Facebook Instagram Youtube LinkedIn Twitter

Discovering our Calling
in the Life
& the Mission of God


By Kelly Liebengood, Ph.D., and Viktor Roudkovski, Ph.D.

 

Our Mission

The School of Theology and Vocation exists because LETU is intentional about being a Christian university. We seek to be a place where students, faculty, and staff deepen their commitment to teaching, learning, and living in the light of what God has revealed about Himself and the world in Jesus Christ.

We have an exciting mission. Not only do we prepare our theology majors to interpret the Bible and lead communities into deeper expressions of Christian discipleship in a variety of ministry contexts, we also equip students from every major to help them explore their Christian calling (or vocation) and how it is connected to their studies and their career aspirations. We work with faculty across campus to encourage reflection on the ways Christian faith informs our academic disciplines and the ways our shared and intersecting work as professors is mutually enriching both for faculty and for students.

 

Our Mission Is Joining God’s Mission

Perhaps the biggest challenge we face today is the fact that we live in a world filled with many different ways of explaining who we are, what we are here for, and what a meaningful life looks like. We have more than one story competing for our allegiance. As we seek to educate this next generation of leaders, the question is not whether some story will shape their lives, but rather which story will shape their understanding of who they are and what their lives are for?

This is where our unique approach to spiritual formation comes in.

Scottish theologian and ethicist Alasdair MacIntyre wrote, “You can only answer the question of what am I to do, if you answer the prior question of what story do I find myself a part of.” The choices we make about our lives depend on our conception of what story we think we belong to.  

The foundational aim of our spiritual formation curriculum at LETU is to shape our students to ask the kinds of questions that enable them to faithfully partner with God in what He is doing in this world, to help them see how they fit into God’s bigger story. An intentional Christian education does not encourage students to ask how God fits into their academic disciplines and career aspirations, but rather prepares them to wrestle with how they (and their academic discipline) fit into God’s mission.

The Story of God’s Mission

What is God’s mission? When we look at the Bible as a whole, from Genesis to Revelation, we see that it is one big story—a story not just about spiritual things, but about the whole world, all of reality.  And at the center of this universal story is God—but not just any god; rather, the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

When we dig deeper into this story, we learn that the Father has loved the Son from eternity and wants the world to enjoy this love (John 17:24-26). For this reason the Father sends the Son into the world, to show God’s love to a world that has been estranged from His love because of rebellion (John 3:16; Romans 5.1-12). The Spirit pours into our hearts the love that God has shown to us in Jesus Christ (Romans 5:5), and then sends us out to love the world the way Jesus does (Acts 2:33). This becomes one of the ways God loves the world—by making Christ-like followers who become instruments of God’s redemption and reconciliation in their broken and rebellious neighborhoods and communities where they live and work.

 

The Theology and Vocation Core

So how do we help our students understand their place in this big, universal story of God’s love?  Each student who studies at LETU takes our 12-hour Theology and Vocation Core of classes. These four classes give every student the opportunity to think deeply about how spiritual life, academics, and work are interconnected. In these courses, students gain the skills to articulate how their academic disciplines participate in God’s mission of redemption and reconciliation of the world. They also become aware of the ways their academic fields and professions can contribute to the ongoing rebellion and brokenness of the world. This allows our students to begin to develop a vision of how they can be the agents of restoration and reconciliation, which is the very heart of God’s mission for the world.

 

Faculty Formation: Mission Critical

Studies have shown that the single most important factor in safeguarding the mission and integrity of a place like LeTourneau University is hiring and nurturing teacher-scholars who seek to be lifelong learners of faith integration. One of the tasks of the School of Theology and Vocation is to work with faculty across campus to better understand how our Christian commitments undergird, inform, critique, and orient our specific academic disciplines.  

As important as it is to ensure that faculty maintain certain doctrinal and behavioral standards, it is a matter of institutional life and death that we do all we can to safeguard our explicitly Christian identity by cultivating a deep, and ongoing commitment to the complex challenges of faithfully participating with what God is doing in this complex and (and at times) confusing world.

One of our engineering professors John Tixier described the faculty spiritual formation process at LETU as outstanding, saying that in his previous 26 years at a premier national laboratory, he had naturally compartmentalized his faith and his work.  “I know God loves me, I was just never sure He cared much about my work,” he said.  “But the perspective I have gained through the faculty spiritual formation, and continuing spiritual integration environment at LETU, helps me to share with the students what God is doing here now, and how he is preparing them for a career severing Him, even if it is at a secular company.”

Dr. Sherry Chance is in her second year as the associate dean for the School of Business at LETU.  She said the community it built among new faculty as they discussed core values of their faith was invaluable to her as a new LETU professor, enabling her to meet and build friendships with other new faculty from across campus.  “We all represent different areas of campus,” she said.  “It was refreshing -- a reminder of who we are and why we are here, and it gave us time for reflection on how to take this beyond doing a devotional in class.”

 

Our Prayer

Each Wednesday, just before lunch, our School of Theology and Vocation faculty gather to pray for our university. At the core of what we pray each week is that the work that comes out of the School of Theology and Vocation helps us all grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, that we foster delight in God and His love for us, and that across campus we are encouraged to embrace our calling to participate in God’s holistic mission of redemption and reconciliation in this world.