What it Means to be a Christian College: Our Covenant of Faith
Our Belief as a Christian College
Grace College and Theological Seminary is a Christian college affiliated with the Charis Fellowship, formerly known as the Fellowship of the Grace Brethren. Charis is a network of churches, colleges, and affiliated organizations that communicate and work together to spread the Gospel. The good news is, you do not have to come from the Brethren denomination for Grace to be the right place for you! We have students from many different backgrounds that are united under core doctrinal beliefs straight from Scripture.
The tenets of our faith can be boiled down to…
- Truth: the Bible is our ultimate authority
- Relationship: the Church is meant to provide support and care
- Mission: the Great Commission can only be accomplished by working together
As a Christian college, our Covenant of Faith influences everything we do, and we strive to learn, apply, and practice our beliefs in the context of community.
Our first priority is to learn about our faith – what it means to be a Christian, how to engage in Christian community, and why the Bible is so important for our spiritual well being. We want to be a Christian college that has open conversations about the joys and difficulties of walking with Christ:
- We have chapel three times a week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10:30 to 11:20am) in the Manahan Orthopedic Capital Center. We view chapel as a time to worship and learn together under speakers who are passionate about Christ and their career fields.
- Each year, Grace leadership thoughtfully chooses a campus theme that is tied to a book of the Bible. This theme is interwoven into our chapel sessions and growth groups. For the 2022/23 school year, the theme is Hope: Renew Your Strength and is based on the book of Isaiah. Our goal is to unite the entire campus around a specific focus and to learn together straight from Scripture.
- Growth Groups happen on Wednesday evenings and are Bible study groups that happen in every residence hall on campus. Many of the lessons are based on the campus theme, but Growth Group Leaders (GGLs) are given opportunities to come up with their own lessons as well. This group, required for freshmen, gives the students a chance to bond as they pray and study the Word together.
As we learn about our faith, we value application as an important next step. We want to be a Christian college that doesn’t just talk about our faith, but one that is skilled at bringing that knowledge into real life. This is done through faith integration in the classroom as well as developing Christ-like behavior and skills:
- We offer over 100 different undergraduate majors, minors, and graduate programs in a variety of career fields and seek to incorporate our faith into everything we do, from math equations to music practice. Our Bible majors are given ministry knowledge and opportunities that prepare them for the ministry field. Our non-Bible majors are shown how their field can be a vehicle to spread the Gospel and further the kingdom of God. For instance, in our science classes, we discuss both secular theories and look at what the Bible says about the natural world.
- At Grace, college is about so much more than classes – it is about praying for and investing in students to help them become the best person they can be. During their time here, we want them to develop Biblical skills that will serve them throughout their lives. We specifically want them to:
- Be a disciple of Christ – seeking to know Him more deeply. (Ephesians 1:17)
- Know and choose what is best, not simply what is good. (Philippians 1:9-11)
- Interact with Christ’s followers and be drawn toward Jesus and His glory. (Philemon 6)
- Have his or her will displaced by God’s will. (Colossians 1:9)
- Live a life that is in step with Christ and His calling on his or her life. (Colossians 1:10-11)
Applying your faith to real life takes practice. We want to be known as a Christian college that lets our faith speak for itself throughout the surrounding community. Grace College provides opportunities for students to bring their faith into real life by serving other people:
- Every student is required to experience a GoEncounter trip. These 10-day cross-cultural trips provide opportunities for students to interact with those of another culture, many of which are ministry-oriented. These trips are transformative for students as they engage with new people, places, and cultures and grapple with the ways their own culture has influenced their worldview.
- Every year, we hire students to be Resident Assistants, Growth Group Leaders, Chapel Coordinators, and Student Mentors to help lead our campus and welcome the incoming class of freshmen into our community. These student leaders are trained to be servant leaders and are given many opportunities to minister to others through soul care and meeting practical needs.
- Our campus is surrounded by organizations that value what a Grace student can bring to their teams. As we educate students, we want to send them out into their workplace and mission field to get first-hand practice as Christian employees. This means preparing them to spread Christ in their future companies and to be a light to all.
All of our campus activities are supported by our core values, which come directly from the Truth of God’s Word. We want all of our students to be Engaged, Selfless, Thriving, and Authentic.
We engage with the world around us through participation in events and organizations that glorify God. Christian colleges develop students who are good stewards of their resources and value service.
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.
We value other people by stepping into their world to serve and walk alongside them in their lives as image-bearers of God. Christian colleges develop students who desire authentic community.
Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Our students thrive in our individual relationships with God and with the Church. Christian colleges develop students who value the transforming power of a relationship with God.
2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
We want to live lives that are Christ-like in every single way. Christian colleges develop students who view their whole lives as an opportunity to bring glory to God.
Colossians 1:16-17 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.