Trevecca Nazarene University

Christian: "I Am Second" and learning mutuality

(An excerpt from the Treveccan's 2013 President's Report, which used the theme “Trevecca-- A Christian university in the heart of Nashville")

Desiring that Trevecca students become “people who have a God-given, holy passion to serve and people whose practical expertise is transforming,”* campus leaders work to provide a Christian environment that results in spiritual growth. That environment must meet the needs of unique individuals—who come from different kinds of families, have varied experiences in religion and faith (or none at all), and possess dissimilar expectations and desires to participate. Two efforts illustrate Trevecca's commitment to being a Christian institution.

Trevecca’s “I Am Second” effort (part of the national “I Am Second” movement) is intended to help students know the reality of Christian faith. In these meetings, led by student-athletes, speakers recount their personal journeys toward faith, their efforts “to get life straight,” and how each came to know that Christ could “turn their  personal mess into a message.” Speakers have included Danny Gokey, Christian recording artist; Scott Hamilton, Olympic figure skater; and Brett Kern, Titans’ punter.

“Focusing on conduct, students miss the core—that a relationship with Christ comes first, and then conduct and character flow from that relationship. ‘I Am Second’ teaches love God first, love others second, and then live for God,” explained Jared White, Trevecca’s head athletic trainer and an “I Am Second” on-campus leader.

Students agree. “I Am Second has given me a new life in Christ and taught me that it's not about me; it's about him and how to grab hold of his hand, stand up on my feet, and live solely for the Lord, loving my neighbors the way he has loved me—passionately, selflessly, and intimately,” said Haylee Rogers,  senior softball player.

“Through I Am Second, I became involved in a small group where I have grown exponentially in my faith. Also, I have learned to serve Christ through serving others on a daily basis, while lessening the focus on myself,” explained Tim Bowles, senior baseball player. 

Religion and intercultural studies majors experience a very different transformational experience during their second semester at Trevecca, when they are required to take the Mission of the People of God class, taught by Kathy Mowry ’85, holder of the J. B. Elizer Chair of Christian Ministry and associate professor of intercultural studies. One of their assignments is participation in a ministry that they choose, one they have never done before, and one that involves face-to-face contact with persons unlike themselves;

“Many students imagine that they will minister to people similar to themselves, but this assignment helps them see ministry in a new way. Instead of choosing the comfortable role of serving mashed potatoes in a food line, they must spend time with persons who are very different from themselves—the homeless or recent immigrants—and the outcome is truly transformational. They learn mutuality— what it means to believe the other has something to give. And many students receive more than they give,” Mowry reported.

Making a difference in the world requires action by of all kinds of persons who have been transformed by Christ.

*Vision, Catalog, 2013-2014, p. 14.