Editors Note: This is an excerpt from the Convocation Address given by Dr. Stan Norman, President of Williams Baptist University on August 25, 2021
Williams Baptist University is not like secular, state institutions – and we do not want to be. We have a distinctive purpose, with distinctively Christian commitments and expressions. We have a unique purpose – one that I wish to highlight for this convocation as well as challenge for you to embrace.
Our mission is not simply to provide four years of liberal arts education so that you can complete your studies, graduate, and get a better job, although these are admirable goals. Our purpose is not to imitate the beliefs and practices of secular, state schools with value-added programs, like chapel, Bible studies, mission trips, etc.
Our mission is to provide an excellent, holistically Christian liberal arts education, while compassionately shaping students’ lives. Our vision is to produce exceptional graduates prepared to competently engage local and global cultures through a Christ-centered worldview. These are the formal statements of the purpose of our school.
But let me summarize these formal statements into more practical expressions – to state in plain terms the purpose of this school and thereby its purpose for each of us. Williams Baptist University exists to equip and mobilize Christian leaders to influence our world with the Gospel for the glory of God. Our mission is to prepare transformational leaders. In other words, the purpose of Williams is to train you to be leader and then to send you into the world to lead.
To state the matter bluntly, I believe the need for leaders is a great as it has ever been, yet we are living in a time when good leaders are in short supply. Leadership matters – leaders shape all facets of life and culture. Leaders change the world. This is the need for this hour.
But, we do not need more leaders like what we see in our world today. We need a different kind of leader – we need transformational leaders. We need leaders who define themselves and their mission in terms of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
I believe the purpose of Williams is to create leaders. I believe this university was founded to create the kind of leader who makes a difference for the glory of God and the good of creation. I believe our Lord is looking for men and women to be strong leaders, and my prayer is He is equipping you to be that kind of leader.
Our collegiate context is the platform by which we equip and mobilize you to be leaders of influence in whatever area and in every area where God calls you. Our mission is to change our world, to make a difference, by preparing a new generation of leaders – men and women with the biblical conviction to stand for and do what is right, even in the face of incredible forces that push back against them. This is why we are here, and I hope this is why you are here.
To view the full manuscript of the Convocation Address, click here.