A Foundation in Faith
Northwest University is a distinctly Christian university. This means that we are committed to helping our students grow spiritually while they are growing academically.
Something that’s especially inspiring about being a part of this community is hearing the stories of students who have grown to know Jesus better during their time here. Take a look at the stories below and the message from our campus pastor, Christian Dawson, for a glimpse into how students grow in their faith at NU.
Christian Dawson | Campus Pastor
It is largely accepted that people are shaped by their environment. Where you are shapes who you are. Right now. In this moment. The environment you are in has an effect on you. You may not realize it. You may not see it. You may not even want it. But you are being shaped. In many ways, you are becoming who you are because of where you are.
When I was looking at which university to go to, I was unsure of where to enroll. I knew I wanted to be at a university that offered majors I was interested in (like ministry and music) and that helped me access internships and job opportunities. But what I needed most was to be part of a learning community and a thriving environment that would shape me into the person I wanted to be—who Jesus was making me to be. I knew that the environment I chose to be in mattered.
If you visit our campus on any given day and ask anyone what they love most about NU, they will most likely tell you “the community.” But what type of community is it? NU is an engaged, academic community that is first and foremost committed to spiritual vitality. We are devoted to making sure that every person at Northwest is participating in spiritual formation and that our community as a whole is spiritually vibrant. Why? Because you are becoming who you are because of where you are. Your community, your environment—the place where you live and learn—is shaping you.
Northwest’s unique environment aids in shaping the character and future of our students. If you desire to be part of a community that will help you become more like Jesus—both on campus and in the world as a graduate—then Northwest University could be the perfect place for you.
Christian Dawson is the campus pastor at Northwest University as well as a songwriter and worship leader. When he is not ministering at churches, camps, and conferences throughout the nation, he travels with his worship band, McKinney Dawson.
I was born in Nigeria and moved to the United States in 2012. My family loved God and worshipped Him faithfully. I went to church frequently, but I wouldn’t say that I had a relationship with God. I saw going to church as the norm and something I had to do in order to avoid being labeled as a “rebellious child.” I never understood what it meant to be faithful to God or to be in a relationship with Him.
Coming to Northwest University was a decision that I didn’t make myself; instead, my dad made the decision for me. I wanted to go to a state school in California, but God had other plans. My first semester here at Northwest was very difficult. I battled with trying to fit into a community where everyone seemed to be in a great place with God. I went through a season where I was hard on myself because of the mistakes I had made in life, and that made me feel as if I wasn’t a faithful and active Christian. I felt as if I was just saying that I trust, believe, and love the Lord, but I wasn’t living like that in my everyday life.
After some time, I decided that I needed to push past my comfort zone and finally trust in the Lord’s plans for me. I decided to join Choralons in hopes of simply being around people, but the Lord had far better plans for me. Since joining Choralons, I have made so many personal connections with others. The Lord provided me with opportunities to use my gift of singing for His glory, and my relationship with the Lord has prospered more than ever. I no longer feel as if I am going through the motions, and I no longer feel as if my mistakes define me. My love for Christ has become stronger by surrounding myself with amazing friends and mentors at Northwest University who keep me accountable in my walk with Christ. The past year of my life has been the best yet because of how much spiritual growth I’ve experienced.
I started school at Northwest University in the fall of 2014. My understanding of faith was works-based, and I was stuck in life, striving for perfection. I handed God my agenda and expected Him to meet all my expectations because I had lived “right” for Him. Inevitably, by the end of freshman year, my shortcomings arrived, and I was face to face with reality: I was not perfect, and I desperately needed Jesus. This faith was not mine to earn, but rather it was mine to accept and welcome with open arms, even though I did nothing to deserve it. Our God loves us that much.
I started my time at Northwest as a nursing major, playing on the women’s soccer team and set to graduate in May of 2018, with an end goal of working somewhere in the Seattle area. I am currently double majoring in intercultural studies and biblical studies, serving as a student leader for Campus Ministries, and am set to graduate in May of 2018. I have opened my heart to work wherever the Lord will lead me.
The people of Northwest—the staff, faculty, and students—have taught me that faith is not what I have done or what I want done for me. It is quite the opposite: faith is believing in the God of the universe, knowing that He sent His son to save you and heal the brokenness within you, for all eternity. Faith is accepting the salvation Jesus came down to bring. Faith is surrender. Faith is saying “yes” as He asks you to walk away from things dearest to you, because you now understand that He is all you need. Northwest has taught me that the most important thing you could spend your life doing is sharing the love of the gospel with anyone and everyone around you.
Life with Jesus is not about desperately striving to uncover your perfect calling. Life with Jesus is seeking His heartbeat more today than you did yesterday. And as you seek His heartbeat, you understand more and more the way He lived, the way He calls us as believers to live, and the freedom you can find in His gracious arms. You are not perfect, but you are loved. You are known, and you are cared for by your heavenly Father so deeply. Faith is letting Jesus lead your life for His purposes with complete surrender of self.
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