- Your first year at Gordon is almost over. What are some of the most encouraging things about campus life you have seen thus far? Do you have a favorite experience?
This has been a terrific year of celebrating some of our campus traditions and programs. Gordon students continue to demonstrate their deep commitment to their Christian faith, strong intellectual inquiry, service to the community and one another. I have enjoyed so many experiences where students and our faculty and staff edify each other by using their talents.
- Our theme for our Spring Edition is “Restoration.” What does this word mean to you? Especially in relation to Gordon College and your responsibility as President?
There is a Keith Green song “Create in me a Clean Heart” that quotes from Psalm 51:
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
That reference to restoration or restore is built on forgiveness and grace that comes to us when we confess our sin and are reconciled to God. That is true restoration that gives life.
For Gordon at this time, restoration calls us back to our community and our mission. Being a part of a vibrant Christian learning community is a privilege and an opportunity of a lifetime. As we work together, we pray for God’s guidance to restore the strength of our mission and the joy that we have in pursuing God in all things.
- In a March email, you discussed the administration organizing a student forum event. Would you mind elaborating on this idea? What is your heart behind it? Has it developed since then?
Dr. Jennifer Skaggs has been working with GCSA, other campus leaders, and me on the details and we plan to launch the Gordon Campus Forum later this spring. In listening to students and others on campus this year, I have heard a desire for guidance in learning to think, reason, and discuss together. We live in an era when it is common to avoid anyone with whom we do not agree. That is not the imperative of the greatest commandment we see in the Bible, that points us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to also love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We hope these forums allow us to hear each other and come together on the most important questions.
- There are obviously some controversial issues discussed among students at Gordon College. Without diving into the specifics, what is your approach to handling disagreement and conflict? Whether it’s between conservatives or progressives. One side of a theological camp or another? Etc. etc. What tone do you hope to take as President? Any advice to the student body when these issues arise?
Great question; I don’t know how innovative this is, but I value the time and commitment that draws people together, face to face, in person, when these disagreements arise. Most everyone points to social media as a cause of disagreement or misunderstandings. We often fail each other when we get information second-hand or from a distance. As believers in Jesus Christ, we owe it to each other to sit in proximity and listen to others.
- From your perspective, what is the biggest need for growth at Gordon and how do you plan to address it?
When you say growth, that could mean quantitative growth (enrollment, budget) or qualitative growth (spiritual climate, academic quality, community). While they are different, they are connected. I have been focused on our enrollment and retention while also working to build our sense of Christian community. We have one of the strongest Christian learning communities anywhere. Even when we disagree, we are aimed toward deep intellectual and spiritual learning. I recently completed a month of travel, including alumni events in 12 different cities around the nation. So many alumni testified that Gordon transformed their life through deep learning and true Christian discipleship. As we make our campus culture even stronger, we will draw more students into the Gordon experience.
- How are you praying for the Gordon community as the year ends? How can the student body be praying?
In chapel at the beginning of the semester, I shared these four prayers for the spring:
- I pray that we would show LOVE to one another
- I pray that we might have WISDOM: thoughtful discernment of the Word of God in all things.
- I pray that we might be holy and filled with HOPE in Christ
- I pray that we might testify to God’s GLORY in our lives.
I have prayed for these throughout the semester. In addition, I continue to pray that every student who comes to Gordon will leave here deeper in their relationship with Jesus Christ. I also pray for our faculty and staff—that they will be encouraged in their work as they serve God through their calling at Gordon. I also pray for peace and understanding in our community as we seek to love one another.
Categories: Student Life