Northwestern Recognized for Spiritual Enrichment by Christian College Guide
Northwestern College is highlighted as one of two “best of spiritual enrichment” colleges in the 2019 edition of the Christian College Guide produced by Christianity Today.
Northwestern and Gardner-Webb University of North Carolina were selected by judges for the honor based on institutional nominations and comments by students. The Christian College Guide article mentioned Northwestern’s intentional integration of faith and learning, twice-weekly chapel services, student-led Sunday night Praise and Worship service, discipleship groups, retreats and numerous mission opportunities as factors helping students to grow spiritually.
“We are excited to receive this affirmation of our efforts to nurture and deepen students’ Christian faith,” says Mark DeYounge, Northwestern’s dean of Christian formation. “It is our desire for a Christ-centered worldview to be part of everything students experience on campus. Our goal is for them to experience the love of Jesus and be empowered to follow him and participate in God’s redeeming work in the world.”
DeYounge is one of three seminary-trained employees of Northwestern’s campus ministry department who provide many opportunities for students to encounter and impact God’s kingdom. Among the Christian formation opportunities Northwestern offers are regular worship services and sessions that focus on topics relevant to today’s college students from a Christian perspective. Hundreds of students participate in discipleship groups that meet weekly on every residence hall wing or floor. Surveys show that students believe participation in those groups increases their prayer life, their knowledge of the Bible, their ability and motivation to live their faith in the world, and their sense of belonging.
More than 60 percent of Northwestern’s students put their faith to action through volunteer efforts, which has led the college to be named nine consecutive years to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. During spring break, more than 200 students, faculty and staff serve in teams at ministry sites around the world, including Haiti, Nicaragua and the Netherlands. Each summer, around 20 students spend up to 10 weeks assisting mission partners at international sites. Athletic teams and performing arts groups also regularly go on mission trips together.
Campus ministry teams raise students’ awareness of the world’s injustices and provide ways to respond. Students visit prisons, package food and serve people who’ve been marginalized.