The history of Williams Baptist University (WBU) is an ongoing testimony to the faithful provision of our God. In learning the Williams story, I have developed a great admiration for the vision and efforts of our founder, H. E. Williams. In particular, I have come to appreciate and value a favorite Williams’ designation for the school now known as Williams Baptist University. Williams regularly referred to the school he founded as “a campus of Christian purpose.”
“A campus of Christian purpose” is an expression that resonates deeply with me, for it suggests a school that is unique in its reason to exist. “A campus of Christian purpose” means that the institution is more than a school that offers the same type of programs of study as secular institutions with some “value-added” programs, such as discipleship, missions, evangelism and programs for ministerial training.
“A campus of Christian purpose” means that the Christian faith, in its totality, is embedded in the very DNA of the vision and mission of the university. In other words, our existence and purpose are defined and driven by the Christian faith.
Our Christian purpose includes our relationship with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC), embracing the symbiotic union that exists between the university and the denomination that owns and operates us. WBU derives its identity and mission from the Arkansas Baptist churches that birthed us and continue to support us.
A “campus of Christian purpose” means that WBU is an extension of the disciple-making ministries of ABSC churches – we are a Great Commission, Great Commandment school. “A campus of Christian purpose” means that WBU has a biblically grounded, gospel-driven mission to be used powerfully by God to effect the life-transformation of all our students (and any others!) who embrace our purpose and mission. This Christian purpose defines our vision to produce exceptional graduates to engage local and global cultures through a Christ-centered worldview.
Williams Baptist University provides an exceptional academic education, preparing our students for successful vocations in all realms of culture and life. With more than two dozen undergraduate and graduate degree programs, we do the kinds of things that typical institutions of higher education do – we graduate students, offer degree programs/majors of study, and prepare students to get good jobs.
However, a “campus of Christian purpose” means that we are more than just a typical university. The difference for a school like ours is found in our mission to integrate the Christian faith in all academic studies, athletic endeavors and student development initiatives. We desire to prepare our students to be difference makers, to be men and women who glorify the Lord with their lives and serve His purposes with the good of the gospel. This is the reason why WBU exists.
Stan Norman is president of Williams Baptist University.
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