It is who we are. It is what we do. When Jesus looked into the eyes of ordinary men and said, “Come, follow me” (Matthew 4:19), He was inviting them to a radically new kind of life. The Greek word for “disciple” (mathetes) means, “One who follows the teaching.” At the same time, this is both a simple and yet very difficult concept. It is as simple as standing up and taking that first step to follow Christ, and it is as hard as following Him all the way through rejection and persecution to a Roman cross.
While most of us would agree that we should be “doxological” in our philosophy of ministry (doing everything for God’s glory), we recognize that our present task on this earth is to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). These were Jesus’ final words. So whether we are leading an organization, church, or university, we should keep this in mind. We cannot succeed in this life unless this “big idea” is woven into every fiber of our being, and consequently, we will bear fruit.
When we say, “This is who we are,” we mean that this is how we really desire to be identified in this world. Everything about us should bear the marks of one who is following Christ. When we choose to follow Him and to be with Him, we will look more like Him. The evidence of a life filled by God’s Word and His Spirit will bear the authentic marks of true Christianity—“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control . . . .” (Galatians 5:22, 23).
When we say, “This is what we do,” we mean that every career choice and future work must be put into the context of Christ’s final words in Matthew 28:18–20. At Northland, we believe that every work is a sacred work—whether a pastor, missionary, or teacher or a businessman, doctor, or homemaker. We also believe that geographical location or job title is not nearly as important as being thoroughly engaged as the “mathetes” in one’s unique context appointed by God.
It is our prayer that Northland International University will be a place that not only equips students with academic and life competencies but also fuels the passion for discipleship worldwide.