressure Points: Twelve Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson 2013.

Raymo, Jim and Judy Raymo. Millennials and Mission: A Generation Faces a Global Challenge. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library. 2014.

Taylor, William David, ed. Too Valuable to Lose: Exploring the Causes and Cures of Missionary Attrition, World Evangelical Fellowship, Globalization of Mission Series. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library. 2007.

New biology professor integrates faith and science

Comments Off on New biology professor integrates faith and science Written on September 21st, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, General, Press Releases, Programs

For the true scientist, faith is something that must be simultaneously held at arm’s length and embraced. Being in a field where knowledge is tested, retested and tested again forces the scientist to stand at a certain distance from what he or she knows. Some scientists who are perched in that place see faith as a distraction, or at worst a limitation. Some, however, see their faith as precisely the force that gives them courage to delve fearlessly into the mysteries of life. Dr. Sarah Gall, chair of the biology department at MU, is this latter type of scientist. Read the rest of this entry »

Global ministry trends and issues, part six: Children and youth

Comments Off on Global ministry trends and issues, part six: Children and youth Written on August 30th, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, Missions, Press Releases, Theology

This is the sixth post in a series of articles on global ministry trends and issues presented by Dr. Greg Burch, Director of the Master of Arts in Global Development and Justice program and Chair of the Global Studies Department. You can read more articles from Dr. Burch on his personal site, The Burch Blog.

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This week’s focus has been the primary issue for me as a practitioner and researcher in life. Children and youth continue to experience pressing needs in our world today. I think particularly of those affected by global poverty and other factors that have led to an increase in children growing up in circumstances that put their lives at risk. One-sixth of the world’s children are living in crisis (Douglas and Steffen 349).

This population represents some of the most vulnerable people on the planet. Street-living and working children, child soldiers, gang-affiliated youth and others are in desperate need for mission praxis that is informed through best-practices in the field (best practices are models and approaches that derive from research and agreed upon standards from experts in the field). In the least developed areas of our world, children comprise 41 percent of the population (Payne 113). In some countries, that percentage rises above 50 percent, yet so often our mission training programs focus on the other half of the world’s population.

Scripture speaks boldly about the importance of children. Noted researchers in children’s spirituality focus on several biblical narratives where children are involved (Scottie May, et. al 39). One such story is the reunification of Esau and Jacob. When Jacob responds to Esau’s question about, “Who are these with you?” Jacob joyfully responds, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant” (Gen. 3:5). Other biblical passages from the N.T. are noted as well. The authors argue that “not only is the presence of Jesus’ teaching on children in the Gospels significant, but the emphasis in those teachings heightens their importance . . . understanding what Jesus says about children is at the heart of being a true disciple of Jesus” (39).

Given Scripture’s clear emphasis on recognizing the importance of children, understanding the risks they face is important.

Statistics reveal the need for caring for these young people:

• Two million people between the ages of 15 and 24 die each year globally from preventable diseases.
• 20% of adolescents experience mental health problems every year.
• Interpersonal violence kills about 565 young people between the ages of 5 and 29 every day.
• AIDS or AIDS-related illnesses account for the deaths of more than half of young female Africans (Payne 119).

Global development and mission organizations will continue to look for qualified candidates that are well-rounded in their skills and training. Local churches are critical to engaging with young people on the margins as well. “From the perspective of a missional engagement with children at risk, there is no replacement for the establishment of churches among every group of children who suffer the atrocities of a fallen world” (Pocock, Van Rheenen and McConnell 75).

Yet to care for these children, churches and agencies must move beyond a mentality that holds to a myopic approach to transformation that divides physical and emotional needs from spiritual realities. Spiritual conversion is critical for transformation, but a holistic approach that is focused on proclamation and formation, demonstration of compassion, restoration and development, and finally, confrontation of injustices will be critical to addressing both individual and structural issues that continue to contribute to the vulnerability of at-risk youth and children (Castellanos 136). Another way of saying this: We need to couple Word and Deed in our missional models for engaging with youth and children.

The implication of the abovementioned statistics recognizes the need for people to be trained through interdisciplinary programs that prepare caregivers from the fields of theology, business, psychology, sociology and health professions. General practitioners will continue to provide care as they launch programs that respond to the needs of at-risk children around the world. Combining the disciplines above will lead to robust programs that care for the whole child (thus bringing together the spiritual and physical realities).

One such example of a program that seeks to bridge both Word and Deed are found in some child sponsorship programs. Johnson and Wu, in citing a recent Christianity Today article describe the powerful effect that child sponsorship programs are having on vulnerable children (181). Sponsorship programs need not only passionate people trained in child survival practices, but business and marketing backgrounds as well. Happily, we have seen some Multnomah students from our programs going that direction. Children and youth also need pastors who are willing to open up their churches to serve those most vulnerable in their community. Academic programs that are multi-disciplined can provide the essential training that is needed for this type of ministry.

The need for partnerships and interdisciplinary approaches is critical for preparing future workers among this population of young people. Internships and practicum opportunities, as well as working with organizations that understand best practices, give students the opportunity to put into play what they are learning in the classroom. This is a critical piece for preparing younger generations in mission engagement. As a student at Multnomah in my undergrad, interning with a nonprofit organization in Colombia played a critical role in my vocational calling. It was that interplay between theory and practice, the classroom and field work, that eventually led me to full-time work in Latin America upon graduating.

Children and youth are clearly seen prioritized in the ministry of Jesus as he places the child in the midst of His disciples (Matt 18:12). It is time that our academic training institutions follow His example and provide programs that focus on those most vulnerable in society.

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Works Cited

Castellanos, Noel. Where the Cross Meets the Street. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2015.

Johnson, Todd and Cindy Wu. Our Global Families. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2015.

May, Scottie, Beth Posterski, Catherine Stonehouse & Linda Cannell. Children Matter: Celebrating Their Place in the Church, Family, and Community. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. 2005.

Payne, J.D. Pressure Points: Twelve Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson 2013.

Pocock, Michael, Gailyn Van Rheenen and Douglas McConnell. The Changing Face of Missions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005.

Steffen, Tom and Lois McKinney Douglas. Encountering Missionary Life and Work: Preparing for Intercultural Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2008.