I arrived in Nashville in 1970, to attend Trevecca Nazarene University. Our class sponsored chapel services to the homeless and hurting staying at the Mission.
After graduating from Trevecca, I attended Nazarene Theological Seminary and completed a Master of Divinity degree. After graduating, we moved to Raleigh, NC, where I pastored a Nazarene church for eight years. This was followed by an invitation to pastor the College Hill Church of the Nazarene on Trevecca’s campus (now Trevecca Community Church) where I served as a pastor to college administrators, faculty, and students right down the street from the Mission for six years. I spent another 14 years pastoring College Church in Bourbonnais, IL, before returning to Nashville.
In 2005, I accepted the position of President of Trevecca Nazarene University. Over the last 11 years, I’ve had numerous opportunities to interact with the staff, volunteers, donors, and even guests of the Mission. And while there might be some big differences between a college university and a ministry to the homeless, we do share a number of things in common.
Besides being neighbors, we are both focused on providing a Christian community to those who enter our doors. We both share a desire to help those in our care to develop holistically in the emotional, physical, social, and spiritual areas of being. And we both strongly desire that those we serve will develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Our paths cross on a regular basis. In fact, a recent graduate from Trevecca completed the Mission’s Life Recovery Program fifteen years ago. And numerous graduates from Trevecca are working, as well as volunteering at the Mission.
In the Christian university, we often tout our broad-based commitment to an education that is multi-disciplined while focusing in a specific direction. Many believe the work of the university is critical thinking. Rather than giving the world critical thinkers, I hope to give the world critical doers. When we prioritize the formation of the whole person over the mastery of facts, we are not calling for less academic rigor but for more. Because brainy ideas will never solve our most pressing problems like homelessness, bodies will. Bodies learn what minds cannot.
The student who serves a meal to the homeless at the Mission, visits a juvenile in jail, helps a victim of human trafficking find a job, and builds a clinic in Haiti will “know things” that can never be grasped by the unengaged brain. We are called to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and body … something both our organizations are committed to.
Nashville Rescue Mission is a sign that the body of Christ is present and active in the world. They are making a profound difference in the lives of many who are homeless and hurting. And that difference dramatically improves the community we live and work in. The Mission is addressing a vital need in the community and enhancing the life of unseen persons. Without the Mission, the public cost of serving these persons would dramatically increase. I’m thankful Nashville Rescue Mission is a part of our community. We are a much better community because of their efforts.