Fusion of Christian Faith & Business for the Next Worldwide Revival
by Dr. Jason Garrett, Dean & Professor of Marketing
Business provides a unique platform to share the love of Christ with the entire world, the “churched” and “unchurched”, the CEO and the staff employee, the person next door and the person half way around the globe.
Union University is a unique, Christ honoring university with a strong tradition for excellence. I appreciate all the students, faculty, and staff who have so warmly welcomed my family and me. Union truly lives its mission to provide Christ-centered education that promotes excellence and character development in service to Church and society. I am honored to be a part of this community.
The McAfee School of Business, likewise, provides a great environment to prepare students to discover and prepare for their calling to serve and worship Jesus Christ through their vocation. For me and many others, business is the fulfillment of our calling from Christ. One of the blessings of business is the ability to interact with the entire world on a daily basis. Unfortunately, our world seems to go to church less than it once did. A recent Gallup poll said only 37% of Americans went to church last week. Business provides a unique platform to share the love of Christ with the entire world, the “churched” and “unchurched”, the CEO and the staff employee, the person next door and the person half way around the globe. In Acts, Paul saw the same opportunity when he first went to the Church to meet the believers. Next, Paul went to the marketplace to meet all others (Acts 17:17). There is also overwhelming sense in the hearts of many Christian leaders regarding the growing impact of Christians in business on the world. Business has been touted by Christian leaders from Tim Keller, Henry Blackaby, Rick Warren, Peter Greer, and others, as a great platform to share God’s grace and love with a hurting world. Some of these individuals suggest Christians in business will be an instrument of Christ in the next great wave of missions work and Christian revival.
The McAfee School of Business at Union University is developing business leaders to fulfill their purpose in Christ and society. There are some 17,000 schools of business in the United States. Only a few hundred of these schools are accredited at the highest level, the Association to Advance Collegiate School of Business (AACSB) International. Of these, there are about thirty schools with an evangelical-faith affiliation. Of these, nine report that their faith affiliation has an impact on their mission as a school of business. The McAfee School of Business is one of these few that not only are dedicated to academic excellence at the highest level, but also placing Christ at the center of all we do in business. The School of Business has an important role in preparing the leaders for the wave of missions suggested by many Christian leaders. To do this we must first focus on academic excellence, which is a strong suit of the McAfee School of Business.
We are charting a path in the McAfee School, which builds on the strong traditions of academic excellence and promotes honoring Christ and serving society. Formation of a student advisory board and an executive advisory board will assist us moving forward in these goals and objectives. I am excited to lead the school to build on the solid foundation built by the faculty and the leaders before me. The limits of what this School can become is only bound by God’s unlimited grace. There are several items that will be a part of the path forward.
First, we will continue to encourage faculty to see activities such as research and consulting as supporting students, not as the ends themselves. Many large research institutions only promote and develop faculty in regards to research. Some schools even have an effort to keep the best faculty away from students, so as not to distract them from research. Those universities utilize graduate assistants to teach classes, not faculty. However, it is with faculty that entrepreneurs and corporations develop their initial engagement with universities. In a student-focused environment, these relationships enhance teaching and develop life-changing connections for students with potential employers. In the McAfee School, faculty prepare students to glorify Christ and transform society.
Many schools offer small class size. However, small class size means little if not used to do something extraordinary. The McAfee School of Business uses small class size to focus on individualized interactions with students and building experiential learning opportunities. Companies contact our faculty regularly with career opportunities for our students. Knowing students individually often means being able to make introductions of students directly to their future employers and other career enhancing experiences.
Experiential learning is one of the differentiators of the best in business higher education today. The Millennial generation tends not to learn solely from a multiple-choice exercise. They seek hands-on business experiences. Furthermore, business leaders of tomorrow will not be those who do business by answering multiple choice. Instead, the leaders of tomorrow will be those that have learned to do business through active learning and applied practice. The McAfee School of Business excels in this area. But we must continue to blaze this trail. Along this line, I started teaching a course this fall where students build plans for real businesses and strive to find ways to fund the best projects.
I encourage you to come talk to me anytime so we can get to know each other and explore business as an area where you can glorify Christ and transform society. The McAfee School of Business already provides a unique opportunity to prepare business leaders to transform society through the power of Christ. Come help the McAfee School push this envelope in ways the world has never seen.