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

No Comments » 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.


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.


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



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.

Hebrew professor and students to present Dead Sea Scrolls fragments and findings on Oct. 10

No Comments » Written on September 29th, 2016 by
Categories: Events, General, Press Releases, Seminary, Students

PORTLAND, Ore. — Dr. Karl Kutz, a Multnomah University professor, and a number of his students will present their recently published research on several Dead Sea Scrolls fragments at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10, at Multnomah University. In addition, the Museum of the Bible from Washington, D.C. will bring the fragments themselves for an exhibit in the university’s upper library. Read the rest of this entry »

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.


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.


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.

Global ministry trends and issues, part five: Human slavery

Comments Off on Global ministry trends and issues, part five: Human slavery Written on August 22nd, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, Press Releases

This is the fifth 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.


As I return from Asia, cruising at 35,000 feet, I am reflecting on the numerous lives caught up in distinct forms of human slavery. It disturbs me greatly. This is an issue I wish we did not have to focus on, but the mission of God includes those who are victimized and invisible to most of us. “Estimates go as high as 27 million people being enslaved globally. Internationally, 600,000 to 800,000 are trafficked annually, 80 percent of these being women and children” (Steffen and Douglas 346).

The implication for a biblically based justice-mission among these populations is clear. Christ draws our attention to His mission and the fulfillment of Scripture in quoting from Isaiah 61: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).

Freedom for those enslaved certainly involves a spiritual freedom, but a favorable reading of this text, in conjunction with the practices of Christ, would also lead us to believe that this passage should be understand holistically. Lives are transformed spiritually, emotionally, socially and in many cases physically as well. This notes a need for organizations like the International Justice Mission (IJM) and others that are seeking to work around the world, meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of people victimized through exploitation and greed (Myers 3).


Some examples of children and others enslaved are:

  • An estimated 168 million are caught up in child labor with at least half of that number enslaved and working in hazardous conditions (Johnson and Wu 48).
  • 700,000 children forced into domestic labor in Indonesia (Batstone 6).
  • The largest incidences of slavery in the U.S. are found in California, Florida, Texas and New York (Batstone 214).

Critical training resources and interdisciplinary programs focused on caring for those who have been enslaved are essential. Social justice and advocacy initiatives are also needed to target structural changes that might need to be confronted (e.g. bonded slavery due to debt). There is a lot of interest and passion among students to serve in these areas, but as Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert rightly point out, sometimes trying to help without the right knowledge can end up hurting those we seek to rescue or care for (21-25). Training programs must work hand in hand with organizations on the ground involved in this work. Partnerships between academic and non-profits are a recognized way forward to prepare students with both knowledge and practical experience.

“Christian researchers and practitioners have much to gain from greater interchange of ideas” (Judith M. Dean, Julie Schaffner and Stephen L.S. Smith 6). This is especially true for those desiring to produce quality research and training that will target lowering human slavery indexes. The authors insist that collaboration at all levels between academics and those on the field are critical if we are to have success in reducing poverty and its demeaning results (33-47). As we work together, we build on local knowledge, and the results lead to better practices and career/vocational placements for our graduates.


Works Cited

Batstone, David. Not for Sale. New York: Harper Collins. 2010.

Corbett, Steve and Brian Fikkert. When Helping Hurts. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers. 2012. Print.

Dean, Judith M., Julie Schaffner and Stephen L.S. Smith. Attacking Poverty in the Developing World. Waynesboro, GA: Authentic. 2005.

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

Myers, Bryant. Walking with the Poor. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis. 2011.

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

Chapel strengthens community, offers global perspective

Comments Off on Chapel strengthens community, offers global perspective Written on March 23rd, 2016 by
Categories: Press Releases


A time to gather

If you walk into the JCA cafeteria at 10 in the morning, chances are you’ll see hands lifted in worship. Or a nonprofit leader detailing ways to fight prostitution in Thailand. Or an alum describing sustainable business practices. Or maybe even a game of bubble soccer led by some youth ministry majors.

Three times a week, Multnomah students gather in chapel to pursue God as a group. That might mean listening to a local pastor, viewing student art projects or keeping updated on social justice issues.

