How have you communicated recently? Did you talk? Take a picture? Write a blog post? Create a website? God has designed mankind to be able to communicate, and He has given us a vast array of mediums through which we can communicate.
Because communication is so important, Maranatha Baptist University has created a major to develop and enrich student skills in this area. Department Chair Jeffrey Miller introduced the newest Humanities major, Communication Arts, at the end of the 2014 spring semester. “While Maranatha possesses a strong heritage in drama, hailing back to its first year production of The Merchant of Venice, I felt that there was a need for a strong centralized focus in the academic program for communication studies,” says Miller. “The critical need, however, was that the major be viable—that it offer graduates real-world employment and ministry opportunities.”
Before the new major was released, students had the ability to pursue minors in Dramatic Productions or Photography, or a business major in Digital Media Marketing. Students can now declare a major that includes core classes on web design, speech, journalism, media law and ethics, and visual communications. Students choose one of four specialized tracks—Digital Media, Photography, Speech, or Dramatic Productions—to help develop their knowledge in a particular field. Each student will graduate with a broad range of abilities, yet with focused knowledge in a specific area of expertise. Sophomore Abigail Husler of Mechanicsburg, PA, quickly changed her major to Communication Arts as soon as the program was introduced. “The Communication Arts major not only provides me with instruction in public speaking, but also develops creativity through avenues such as photography and web design,” Husler notes.
The Communication Arts major prepares students for jobs in the areas of journalism, public relations, graphic design, speech and theatre work, or television and broadcasting, among others. Miller’s vision for the Humanities program is to develop leaders who are transparent, with a “heart for global ministry,” while being “intentionally discipled” by faculty members. Amanda Pulaski, senior Communication Arts major from Lewisville, TX, has been on the receiving end of that discipleship. “The drama faculty and staff are incredible people to work with,” she shares. Pulaski has had the privilege of working directly under Miller in several plays, the most recent being MBU’s fall 2013 play, Hamlet. During this Communication Arts production, Miller challenged his cast members to look for ways they could serve each other during and outside of practices. He consistently reminded his cast that they were to perform for God’s glory and that their identity as Christians was in Christ, not in the play production.
Because the secular view of drama often focuses on performing for the glory of man, many Christians shy away from drama. Miller notes the necessity of having a proper perspective on a Christian’s role in drama. “The production of Christian drama concerns so much more than merely producing ‘excellent’ works of art and paying lip-service to the glory of God,” explains Miller. He noted that when actors live out a relationship with God in front of the rest of the cast, they “no longer rehearse because they love the art, but because they have a sacred trust to fulfill before the Lord of rehearsing as unto Him and not themselves.”
All Christians are commanded to communicate the Gospel to the world. “I believe it is vital for Christians to be excellent communicators in this world,” Husler points out. “God has given us the most important message of all time, the message of salvation, to spread to this lost world.” Pulaski explains how the Communication Arts major fits neatly into Maranatha’s mission statement: “Communication is a key part of ministry, whether in the church or in the world, and Maranatha is training us to excel in this field.”
Article submitted by Grace Peters