Becoming Christ’s ambassadors
For over 100 years, the soil of NNU has provided rich ground for seeds of transformation to take root and stretch tender shoots upward under the steady warmth of an encouraging community and the daily watering of ideas. Sometimes growth happens quickly. Other times, like a maple tree that matures for 40 years before being tapped, a yield requires patience.
Using a year-long chapel theme of “Justice, Mercy, Humility: Pursuing the Common Good,” University Chaplains Dustin and Olivia Metcalf have been planting and watering seeds they pray will produce a passion in students to become ambassadors for Christ.
“We believe that God’s desire is to right the wrongs of this world and that part of this righting is for God’s people to live holy lives.”“We wanted to challenge the NNU community to explore with us many of the hard issues of our day. We believe that God’s desire is to right the wrongs of this world and that part of this righting is for God’s people to live holy lives—lives reflecting the image of Christ in the world. To be like Christ, we have to be able to see the ‘least of these’—the abused, the broken, the forgotten.”
Thanks to special speakers, local pastors, members of the campus community and denominational leaders, students are exploring and dialoguing about what it means to be Christian in today’s world, covering topics such as human trafficking, violence, creation care, pornography, and refugees and immigrants.
While these conversations are challenging, students are finding value and inspiration in the topics.
“Chapel this year has been such a perfect opportunity for me to explore how I can make a difference in this world and fulfill God’s purpose on this earth,” says junior Cacey Hall. “After going through the human trafficking walk, ‘Sold Experience,’ and listening to the different speakers, I have gained so much compassion for women coming out of slavery. I am a psychology major and hope to become a counselor or therapist someday, so becoming a therapist for women who have been brought out of slavery is something I am very interested in pursuing.”
Junior history major Erik Birnel found inspiration through another topic. “Hearing Josh (’03) and Melissa (’04) Fishburne speak about refugees touched me,” he reflected. “They are two married NNU alumni who run a Christian ministry that reaches out to refugees living in Boise. Through their example we are reminded that bi-vocational ministry is very possible, that refugees have a name besides ‘refugee,’ and that the mission field is often in our own neighborhoods.”
Inspired to act, Erik joined with fellow students senior Kelly Nigro, junior Rebecca Dedergren and junior Alexandra Zickefoose to revive Stand Club, a club that partners with World Relief Boise to connect students with refugees. They organized an information panel with experts on refugees, along with a hygiene drive to collect needed items for newly resettled refugees in Boise.
“These conversations [around the chapel topics] will happen regardless of what universities deem valuable for student ears. Exploring these issues in meaningful ways—through an academic lens, a social justice lens, and a biblical lens—is valuable in that it provides students multiple pools of information to draw from when in conversation about these issues on or off campus,” commented Alexandra.
Junior public relations major Ross Martinson believes the chapel format has challenged him in ways he hasn’t experienced before. “One of the biggest takeaways for me has been to have hard conversations and challenge one another even if we don’t have the answers. If we want to be fully transformed here, we have to have hard conversations so that we know what we can do better and how we can go out into the world and be creative and redemptive agents for Christ.”
Thankfully, graduation isn’t the end of this growth. Evidenced in the lives of NNU alumni, the seeds planted during their time as students continue to grow, form new branches and bear much fruit—truly making the world a better place through the love of Jesus.
Join the campus community on their journey; listen to past and future recordings of chapel at nnu.edu/chapel.
A special Arbor Day chapel service highlighted a month-long focus on creation care and stewardship. The event also helped complete a final requirement needed for NNU to become Idaho’s first “Tree Campus.”