“Chapel is valuable because everyone (is here) to experience something together,” says Stan Campbell, who runs the university chapel program. “It’s the only time that happens.”

English major Moriah Paterson agrees. “Chapel is crucial to keeping MU knit together,” she says. It’s where community becomes more than a catchphrase.

Glorifying God

Worship chapels are by far the most popular among MU students. Music major Kara Davis is in her second year of leading worship at MU, and she greatly appreciates the variety of denominations and cultures represented by her fellow students.

“No matter what background you’re from, you can worship,” she says. “Worshiping together brings us closer to Christ and closer as a community.”

When there aren’t worship chapels, the Chapel Committee — a group composed of staff, students and faculty — makes sure there’s a plethora of pastors, globe-trekkers, alumni, MU professors, writers, leaders and laymen booked to spotlight what God is doing in Portland and around the world.

“We want to focus on strengthening ties with the local church community,” says Campbell. “But we also want students to be more globally aware. It’s about glorifying God.”

“Chapel is like a traffic intersection,” says history major Johanna Ohmes. “There are all different types of speakers, testimonies and careers options presented.”

‘A heart seeking to engage’

Chapel is a core element of a Multnomah education. It’s a special time set aside to seek Christ as community, but it also emphasizes individual spiritual growth.

“Chapel is central to who (MU) is,” says global studies major Rachel Pinon. “It makes Scripture come alive in the community before you apply it in your life.”

“Come to chapel with expectation,” says Campbell. “It’s an opportunity to invest your time and see what God does.”

Psychology major Bonnie Lundgren concurs: “If you come with a heart seeking to engage, you will get something out of it.”

Alumna, naturopathic doctor Mia Potter infuses faith with career

Comments Off on Alumna, naturopathic doctor Mia Potter infuses faith with career Written on July 17th, 2015 by
Categories: Alumni, Press Releases, Students

Mia Potter isn’t your typical doctor. She doesn’t see dozens of patients each day. She isn’t fixated on conventional medicine. And she doesn’t focus on your symptoms.

Potter is a naturopathic doctor (N.D.). She completed a naturopathic medical doctoral program*, passed the national and state board exams for licensure, and works as a primary care physician at Selah Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

Her initial appointments with patients last between 60 and 90 minutes; follow-up visits are 30-45. An average appointment with a conventional doctor is 15 minutes.


“I have space with people to hear their stories,” she says. “It’s so rewarding when someone feels heard and when a treatment plan works.”

Potter’s treatment plans are as varied as the patients she sees; she doesn’t settle for a one-size-fits-all approach. “If three different people come to me with headaches, they might need three different treatments,” she says.

It takes time and patience to find and remove the root cause of an illness, and Potter is committed to finding the truth — not merely suppressing symptoms. “A headache might be caused by hormones, an allergy, lifestyle, diet, ergonomics or something else,” she says. “I try to be a detective with my patients.”

‘We want to be fixed quickly’

Many of the people Potter helps are disappointed with conventional medicine and desperate for lasting relief. But the naturopathic approach to health is not necessarily the fastest.

“We want to be fixed quickly, but it took many years for most of us to create the patterns that impact our health,” she says. “It takes years, if not a lifetime, to relearn how to live and function differently.”

Years of retraining may seem daunting, but Potter knows the rewards are worth the struggle. “It’s very much like our walk with the Lord,” she says. “As we change and grow, it can be new and awkward and confusing, but God has created things to support us. My hope is that I can journey with people while encouraging, empowering and equipping them to live healthier lives.”

‘A transformative year’

Potter’s own journey to naturopathic medicine began years before she knew what a naturopathic doctor was. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science from UC Berkeley before becoming a nutritionist. Through a conference she met Mission: Moving Mountains, a holistic community development agency serving countries around the world.

Potter decided to join their ministry in Senegal, Africa, but she had to prep first: One of the requirements was a strong biblical foundation. That’s how she found herself enrolled in the graduate certificate program at Multnomah.

The 12-month course was a pivotal point in her life. “It was a transformative year,” she says. “I grew up in church and was taught a doctrine, but at Multnomah there were so many different perspectives. I was in awe. The box I had God in got exploded.”

