Continuing to Learn
I am no longer a rookie president, but I continue to learn. I participate in the CCCU mentoring program. My mentor is Dr. Carl Zlystra, president of Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. I had never been to Dordt. I experienced a thriving college in a small Midwestern town with numerous competitors nearby that is making a Kingdom impact. They are tied closely to the Christian Reformed Church with a Reformed Church in American college just 12 miles down the road. Many who work there have given their lives to the college. The names are predominately Dutch and many are related to each other. The college’s US News ranking this year was 4th. Academic creativity and innovation is impressive. Some facilities are astounding while others are aging and need some help.
Their distinctive is very clear – it is their educational philosophy which is teaching a Reformed world view. Out of frustration with the growing gap between faculty and administration, they created a new academic governance structure. Some of their facilities are jointly owned with the city and local recreation department. They just started football program a few years ago. They have a good music program and offer 14 sports.
Does anyone else see the similarities? I learned a lot.
In the Church.
From Dordt I went to Henderson, Nebraska, one of the strong Tabor supporting churches and communities. I was scheduled to speak four times over the weekend but a white-out blizzard Sunday morning changed the plans and everything was canceled. However, plan B was not disappointing as I was able to spend some good time with our grandchildren. So in the last two weeks I have held, played, and wrestled with all my grandchildren. It does not get much better than that.
On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday the Tabor Board of Directors will be meeting on Campus. On the agenda is theological education, strategic planning, campaign issues, and budget business. They fly at 35,000 feet helping set policy and direction of the school. These people love Tabor, are generous, and share their wisdom with us in leading Tabor. I thank God for each of them.
The next two weeks will challenge even the joyful traveler. On Sunday following the board meetings, I travel to the Oregon coast to teach in the doctoral program at George Fox Seminary. Thirty leaders from all over the world are enrolled in the program. I am co-teaching “The Practice of Spiritual Leadership” with Tony Campolo. This is always a kick. The guy is simply amazing. Then I catch a red-eye to Atlanta for the CCCU Breakthrough conference. Home in time to change clothes in the suitcase and then off to Rapid City, SD to present at the Central District Pastors retreat. I will let you decide what to pray for during these next two weeks.
Academics and Athletics
I thought you might be interested in seeing how the Tabor College Student Athletes’ GPAs broke down for the fall of 2009. Tabor consistently ranks among the highest achieving schools academically in the NAIA.
Sport Team GPA
Men’s Basketball 3.178
Men’s Cross Country 3.386
Men’s Soccer 3.027
Men’s Tennis 3.198
Men’s Track 3.075
Women’s Basketball 3.153
Women’s Cross Country 3.693
Women’s Soccer 3.224
Women’s Tennis 3.514
Women’s Track 3.369
Former NFL Player Inspires Bluejays
Sports is approached and played differently at Tabor College.
This was certainly evident last week during the Athletic Department’s Spring Celebration. In an evening filled with laughter, cheers and some tears, Tabor College Bluejay athletes, coaches and fans were challenged and inspired by former Denver Bronco and Christian motivational speaker Steve Fitzhugh in the Chapel Auditorium.
An accomplished speaker, poet and rap artist, Fitzhugh has been referred to as “The Chaplain to the Pros” because of his inspiring talks to professional and collegiate athletic teams. He is a national spokesman for The Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“It was a blessing to have Steve Fitzhugh on our campus,” said Rusty Allen, V.P. for Athletics. “Steve is gifted in his ability to communicate the truths of God’s word and what it means to follow Christ.”
According to Allen, the purpose for the Spring Celebration was to highlight the many accomplishments of Tabor athletes and teams this past fall and winter, and to preview the coming spring sports seasons. The focus of the evening was to encourage excellence, both on and off the field, which enhances ministry.
The keynote speaker scored a touchdown, Allen added.
“Steve challenged everyone associated with Bluejays athletics to discern God’s plan and gifts, and then use all we’ve been given to have a positive sphere of influence,” Allen said. “His combination of humor, personal testimony and challenging personality really resonated with our athletes.”
The night after hearing Fitzhugh speak, the Tabor College Bluejays men’s and women’s basketball teams both captured upset victories on the road.
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