A Great Commission University Helps Students Understand God’s Calling in Their Personal, Professional Lives
University of Mobile President Speaks to Mobile Baptist Pastors
MOBILE, Ala. – University of Mobile President Dr. Tim Smith said a Great Commission university must incorporate spiritual and academic development and have a clear endpoint for students.
“We need to assist the student in helping him or her understand and engage in the calling of God on one’s personal and professional life,” Smith told pastors gathered for the Mobile Baptist Association Ministers Conference Aug. 1 at Government Street Baptist Church.
“This will require the work of all associated with the University of Mobile, and you as pastors of the churches, as we bring students to be a part of your congregations,” Smith added.
Smith, who was named president of the Baptist college on April 11, spoke about the integration of Christian faith and academic learning through the lens of a biblical worldview, based on Proverbs 9:10 (fear of the Lord); Genesis 1:26 (imago Dei – the image of God); and Romans 12:2 (separated from the world, renewed in the mind, and governed by the will of God).
He shared his spiritual and academic journey, gave an update on the university, and offered a word of encouragement on challenges, choices and changes.
Smith said a newly revised Master of Arts in Biblical/Theological Studies begins this semester. The non-thesis, 36-hour program will provide quality, graduate-level training for adults who have a calling or desire to serve God through vocational or voluntary ministry. The degree in the School of Christian Studies provides sound theological training with practical application for ministry in a variety of settings.
Information about the Master of Arts in Biblical/Theological Studies is online at umobile.edu/ags, or call Adult and Graduate Studies at 251.442.2662.
Smith described the biblical process by which students are prepared, beginning with the verse on the university’s seal: Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…”
“This verse describes our calling to Him,” Smith said. “As students come onto the campus of University of Mobile, I want them to understand that there is a God, the very God of this Bible, that desires to lead him or her through their journey at University of Mobile and into the days after graduation.”
He said that understanding is “He is not a God that we must fear because of Him being a strong-armed God, but instead One by which we express an attitude of respect and a response of reverence and wonder in gaining His wisdom.”
He described five ways to seek God’s wisdom:
- Our heart will be taught by the Holy Spirit (John 14:26)
- We will establish the right value of temporal and eternal (2 Cor 4:18)
- We will listen to the words of Jesus, repent, and be saved (2 Tim 3:15)
- We will learn and follow His will for our individual lives (Eph 5:17)
- We will walk in a sure path of peace and safety with God (Prov 3:17)
Smith said Genesis 1:26 describes who we are in God, “Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.”
“In essence, the student needs to understand who he or she is in Christ as the imago Dei or image bearer of God. Thus, our responsibility to the parents and students is to mentor the student so he or she comes to understand what it means to be an image bearer of Christ,” Smith said.
He said transformation by God is described in Romans 12:2: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Smith said he believes that transformation occurs through three processes at a Great Commission university.
- We need to help students understand that this world has little to offer, thus the student needs to understand and follow God’s plan in NOT conforming to this world.
- We need to mentor students through a transformational process that calls for a renewing of their minds. This involves the Great Commandment process of loving God with their heart, mind and soul through an integrated process of rigorous academics and intentional spiritual development. This will occur in the classrooms and throughout co-curricular opportunities.
- We need to assist the student in helping him or her understand and engage in the calling of God on one’s personal and professional life.
“In essence, I have explained to the staff and faculty that we are to put legs on the renewed mind in sending the graduate out into the world for the fulfilling of the Great Commission,” Smith said.
About University of Mobile:
University of Mobile is a Christ-centered liberal arts and sciences institution with a vision of higher education for a higher purpose, founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions through rigorous academic preparation and spiritual transformation. The university offers on-campus and online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in over 40 areas of study. Founded in 1961, University of Mobile is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention and is located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama on a campus of over 880 acres.