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Calvary Preps for Global Engagement Think Tank

Calvary Preps for Global Engagement Think Tank

Josh Paxton teaching recently in an Intercultural Studies classroom.

Where is the School?

With Calvary’s Conference on Global Engagement just around the corner, Josh Paxton, Director of the Burnham Center for Global Engagement, is gearing up for the conference’s Think Tank. Scheduled for Friday the 31st, the Think Tank addresses the question of how the church, mission agency, and school work together in training missionaries for the field. Paxton said, “The conversation has generally centered around the mission agency and the church. And… as I’ve been in these conversations, the constant refrain in the back of my mind has been, where is the school?” He noted that, as Christian schools have closed over the past few years, mission agencies have turned their recruiting focus toward churches. While recognizing that “the church is God’s primary vehicle in the world today, and the local church bears responsibility for local missions,” Paxton said, “I think the school still very much has a role to play.”

Concurrent to the conversation is Calvary’s Synergy program that has already forged a stronger connection between the school and the mission agency. As the program grows and develops, leaders and students are finding ways to involve the church more in discipling the individuals preparing for the mission field. Paxton said an integral part of the Synergy program is “making sure that [the student’s] local church is behind them, and that they’re being mentored in the process.”

The Think Tank brings together local pastors, Calvary leadership, missions agency representatives, and students around the idea of, “how do we do this better together?” The format of the Think Tanks will be “Ted Talk style,” featuring 30-minute presentations followed by discussion times. Paxton is excited to bring students into these conversations, “because it strikes me it does no good for pastors and teachers and missions agency leaders to sit around and talk about students without students actually being there to give their input.”

Examining how the church, agency, and school work together to disciple and train leaders, Paxton said, “I think we need to take a real hard look at what are the roles of each: what’s the church good at? What’s the school good at? What’s the agency good at? What are our niches and how do we work better together?”

STEM head Chris Basel excited as program expands

STEM head Chris Basel excited as program expands

Calvary’s commitment to educating from the biblical worldview means Calvary’s program is rare.

With Calvary’s addition of a chemistry minor, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) head Chris Basel looks forward to further expansions of the program. He said, in long-term goals, Calvary looks to add other STEM minors, such as math and biology. “The goal is for the minors to partner with the Warrior’s Choice degree,” enabling students “to go on to any professional school.” This opens opportunities for Calvary graduates in graduate studies such as medical science, biology, and chemistry.

Basel highlighted the importance of Calvary’s first distinctive, standing firm on the Bible. With the opportunities Calvary offers, students “don’t have to go to a secular college that teaches from a naturalistic perspective… You can come to Calvary and you can get Education, Bible and Theology, and now you can get Science and Math, too.”

Calvary’s commitment to educating from the biblical worldview means Calvary’s program is rare. Basel said, “[Because] we hold the Bible to be true and authoritative from the very first word, we are a creationist college. You can go to Answers in Genesis and search creationist colleges; we’re on there.” This standing makes Calvary one of “a relatively small number.”

Basel pointed out that, while “there is quite a lot of good competition within that small number, this gives people another opportunity” as they pursue biblical higher education. Calvary is one of only seven creationist colleges listed for the central United States, and one of fourteen west of the Missouri River. This small number of options positions Calvary’s Missouri and Colorado campuses to fill a national need for biblical education in STEM fields.

Basel said, “My desire is to meet the needs of students who have a variety of needs,” and he already has students from a wide range of the Midwest enrolled in his science courses. The blended format of Calvary’s courses enables students across the country to take advantage of low cost, high quality education in biblical degree programs.

Students in a Biology lab extract DNA from strawberries.

Education Major Charissa Harwerth Sees God Working at the Calvary University Innovation Center

Education Major Charissa Harwerth Sees God Working at the Calvary University Innovation Center

CU student Charissa Harwerth, studies at Calvary’s Kansas City campus, but helped out at the Colorado site while home for the summer. (Her helpers were not identified.)

“People would come in on a weekly basis saying, ‘Hey, what’s going on here?’”

Charissa Harwerth, spent her summer working at Calvary University’s Innovation Center (CUIC) in Fort Morgan, Colorado. A junior in Calvary’s Elementary Education degree program, Harwerth spent part of her childhood in Fort Morgan, and she was excited to partner with Calvary to impact her home community. Harwerth worked in admissions, contacting hundreds of prospective students and recruiting at local events.

