Opening Thoughts, Summer Messenger 2019
NNU’s Mission Statement reads this way: “The mission of Northwest Nazarene University is the transformation of the whole person. Centered in Jesus Christ, the NNU education instills habits of heart, soul, mind and strength to enable each student to become God’s creative and redemptive agent in the world.”
This issue of The Messenger focuses on one aspect of NNU’s goal of educating students—the idea that education must do more than affect only the mind, that it must affect the whole person. We really believe this here at NNU, which is why it is embedded in our Mission Statement—did you see it? We are seeking to transform “the whole person” and we seek to instill “habits of heart, soul, mind, and strength...”
We truly believe that we are each created as whole persons—we sometimes use the word “holistic” to describe what we are doing. I realize that “holistic” is a hot-button word for some because it has at times been associated with the New Age movement. However, the definition of “holistic” accurately describes what we are doing—“relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). Therefore, I believe that “holistic” is an apt word to describe our approach to education.
It was Jesus who reminded the teacher of the law of the first and greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30, NIV). Jesus was describing that we must love God with our whole being, so we believe that it stands to reason that NNU should seek to educate the whole being—heart, soul, mind and strength.
In the pages that follow, you will find an article by NNU’s vice president for Academic Affairs that describes how we go about providing this sort of education. Employers are telling us that NNU graduates are entering the workforce with an integrity that sets them apart from their peers. You’ll also find articles that show a positive impact on students of this approach to education. One example is the way our student-athletes are supported and encouraged to pursue intensive degree programs—such as nursing—when other institutions resist the idea that student-athletes can successfully pursue the more demanding degrees.
Don’t miss any of the following articles, because each shows a different aspect of NNU’s education of the whole person. Enjoy!
Joel K. Pearsall