The Campus Chemistry

Education is under attack. No matter where you look, education is under intense scrutiny to prove its viability in the culture of tomorrow. This concern is nothing new, really. Education has always needed to balance the needs of the workforce with the construction of the whole being. And Christians are not exempt from this discussion. Let’s consider three specific reasons that campus education will thrive, not just survive. At Maranatha, we believe that the arts, athletics, and leadership development are a part of our curriculum.  


Fine arts primarily refer to theater and music. There are many forms of art represented in our productions on campus. From set design, costuming, and makeup to our Fall Festivals where we integrate public speaking into the musical presentations, Maranatha has a deep affinity for the arts. It goes without saying that group music and theater cannot be done without the campus. Maranatha values the arts for three reasons: art reflects the glory of God, art reflects the beauty of creation, and art communicates the gospel.

Humanity gives glory to God when we appropriately and intentionally work toward excellence. A musician maximizing her talents for the Lord instead of selfish gain is a worthy endeavor. An actor dedicated to mastery by slow and steady improvement brings God glory. The process is as important as the product.

The arts have a unique connection to the soul. Music often elicits an emotional and physical response. Music is such a gift from God. To perform what God wove into our world is an awesome experience. Often, I am brought to tears during a musical performance as I feel the range of emotions associated with the sounds of the performing group. The inspirational or soothing nature of choral music especially turns my heart to the Maker of all good things. To return the gift of music to our Lord is a worthy endeavor.

Finally, the arts can clearly communicate the gospel. Whether in rich theological texts set to music or scripts that explicitly give the gospel, art is one way to connect the gospel to any time. Humanity learns through story and what is theater but telling good stories? Music has a way of sticking around. Have you ever caught yourself humming or whistling a tune from days or even weeks prior? How good is it to remember the good news of Jesus in this way?

In a busy and loud world, it is good to pause and listen, watch, or create good art. What better place to do that than with world-class performers and instructors?

It’s obvious that you wouldn’t be able to compete athletically without some physical campus. But why should we encourage and support athletics? This is not an exhaustive list of reasons, but they stood out to me as I have interacted with collegiate athletics for over a decade. Everything about athletics can be broken down to “process.” Because we compete in Division III of the NCAA, our students aren’t here on scholarship. Most of them are not looking for professional careers in their chosen sport. So why do we put such effort into creating these opportunities for the students? Process.

Coach Jeff Pill, in an interview for On Mission—the university podcast with Dr. Davis—perfectly summarized a defense of collegiate athletics by stating:

As believers, we are all called to bring honor and glory to our Savior…. I look at my calling to be a coach (teaching the game, values, responsibility, and tactics) as a vehicle to fulfill my calling from my Savior…with excellence… What I love about athletics is that it highlights our preparation. You can’t hide… It’s exposed in the public forum every day… Scripture tells us that (we are to) approach life with commitment, dedication, and purposefulness. That to me is (the definition) of excellence. Doing what we can with the talents that we’ve been given.

To Coach Pill, it’s all about the stewarding of talents. Maranatha student-athletes display amazing feats of athleticism but their reason to compete is to draw attention to their Maker, not themselves. You ought to take every chance to be a collegiate athlete if you are gifted because you can bring glory to God through your mindset, growth, and attitude. Find value in the process.


The final reason that we know campus education is valuable is leadership development. There are lots of places to get a cheap and accessible education. But at Maranatha, our highest goal is to produce leaders going into churches ready to take up the mantle of ministry.

Leadership, at Maranatha, is about personal integrity and influence. So, when we say we are training leaders, we mean that we are in the business of developing character. Our worldview is unapologetically Christian. We believe that Christians have the ultimate reason to serve in the family, church, and workplace. Christ commands it. We give our students the tools to step into the gap. The ability to apply academic content to the church context is vital.

We inspire our students to aspire to leadership. When students serve in the dorm, on a society cabinet, or in a leadership job on campus, they will be given an opportunity to sharpen their leadership skills.

In the past ten years, colleges across the nation have seen seismic shifts in their enrollment numbers. At Maranatha, we see an increase in our home-educated students, a renewed investment from alumni, and a desire to experience traditional college campus life. If you are looking for an experience in collegiate-level athletics or fine arts, Maranatha is for you. But even if none of our “extra” curriculars interest you, leadership and integrity still matter to the church. And that’s the Maranatha DNA.