The Heart of Our Mission

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Cairn University’s Mission Statement: Cairn University exists to educate students to serve Christ in the church, society, and the world as biblically minded, well-educated, and professionally competent men and women of character.

When the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the new language of the University mission statement in 2005, there was discussion in the Cairn community about what changing that language would mean. Some were concerned about it signaling a course change and diminishing the ministry emphasis that is such a vital component of who we are; others were eager to see a statement that would better fit what the institution has become and guide where it might go, expanding our concept of ministry. It is hard to believe that was 14 years ago. It is equally hard to believe how well the mission statement has served us and how effectively it permeates all we do. As I was reading the proof of this issue of the magazine, it became clear once again that our distinctive of being a place centered on Christ and His Word is manifest in our commitment to serve Him in all things and in all ways. From the alumni and students, to the faculty and staff, to the institution itself, the conviction that all we do is to be carried out in service to Christ is evident.

“We are to be motivated and determined servants who carry on sacrificially because our faith and conviction—especially regarding who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for us—compel us to do so.”

The mission statement, which is so prolific in our literature, on our website, and in all of our assessment and planning documents, was written with great care. Every word, clause, punctuation mark, and expressed idea was intentionally constructed so as to capture what we do and who we are, as well as guide our priorities, planning, and vision. The very first idea put forth is simply that we exist to educate students to serve Christ. This is all-encompassing. Of course, it means in their vocation, regardless of the actual place or kind of employment. But it also means in their families, churches, and neighborhoods. It means that whatever they do, wherever they do it, they are to work with purpose and for a purpose. You can see this throughout the magazine. Alumni, students, faculty, and staff are doing good work in every sector of the marketplace, society, and ministry in every corner of the world. They are involved and using their gifts, abilities, time, resources, and experiences as God’s ambassadors and servants. The world needs these kinds of people with this kind of outlook. Faithfully fulfilling our calling to serve the Lord wherever He places us is simply what Christians should do. It is simply biblical.

But the mission statement was written with more than work in view. It was written to speak to why and how we are to live life. The marks of a servant are about far more than the actual work that is done. Faithfulness, selflessness, diligence, humility, joy, thankfulness, and so much more are to be the qualities exhibited by the servants of Jesus. And we are to be motivated and determined servants who carry on sacrificially because our faith and conviction—especially regarding who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for us—compel us to do so. This aspect of the mission statement and the idea of serving manifests itself in the attitudes, character, and spiritual fruit we see in the lives of students, alumni, faculty, and staff. It is always so encouraging for me to see how God is at work in the lives of our people, how He is shaping them, enabling them, caring for them, and challenging them. What a testimony that these servants of the Lord are by His grace carrying out their service in a manner that is and for reasons that are biblical.

Years ago, I delivered a talk to the faculty and staff out-lining my desire to see not only the faculty and staff embody and exemplify the mission for our students and alumni, but the institution also. What we seek to see accomplished in the lives of the men and women who study here does not happen solely by instruction. They must be given the opportunity to learn to serve by serving and seeing good examples that will inspire and encourage them. As a result, we strive to hire people committed to these things, to the mission, and to living out their faith as servants of Christ. We also take on initiatives, projects, and efforts that demonstrate the University’s institutional commitment to serve. This magazine outlines just a few ways we do that. Whether it is the JAM ministry to young people or the New Horizons Scholarship for mothers who choose life, Cairn University is striving to utilize its resources, gifts, and experiences to serve and in so doing serve as an example to those it educates. I trust you will find the following pages not only informative but encouraging. And that you will see the mission is “alive” and well here.

Dr. Todd J. Williams has been the president of Cairn University since January 2008. He served on the faculty and administration from 1996 to 2001, and then returned as provost in 2005. He can be reached by emailing