Since 2009, Northwest Christian University has been a member of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE), a network of colleges and universities focused on discussions of vocational exploration. NetVUE provides grants to help colleges and universities equip students with an understanding of their calling as it relates to their meaning, purpose, and direction in life and work. This vision fits with that of NCU, which is “to equip students to discover and answer God’s call in their lives” and “develop purposeful graduates.”
In July 2018, NetVUE awarded NCU a Vocation across the Academy grant funded by the Lilly Foundation. NCU received $25,000.00 for the first year and has to match those funds for the second year. Once NCU matches funds, then NetVUE will give NCU another $10,000.00 for the third year. The grant activities included a 3-day faculty retreat at the Overleaf Lodge in Yachats, Oregon, on January 16 – 19, 2019. Led by the NCU NetVUE Faculty Committee members Dr. Nani Skaggs, Ms. Angela Doty, Pastor Troy Dean, and Dr. Dennis Lindsay, five faculty interested in learning more about vocational exploration expressed interest and attended. Participants included Dr. Karen DeYoung, associate professor of music, Ms. Oge Iheanyi-Igwe, adjunct faculty teaching All are Gifted, All are Called, Mr. Wayne Reposa, assistant professor of teacher education, Dr. Tim Veach, associate professor of business, and Ms. Tammy Bovee, assistant professor of exercise science. Participants gave devotions, talked about definitions and myths of calling, learned about coaching and career services, and discussed ways to implement vocational exploration in curricular and co-curricular areas.
The Overleaf Lodge, which sits on the rocky coastline, provided a wonderful backdrop to witness God’s awesome power and feel His presence as well as provide retreat from the busyness to reflect on God’s word and hear His voice. It was a time of reflection, retreat, and fellowship.
Retreat attendee, Wayne Reposa, had this to say about the retreat, “Powerful Experience! What a privilege to work with others who are truly passionate about exploring the relationships that exist between God and his creation through the frame of vocation. Seeing how God interacts so personally and wonderfully in each person’s life as they live out the calling of God, a calling that is so much more than a job or career but a partnership that starts with seeking God first in who we are and why we serve. Through our work in the NetVUE grant, I truly believe that NCU staff and students are embarking on an amazing journey that is sure to change the lives of both those who serve and those who are served in the name of Jesus. Thank you to all who heard the call, had the vision, and worked to provide such a powerful experience.”
The NetVUE Faculty Retreat afforded faculty across disciplines to discuss and collaborate on a common language of vocation to incorporate across the curriculum and campus. During the last morning session of the retreat, Dr. Dennis Lindsay reflected on themes that emerged from the faculty devotions. He noted that the primary focus in vocational exploration is a connection with God. When connected with God, we can hear His call knowing that He comes alongside us to use and empower what gifts He has given us to serve others.