Living on campus only enhanced her experience. “My roommates became my closest friends — we studied, prayed, cried and had a lot of fun together,” she says. “It was a really special, supportive community. I still have friends from then.”

‘A better resource’

Once Potter graduated she joined Mission: Moving Mountains in Africa, where she served on a team as a nutritionist. After six months, she returned to Oregon and married a young man she’d met at Multnomah.

The next season of Potter’s life was filled with career development as she conducted exercise and diet research at the Portland VA Hospital and Oregon Health and Science University. She worked part-time as a nutritionist in between her research jobs.

“My job made me discover that I wanted to be a better resource for my patients,” she says. That’s when her husband stepped in. “He told me I should be a naturopathic doctor. I said, ‘What the heck is that?’ But once I looked into it, I realized it fit perfectly into the path the last decade of my life had taken.”

‘The ultimate holistic healer’

That path has led her right to Selah Natural Medicine, where she practices as a primary care physician. She also teaches classes on nutrition and eating disorders to graduate students at the Helfgott Research Institute.

The biblical wisdom she cultivated at Multnomah continues to inspire Potter and her career. “My faith influences every aspect of my work,” she says. “So much of naturopathy is steeped in the Scriptures. Think about the manna for the Israelites and the living water for the woman at the well. God provides for people in the ways they need; he goes to the root cause of their issues. He is the ultimate holistic healer.”

Potter says MU fostered an openness to talk with the Lord that still influences her prayers today. “There are so many things I took from Multnomah,” she says. “I learned to walk with open hands. I pray for my patients. I trust that God will bring them to me if they’re supposed to cross my path.”

And when they do, Potter is ready to hear their stories — and help change their lives.


*Accredited, naturopathic medical doctoral programs are comprised of the hard sciences, clinical and lab diagnosis, pharmacology, treatment modalities such as botanical medicine, homeopathy, nutrition, and physical medicine, as well as clinic internships. Learn more about naturopathic medicine.

Psychology graduate Erik Mendoza takes his skills to Adidas

Comments Off on Psychology graduate Erik Mendoza takes his skills to Adidas Written on June 25th, 2015 by
Categories: Alumni, Athletics, Press Releases, Students

A Multnomah degree won’t just qualify you for a rewarding career and equip you for grad school — it will set you apart as a redeeming force in the workplace. Erik Mendoza’s experience at MU provided a solid foundation for his future, and the principles he took from the classroom — and the basketball court — continue to inspire him.

The psychology major thrived while playing for the Lions. He served three years as team captain and was awarded the Pete Maravich Memorial Award, an annual honor given to the nation’s most outstanding NCCAA Division II athlete. He also volunteered with his teammates at a local children’s hospital and even traveled with them on mission trips to the Czech Republic and Taiwan.

“Those experiences make the basketball team more than a basketball team,” Mendoza says. “If you stick around, you’ll come out a better and stronger person.”

Upon graduating, Mendoza was hired by one of the world’s top sports brands: Adidas. Now he’s a retail marketing specialist for the company’s basketball, baseball and football divisions.

“My psychology degree taught me so much about how people work, and translating that into marketing hasn’t been hard,” he says. “I love my job. Multnomah challenged me academically and gave me the ability to work and perform at a high level. At the same time, it instilled in me a genuine love for people.”


Elementary education graduate Kylie Cole opens private preschool

Comments Off on Elementary education graduate Kylie Cole opens private preschool Written on June 2nd, 2015 by
Categories: Alumni, Press Releases, Students

Kylie Cole opened her own preschool just one year after graduation. “Multnomah gave me the tools for my toolbox that I needed,” says the elementary education major. “My education equipped me mentally, emotionally and spiritually for this.” Read the full story.


Four seminary students selected for two-week internship in Oxford

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

Four seminary students from MU have been selected to attend the Logos Conference, a two-week internship at Oxford sponsored by the Green Scholars Initiative (GSI). Only students working on GSI projects were invited to apply for the summer conference, where world-renowned academic experts will teach them history, theology and textual studies.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about MU's Hebrew program.