She commented on her joy “to see the excitement in the community, especially with the Academy coming in.” Harwerth said the response to Calvary University Academy (CUA) has been especially strong. “They are doing so much. They’re instilling biblical values into these students… and students who have struggled in the public school being a light are getting training in that.”

CUIC’s presence in Fort Morgan creates opportunity to help the community and start a dialogue with its residents. Harwerth said, “God is working, and it’s coming out into the community through [God] allowing a lot of curiosity. People would come in on a weekly basis saying, ‘Hey, what’s going on here?’” Harwerth was thrilled with how the CUIC team is striving for excellence. “They are actively seeking to enhance the Fort Morgan community and also actively seeking to [reach] the community with a biblical worldview.”

Looking towards CUIC’s growth and future, Harwerth says, “They’re sticking to the biblical worldview and encouraging the community because of it… I believe God has us there for a reason. And [CUIC] has a lot of potential to see the Colorado atmosphere change, especially in its view on Christianity and the Bible.”

Calvary donates to City Union Mission during 20 Days of Blessing

Calvary donates to City Union Mission during 20 Days of Blessing

Randy Grimm (left) and Cory Trowbridge (right) with City Union Mission’s Development Director, Dennis Chapman (center).

Nothing says “Christmas” like . . . toilet paper?!

Through the month of December, Calvary faculty and staff conducted the 20 Days of Blessing. Prompted by Chief Operations Officer Randy Grimm, the 20 Days of Blessing encourages the Calvary body to engage in serving the local community. After hearing a local businessman express frustration at the number of unmet needs in the community, Grimm brought the dilemma to Calvary’s faculty, staff, and student body, urging them to step up “and be a blessing to others.”

The Calvary community quickly rose to the challenge. Departments worked together to acquire and organize donations, partnering to bless six different ministries: KC Rescue, Global FC, KC Refuge, Heart in Hand, Stockings for Soldiers, and City Union Mission.

During the last week of class, Grimm and Dean of Students, Cory Trowbridge, delivered one of the blessings to City Union Mission: over 2000 rolls of toilet paper donated by faculty, staff and the student body. Dennis Chapman, City Union Mission’s Development Director, said the mission’s various sites go through at least 3,600 rolls of toilet paper per month.

Grimm said Calvary looks forward to making 20 Days of Blessing an annual campaign to bless others in our communities. 

Professional Directed Studies provides opportunities for student growth

Professional Directed Studies provides opportunities for student growth

Student uses collaborative degree program to grow academically and spiritually.

Rebekah Crawford is a senior at Calvary pursuing a double major through Professional Directed Studies (PDS). She said she chose an English degree, “because I had enjoyed both reading and writing my entire life and thought it would be fun to get a degree that would allow me to do what I loved.” She transferred credits from high school towards her second major in Graphic Design. “It was also a plus that I enjoy creating things both hands-on and digitally.”

Through PDS, Crawford fulfils the requirements for her Graphic Design major at the University of Central Missouri (UCM) and takes courses for her interdisciplinary degree in English Literature and Creative Writing at Calvary. “Calvary has an articulation agreement with UCM and Calvary puts together a planner that fits the core needs for the degree, so a lot of the planner is based off of what UCM requires for that specific degree, but it isn’t an exact replica. My planner still reflects the general education and Biblical studies requirements that every student at Calvary has.”

Calvary holds articulation agreements with over twenty institutions worldwide, including four of the top colleges in the Kansas City area: Johnson County Community College, Kansas City Kansas Community College, Metropolitan Community College, and University of Central Missouri. Crawford spent her first semesters commuting for courses at UCM, but this semester, she is living close to UCM’s campus and becoming more involved in the school’s community. She commented on the way Calvary’s community prepared her for this new environment. “At Calvary, there was a curfew, room checks weekly along with devotions, and ample opportunities to be around believers that loved Christ just as much as I do. All of these things I feel have given me a sense of responsibility toward myself and others.”

Crawford spoke highly of PDS. “I think it’s a great way for Calvary to have more majors to choose from while also giving students the opportunity to use the biblical training they’ve been taught and put it to the test at a secular university in the sense of staying strong in their faith and not being afraid to share it with others.”