World Changers: Celebrating Our Andrews Story
The final installment in a series of letters from President Andrea Luxton. Read the whole collection online.
To access the entire series of letters from President Andrea Luxton, click here.
March 6, 2023
Dear campus community and friends of the University,
Over the last week, I have been speaking to you personally, directly from my heart, on a number of important issues relevant to the Andrews University community. Why now? It seems that at a time of change for the University, rumors and questions about the University increase. My intent then is to share with you as a way of clearly Celebrating Our Andrews University Story.
I have developed this series of messages prayerfully, keeping in mind our Sharing the Heart of God values that inspire the work of our dedicated University family of employees.
Today will be the end of this week-long series of messages. I want to thank you for your positive feedback throughout the week. It has been such a pleasure to share these messages (and my heart) with you!
Today, for my final message, I am going to talk about that very real reality of having World Changers in our midst now and World Changers leaving here to make a profound difference elsewhere. Put very simply, when Andrews University talks about “World Changers Made Here.” it means the academic and professional excellence of our students and graduates, informed by their faith commitment, leads to a profound and intentional desire to bring positive change to this world. That change might be on the level of individuals, of our church, of the local community or internationally, but it provides a frame to how we use our education and lean in to our faith.
Over the past week I received two completely independent rave reviews from our students, both related to church life. One spoke of going to a church in South Bend to see a baptism. And of course, that was an important moment, but the report was of the individual’s surprise at seeing Andrews students everywhere in this church—not just on placement from the Seminary but leading out, helping in various ways and capacities just because … These students had chosen to go to this church not to satisfy their personal worship experience but because here they could serve.
And then a few days later, a faculty member spoke of going to Harbor of Hope in Benton Harbor and experiencing exactly the same. He spoke of the powerful message from the Seminary student preaching and then added, “But even above that I was so encouraged to meet there, students from not just the seminary but from many of the other schools on campus, who expressed a commitment to ministry, and service. They travel all the way to Benton Harbor, some without personal means of transportation because they had a desire to engage … minister to and reach this marginalized community.” He adds, “Meeting young people like this inspires me and renews my hope.”
I could add story after story. There is the check-out clerk who during COVID commented to a staff member buying supplies for a project for women in a shelter that she was so impressed with Andrews, because while others seemed to be shutting down their “service” during COVID, Andrews was visibly ramping up their responses. There are those who have been touched by our students and faculty working through our International Center for Trauma Education & Care. There is the literacy program we have been running right here in Berrien Springs. There are those whose spiritual and personal lives have been through multiple mission projects, both evangelistic and service, in Cuba, Honduras, Jamaica, Bolivia, Lebanon, Madagascar and so many more places. Whether it is designing and building medical clinics or creating solutions to solve clean water supply challenges, our students with faculty mentors and staff see making a positive change in communities and lives as just what they do.
And I want you to know this is such an exciting part of having been President of this institution. If you keep up with FOCUS magazines or my President’s Page quarterly emails or our Andrews Agenda postings, I know you will have seen what we do consistently, individually and corporately to do what we say we will do in bringing change, healing and hope.
But the list of what we do is not the most important point here. What is important is our intentionality in every program on the campus to help our students ask and answer the “so what?” question. I have studied sociology. So what? I have studied business. So what? I have studied aviation. So what?
Yes, we want our graduates to do well and have some good income. But that is not the Andrews answer to “so what?” The answer to “so what?” is to use what I have learnt and the faith that has deepened in my experience at Andrews and make a difference for the good, a difference for God in this world. That is the answer to “so what!”
World Changers Made Here!
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).