FOUR WORDS. Four Values. One Message. One NNU! Transformation. Truth. Community. Service.
These four words are not terribly uncommon, nor are they world-changing in and of themselves. However, in the context of all that happens at Northwest Nazarene University, they truly work together, enabling students to become God’s creative and redemptive agents in the world.
This issue of The Messenger focuses on the last of these four values: “Service—we believe education cultivates service. NNU teaches the importance of a life of servanthood as modeled by Jesus Christ. We learn to lead by giving of ourselves to God and humankind.”
We are all well aware that we live in a mobile device-dependent era. Regardless of the brand we prefer, most of us feel incomplete without our smartphone, tablet, or other device and the wide array of apps and accessories designed to serve us and “simplify” our lives. Please understand, I’m not against any of these devices, despite my occasional love-hate relationship with my iPhone (I am continually amazed at its power and functionality, while simultaneously dismayed at my inability to be untethered from my email).
But these devices come with a risk. The risk is that we will believe one of our common cultural narratives: It’s all about me, and I should be served by someone or something. Jesus’ instruction to us was to serve others (see for example Matthew 20:20-28 and Matthew 25:31-46), which may be an even more counter-cultural concept today than when He spoke it. At NNU, we actually take Christ’s instruction one step further and believe that education is not just meant to make our students smarter, but education should also cultivate servanthood within them.
As I read this issue I was fascinated that several stories referenced more than just the singular core value of service. I was reminded that in our Wesleyan context Service ts together and coexists alongside Truth and Community to result in Transformation. Inside these pages you’ll be introduced to several members of our NNU family, all of whom tell their own stories of how service has affected them and the world in which they live. These stories stir my emotions. They inspire me. They lead me to look inward and cause me to feel gratitude for the impact an NNU education has had, and continues to have, on the lives of these individuals. They remind me that NNU is here for good!
As you read these pages, I pray that you too will be moved and inspired by these stories, and I hope that you take the opportunity to re ect on the ways that you are in service to others.
Joel K. Pearsall